Hershey Makes Progress On Ingredient Transition, Transparency

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Hershey, PA — The Hershey Co. has reached several milestones in its transition to offering products with familiar ingredients, according to Michele Buck, executive vice-president & chief operating officer.

Some of the progress includes reformulating more than 500 product SKUs to simpler ingredients including Hershey’s Kisses and milk chocolate bars. The company also is introducing products with familiar ingredients including Brookside fruit and nut bars and Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate, Mr. Goodbar Milk Chocolate Bars, Krackel Chocolate Bars and Hershey’s Miniatures Assortment, without artificial ingredients, will hit shelves by early 2017, according to Buck.

Beyond simplifying its products, the company will continue to build on its commitment to share information about what is in them, Buck explains. SmartLabel, developed in collaboration with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and other industry members, puts detailed product ingredient and nutritional information at consumers’ fingertips. Hershey was the first U.S. company to adopt SmartLabel, adding it to 200 product SKUs in 2015.

Buck says Hershey plans to add SmartLabel to 600 product SKUs in 2016, and to all of the company’s products by 2017. “We are constantly exploring new ways to share what’s in our products, including testing new technologies that provide access to more information about where ingredients are sourced,” she says.

The company’s 2015 CSR report shows substantial strides to responsibly source sustainable ingredients. Last year, Hershey sourced 50 percent of cocoa used globally from certified, sustainable sources and traced 90 percent of palm oil purchases to the mill level.

Hershey reports its future goals for responsibly sourced ingredients include achieving 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa in all chocolate products worldwide by 2020, and sourcing 100 percent cage-free eggs for its products in North America by 2020.