What We’re Made Of: Our Progress on Using Simple Ingredients, Transparency and Responsible Sourcing
By Michele Buck, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Hershey Company
At Hershey, we take pride in listening to our consumers to better understand what they expect from our company and our products. People all over the world are progressively becoming more interested in the ingredients and sourcing of their foods. That’s why we made a commitment in February 2015 to transition products across our portfolio to simple ingredients and continue our work with transparency - sharing information about what’s in our products and strengthening our responsible sourcing programs.
Today, I am happy to share the tremendous strides that we’ve made. Over the past year and a half, we’ve made it easier for people to access more information about their food, most notably by leading the development and adoption of the innovative SmartLabel™ platform. We delivered on the promise to use simple, familiar ingredients by reformulating more than 500 product SKUs, including our iconic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars and Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates, which now contain no artificial flavors, but still have the same delicious taste. We are also proud to share that we’ve made significant progress, working with our suppliers, toward our goals of sourcing 100 percent sustainable cocoa and palm oil.
Here’s a closer look at our progress so far, and what’s ahead.
Using Simple, Familiar Ingredients
In addition to reformulating Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops, this year we introduced Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup made with five simple ingredients, and no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial preservatives and flavors. Simple ingredients are key for our growing snacks portfolio, and can be found in consumer snacking favorites such as our Krave Jerky.
Currently, we are working to transition additional confection products to simpler ingredients. 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.
Sharing What’s Inside
Beyond simplifying our products, we continue to build on our commitment to share information about what is in them. As previously mentioned, we developed SmartLabel™ in close collaboration with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and other industry members. This new platform puts detailed product ingredient and nutritional information at consumers’ fingertips, whether on the internet, at home, or via a mobile device while in-store shopping. Hershey was the first U.S. company to adopt SmartLabel™, adding it on-pack to 200 product SKUs in 2015. We also made an unprecedented level of information about products and ingredients available on the company’s website at: www.TheHersheyCompany.com.
Up next, we plan to add SmartLabel™ to 600 additional product SKUs in 2016, and to all Hershey products by 2017. The static nutrition information for 370 products on our company website is also going to be replaced with links to those products’ SmartLabel™ pages. 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.
Sourcing Ingredients Responsibly
As we highlighted in our 2015 CSR report this summer, we continue to make substantial strides to responsibly source sustainable ingredients. Last year, we sourced 50 percent of cocoa used globally from certified, sustainable sources and traced 90 percent of palm oil purchases to the mill level.
Our 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 our products in North America by 2020.
When it comes to our iconic brands, we’re all about goodness. While our belief is simple, making sure that it’s reflected in everything we do takes a lot of planning. This work is still just beginning, and we continue to look for new, innovative ways to meet consumers’ changing expectations and deliver the great-tasting, quality products they know and love.
To learn more about our food philosophy and dedication to goodness, visit www.TheHersheyCompany.com.