With Halloween past and the holidays on the horizon, it's the best time of the year for people who love sweets. Suddenly, miniature candies are everywhere, and it's easy to think nothing of snacking on a few of those tiny chocolate bars. However, after absentmindedly eating three of your favorite fun-sized candy bars, you've eaten the same amount as the full-sized one.
A Snickers bar contains 250 calories and 12 grams of fat, while a fun-size Snickers (so cute and compact) is 80 calories and 4 grams of fat. Butterfingers? The regular size is 2.1 ounces, 250 calories, and 10 grams of fat; Its smaller fun size is 85 calories and 3.5 grams. Full-sized and snack-sized Mounds bars as well as Twix fun-size and full-size candy bars follow the same pattern. But it's not just mini candy bars that add up quickly. It only takes four fun-sized packages of everyone's favorite non-chocolate candy, Skittles, to equal the same amount as the full-size product with 250 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.
The amount of sugar can increase quickly when snacking on smaller bags. According to the American Heart Association, women should aim for 25 grams of sugar per day. Men should consume no more than 36 grams. Three of those Snickers, Mounds, or Twix fun-size candy bars provide 21 to 24 grams of added sugar — coming extremely close to what doctors suggest should be the daily limit. Whether you choose fun-size or full-size Skittles, both contain 45 grams of added sugar.
Shrinkflation has made some of your favorite candies smaller
With food prices recently having the largest 12-month increase since 1979, many consumers have noticed that their fun-size and regular candy stash seems to be smaller. Shrinkflation has meant that prices have stayed the same, but the amount in those bags of Hershey's Kisses or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups has decreased. In some cases, it's barely noticeable, but in others, the volume has decreased by nearly two ounces.
In 2012, Mars, the company behind favorite candies like Snickers, M&Ms, Skittles, and others, vowed that none of its candy would be more than 250 calories by 2013 (via Washington Post). Cadbury made the same pledge in 2020, with parent company Mondelez International announcing that many of its multipacks would shrink to contain no more than 200 calories. "We must play our part in tackling obesity and are committed to doing so without compromising on consumer choice," the company's U.K. managing director, Louise Stigant, told BBC.
While it's easy to accuse candy companies of trying to make more money on smaller amounts of product, others share the blame for the reduction in size of both fun-sized and full-sized candy bars. Health-based organizations have spent years calling on companies to reduce candy sizes. "We applaud these companies for stepping up and helping consumers manage their sugar intake through innovation, transparency, and education, the Partnership for a Healthier America's president, Nancy Roman, said in a statement (via Washington Post).