Balance Bar Be the Best You

The icicles outside the second story window of my home seem to be getting longer… and longer. Reportedly, temperatures are beginning to climb slightly, inching up from -12 F. to -10 F. The Dr. Zhivago-like scene outside my home in Chicago’s lovely Edison Park neighborhood is only missing the howling of wolves.

The scene I’m describing is what Monday afternoon was like in the Windy, shall I call it “Chi-beria” City. Today, of course, it’s should break into midteens; time to put on shorts. But I regress, since this column was meant to be about New Year’s resolutions. At the moment, it seems the only thing I’m resolved about is to move someplace warm. 

Bernie Pacyniak
Bernie Pacyniak

Nah, not really. Winter’s part of the mix here, and — aside from extremes such as we’re having — I do enjoy a bit of snow and cold. Moreover, I’m also resolved not to make any New Year’s resolutions. Not that my wife, friends and colleagues haven’t prepared a list for me.

Oh, you know, the usual pronouncements that begin with losing weight (haven’t we all seen that one over and over again?) to those involving drinking less, exercising more, stressing less, eating healthier, complaining less, smiling more, being nicer (now that’s a hard one) — as you can imagine, the list goes on.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a press release from the folks at Balance Bar coming out with an “anti-resolutions pledge.” Citing stats from the Journal of Clinical Psychology, which claim that 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year, but only 8 percent achieve those goals, Balance Bar decided to team up with lifestyle expert Laurel House to suggest a more “balanced” approach.

Instead of unrealistic goals, House has created a year’s worth of “12 monthly realistic and achievable tips.”

As Katia Facchetti, chief marketing officer for Balance Bar, explains, “The purpose of the anti-resolution campaign, and the whole spirit of Balance Bar, is to make small decisions that have a positive impact every day that benefit the longer term. For a snack, do you choose a bag of chips or do you choose a nutritionally-sound Balance Bar? Not a life-changing decision, but a small one that can have benefits today and down the road.”

I actually might choose both, but I realize Facchetti is in marketing. Still, this “anti-resolutions pledge” appeals to me, especially the part that focuses on being “Your Best You.” Not sure whether the monthly approach works for me, however. Quarterly is probably more my style.  

But the Balance Bar campaign did make me think, in general, of how the confectionery industry could work toward being “Your Best You.”

For starters, it should redouble its efforts to eliminate child labor in cocoa-growing regions. With that, goes the responsibility of ensuring livable wages for the farmers and their families. Add to that expanding sustainability efforts across the board and I think we can have some pretty big challenges.

But there are also some less taxing, small decisions that should be considered. First, I don’t think people know enough about how chocolate and/or candy is made. And if we talking about balanced, I believe the industry should accelerate its efforts in explaining what a balanced diet and lifestyle include, which can encompass sweets, of course.

I also think we miss the opportunity to highlight the great number of family-run confectionery businesses still operating in the United States, businesses that not only contribute to the economy, but bring smiles and satisfaction to so many consumers.

I have the privilege of getting close and personal to many entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses, so I can attest to their initiative and passion for the craft.

OK, enough preaching — laying off that happens to be one of my small steps — and more doing: To all your candy makers, kudos for doing what you do best! I’m sure you’ll rise to the occasion as the next year brings you plenty of opportunities to become even better at it!