A celebrity-driven PSA that’s been making the rounds on television and subscription services like Hulu urges Americans to stuff Easter baskets this Sunday with toys — rather than the traditional high-sugar, high-fat candies like chocolate bunnies. The ad presents itself as a campaign to “save the bunny” while encouraging parents to shift away from giving kids the unhealthy treats.
It’s worth noting that the project is sponsored by Mattel, Fisher-Price, and various other toy-makers, and the campaign’s webpage directs visitors to retailers that sell their products, so there is an obvious financial motive at play here.
However, while candy consumed on one day out of the year is a mere drop in the bucket compared to other factors feeding into America’s obesity crisis, such as the over-consumption of fast foods and unhealthy school lunches, the empirical data suggests that there is some merit to the movement. Figures compiled by online retailers and the National Confectioners’ Association show that Americans purchase 120 million pounds of Easter candy annually — and the vast majority of it is particularly unhealthy foods like chocolate:
Holidays in general are a gold mine for chocolate makers — particularly for corporate giants Hershey and Mars, the two companies that produce 70 percent of all chocolate. Hershey’s webpage is currently pushing chocolate products such as the aforementioned bunnies, Cadbury cream eggs, and a variety of other sugary concoctions for Easter Sunday. Most chocolate products in the U.S. are actually made up mostly of Monsanto-produced corn.