Joining the lineup of companies that are kneeling to public pressure, candy-maker Hershey has recently announced that it will soon remove genetically modified ingredients from its milk chocolate and Kisses by the end of 2015. What’s more, the company is pledging to shift to ‘simple ingredients,’ which will exemplified by the removal of emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) and artificial vanillin.
Coming straight from Hershey’s website:
“What sparked these ingredient changes? Have consumers been asking Hershey to move to simpler ingredients/labels?
As a consumer-centric company, we understand that people want to know what’s in their food. As consumers ourselves, we agree with them. That’s why we will share information openly, candidly and transparently. Our iconic brands are about goodness – goodness in both how they are made and how they taste. For more than 100 years, we’ve built trusting relationships with our consumers and customers around this principle. We’re proud of this heritage. But at the same time, we listen closely to our consumers and are always working to make our brands relevant to evolving expectations and lifestyles.
With the changes that Hershey is making to ingredients (non-genetically modified sugar, sustainable, traceable palm oil, rBST-free milk), what is the end game?
Our iconic brands are about delivering goodness – both in how they are made and how they taste. We are moving our product portfolio to simpler ingredients. This will take time and as part of that journey we will be sharing more about what’s in our products, and how they are sourced and manufactured. All of this is based on knowledge and insights about what our consumers care about most.”
Like virtually every food producer in our current time, Hershey has been dealing with pressure for years from individuals and consumer groups alike to remove (or at the very least, label) GMOs in its products. Though while the company made the shift in Canada years ago, it hasn’t changed its ways in the US until now.
In the shift to come, Hershey announced that it will be moving to natural vanilla, non-genetically modified sugar, and milk from cows which have not been treated with growth hormone rBST. Further, Hershey intends to roll out with products that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors & flavors. The Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars are already free of HFCS – not the company just needs to trash the other ingredients.
The move by Hershey is yet another example of how consumer demand can seriously spark a needed-shift in our food system. Though processed foods are not the answer to a healthy lifestyle, the fact that we as a collective still have a voice is a good sign that our food system can be changed for the better.