Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Candy or Food?

Candy Swap!Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr

I got my first job when I was 15 years old. It was for a local convenience store. For all but 4 or 5 of the 33 years since that first job, I have been involved in some way, shape, or form in the retail food industry. For many of those years, I worked first hand in the candy category. Plus before I ever started working, I ate a lot of candy. So, I thought I knew what would be considered "candy" and what was not.

One of the subjects discussed in the health care debate, is the issue of obesity in this country. Several states are passing taxes on those foods that are major contributors to the obesity problem. Foods that are under consideration are things like soft drinks, candy, and other high sugar products. For years here in Maryland there has been sales taxes on "non-essential" foods like candy, so this is nothing new for me. However, the state of Illinois has a new tax on candy and other products that goes into effect next month that is going to cause a lot of confusion for consumers.

The new law taxes candy at a sales tax at 6.25%, and food items have a sales tax of 1%. The potential confusion comes in how the new law defines defines candy, or more importantly, what isn't considered candy. Several items that logic or common sense would lead you to think that an item is candy can now be thrown out the window thanks to the logic of our government in action.

All my life, I have always thought that Twizzlers licorice was candy. Not so. Twizzlers contain flour and therefore, under Illinois law is considered a food product and not a candy item. Similarly, a Hershey's Cookies & Cream bar is considered food, but a Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar is candy. A chocolate covered raisin or nut is considered a candy, but a chocolate covered pretzel is considered food. Peanuts would normally be food, but if they are honey roasted they are candy. Very confusing, but what else would you expect from the government.
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  1. That is really ridiculous that peanuts are considered candy, just because they're honey roasted, but that twizlers are not... Only in the United States...

  2. It is amazing, but I guess that is what you get when the government or committees get involved in things

  3. I can't imagine an extra 6 or 7 cents on a candy bar is going to convince somebody to skip the snack.



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