Hershey’s Follows Nestlé in Shift Toward Natural Ingredients

This looks like a trend.

People can be pretty particular about the way they like their kisses, and when it comes to the kind that come wrapped in silver foil, Hershey’s is betting its customers like theirs sans GMOs.

Right on the heels of Nestlé announcing its plan to remove artificial colors and flavors from its products, Hershey’s has unveiled its own pledge to remove GMOs from its popular Kisses and Milk Chocolate candy bars.

According to Hershey’s website, the change is part of a larger shift toward “simple, easy-to-understand ingredients.”

The company highlights three key pillars to this plan:

  • Simple Ingredients: Hershey’s is pledging simplicity in ingredients that are recognizable and easy-to-understand.
  • Sharing What’s Inside: The company will be more transparent with ingredients, sourcing, manufacturing and labeling.
  • Thoughtful and Responsible Sourcing of Ingredients: The large chocolate manufacturer says it will continue to work with suppliers to honor its commitment “to source 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa and certified sustainable and traceable palm oil.”

John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Company, said:

“We will strive for simplicity with all of our ingredients, but we may not achieve it with every product. This is a journey and it will take time. We are equally committed to sharing what we achieve and what we don’t. For ingredients that may not be as simple, we will explain what they are and why we need them to provide the great flavors, aromas, textures and appearances that our consumers know and love.”

In other words, while these shifts toward transparency and simplicity are positive PR steps in a healthier, more socially-conscious direction, drastic change won’t be happening overnight, and it isn’t as though the company’s candies and snacks are about to become pillars of healthy food choices — but consumers aren’t really expecting that, anyway.

Just like Nestlé, Hershey’s isn’t hoping to convert health nuts and fair trade activists — they’re simply aiming to remain competitive and to reach their own customer base, which is chock full of parents just looking to feel the tiniest bit better about stuffing their kids’ Easter baskets with Hershey’s products.