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CONFECTIONERY TO TOP GIFT-GIVING LIST THIS VALENTINE'S DAY; NEARLY TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WILL GIVE SWEET TOKENS OF AFFECTION

 NEW YORK, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of adult Americans will give the gifts of confectionery (candy and chocolate) as a sweet token of affection this Valentine's Day, making it the third most popular candy-giving holiday of the year (topped only by Christmas and Easter), according to a recent national survey. Sales of confectionery this Valentine's Day are expected to reach a record setting $655 million, a 2 percent increase from 1992 sales of $642 million.
 The survey, conducted by Response Analysis Corporation (RAC) on behalf of the National Confectioners Association (NCA), reveals that younger respondents are even more inclined to express their love with candy and chocolate; 80 percent of respondents ages 18 to 24 and nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of respondents 25 to 34 will make confectionery the sweet treat gift of choice this year.
 Industry experts attribute the growing popularity of confectionery gift-giving -- along with increases in holiday sales -- to greater consumer understanding of confectionery's role in a balanced diet.
 "The survey indicates that consumers now realize confectionery in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle that includes variety in diet and regular exercise," said Lawrence T. Graham, president of the National Confectioners and the Chocolate Manufacturers Associations.
 Results of the poll show that the number of adults who believe candy can fit into their diet and lifestyle has increased from 57 percent in 1989 to 68 percent in the latest survey. Additionally, the number of adults who feel candy in moderation is acceptable has increased from 51 percent to 62 percent in the same three-year survey period.
 Leading health and nutrition experts agree, pointing to moderation, variety and balance as key factors in maintaining a healthy diet, and say confectionery


can play a part in an active, healthy lifestyle.
 "As long as a person exercises and eats a balanced diet, confections are an acceptable source of calories," says Paul LaChance, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and food science at Rutgers School of Nutrition.
 Annette Natow, Ph.D., R.D., co-author of "The Fat Counter" and "The Fat Attack Plan," states, "Confectionery in moderation can be part of low-fat eating." She also believes that an occasional sweet treat helps a person to stick to a healthy eating plan.
 Consumers who wish to learn more about confectionery, its contents and its role in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can obtain a free brochure that offers comprehensive nutrition information on 20 generic products by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Sweet Truth Brochure Offer, 708 Third Ave., Suite 1100, New York, NY 10017.
 VALENTINE'S DAY CONFECTIONERY QUICK FACTS
 Did you know that...
 -- Valentine's Day is the third most popular day to give candy as a gift, behind Christmas and Easter.
 -- Valentine's Day confectionery sales will reach an estimated $655 million in 1993.
 -- Americans will spend an average of three to five dollars each on Valentine's Day sweets.
 -- More than 30 million heart-shaped boxes will be produced for spouses, lovers and friends to give on Valentine's Day this year, according to Specialty Box Manufacturers.
 -- Heart-shaped mini-love letters that say "Be Mine" and Kiss Me," called conversation hearts, have become a Valentine's Day tradition. This year the confectionery industry expects to produce over 10 million pounds, or more than 3.3 billion individual hearts.
 -- Laid heart-to-heart, 3.3 billion of these sentimental sweets would stretch 130 million feet...or 24,621 miles...or would...
 - Fill the Empire State Building almost twice.
 - Stretch from Kissimmee, Fla., to New York City 26 times.
 - Go from Valentines, Va., to New York City 39 times.
 - Border the Grand Canyon more than 50 times around.
 - Wrap 13 times around the Red Sea.
 - Cover Red Square more than 50 layers deep.
 - Circumnavigate the world at the equator.
 -0- 2/8/93
 /CONTACT: Greg Tarmin of Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart, 212-880-5348, for the National Confectioners Association/


CO: National Confectioners Association ST: New York IN: FOD SU:

GK-LR -- NY089 -- 4257 02/08/93 16:16 EST
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Date:Feb 8, 1993
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