HAIGH’S Chocolates has taken a leaf out of the Cookie Monster’s book by officially declaring its products to be “sometimes” foods.

Although they make their money from selling delicious treats, Haigh’s and fellow South Australian confectionery company Robern Menz are urging customers against overindulging.

Haigh’s chief executive Alister Haigh told a Senate inquiry into Australia's obesity epidemic that his company’s products should be regarded as a “treat”.

“Importantly, confectionery is a treat food, and our products, being high quality, are predominantly used as gifts,’’ Mr Haigh said.

“As treat food, and in accordance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, confectionery may be consumed sometimes and in small amounts in the context of a healthy balanced diet along with regular exercise.’’

Sesame Street character Cookie Monster, teaches children to regard sweets as “sometimes foods” which should only be consumed as a treat.

Haigh’s and Robern Menz are both backing an industry “Be Treatwise” initiative, which provides information to customers on portion sizes and maintaining balanced diets.

Robern Menz — which this year took over the Violet Crumble brand — has developed “no added sugar variants to its fruit confectionery range and is looking at options to develop “no added sugar” and “reduced sugar” products.

Over the past decade, Haigh’s has removed some sugar, saturated fat and trans fatty acids from its products.

In submissions to the obesity inquiry, Haighs and Robern Menz ruled out making changes which compromised the taste of their popular products.

Excessive consumption of treat food, such as chocolate and biscuits, has been linked to Australia’s obesity problem.

About one-quarter of Australian children and two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

Several health groups, including the Australian Medical Association, support the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.

However, the Federal Government has ruled out introducing a sugar tax.