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HERSHEY, Pa. and GLENDALE, Calif. — Two candy industry giants, The Hershey Co. and Nestlé USA, and taking steps to make their products more natural for consumers.
The Hershey Co. is "beginning a transition to simple and easy-to-understand ingredients," a move the Pennsylvania-based candy maker said builds upon its ongoing commitment to responsible sourcing of the ingredients it uses in its product portfolio.
“As consumers, our relationship with food is changing. We spend more time talking and sharing with others about what we eat and why we like certain foods, than we spend actually eating. Food matters and at Hershey; we care deeply about it,” said John P. Bilbrey, Hershey's president and CEO.
“We all want and deserve to know what’s in our food. Hershey takes pride in listening to our consumers and customers and understanding what they need. We will continue to make our great-tasting, high-quality iconic brands that people know and love. We also will share more information about what goes into our products in ways that are easy to understand and access,” he continued.
Hershey's announcement came a day after rival confectioner Nestlé USA announced that it will eliminate artificial colors and flavors from its candy brands. Glendale, Calif.–based Nestlé USA will remove artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors, like Red 40 and Yellow 5, from all of its chocolate candy products by the end of this year.
As the first major U.S. candy manufacturer to make such a commitment, Nestlé USA’s decision impacts more than 250 products and 10 brands including Nestle, Butterfinger, Crunch and Baby Ruth. The reformulated products will begin appearing on store shelves by mid-2015 and will be identified by a “No Artificial Flavors or Colors” claim featured on the pack.
“Nestlé is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, and our commitment to remove artificial flavors and certified colors in our chocolate candy brands is an important milestone,” said Doreen Ida, president of Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks.
“We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients. As we thought about what this means for our candy brands, our first step has been to remove artificial flavors and colors without affecting taste or increasing the price,” she added. “We’re excited to be the first major U.S. candy manufacturer to make this commitment.”
MORE ON HERSHEY’S MOVE
The Hershey Co. markets more than 80 brands around the world, including Hershey's, Reese's, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and Brookside.
Hershey’s move to simplify focuses on three key principles:
1. Simple Ingredients: A commitment to making products using ingredients that are simple and easy-to-understand, like fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar.
2. Sharing What’s Inside: Making information about ingredients, sourcing, manufacturing and labeling easy to find on packaging, online or through new technologies.
3. Thoughtful & Responsible Sourcing of Ingredients: Working with suppliers to responsibly source sustainable ingredients, building on progress toward sourcing 100-percent certified and sustainable cocoa and certified sustainable and traceable palm oil.
“We will strive for simplicity with all of our ingredients, but we may not achieve it with every product,” Bilbrey said. “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.”
This year, Hershey also plans to introduce new snacking products in the United States such as Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars, which will feature a lineup of simple ingredients, and transition some of its most popular chocolate brands including Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars to simpler ingredients.
MORE ON NESTLE USA’S MOVE
Nestlé USA conducted research indicating that U.S. consumers prefer candy brands to be free from artificial flavors and colors, according to Ida. Further, findings from the Nielsen 2014 Global Health & Wellness Survey showed that more than 60 percent of Americans say "no artificial colors or flavors" is important to their food purchase decisions.
Nestle intends to replace the artificial colors and flavors with ingredients from natural sources. For example, in Butterfinger bars, annato, which comes from the seeds found in the fruit from the achiote tree, will replace Red 40 and Yellow 5. In Crunch, natural vanilla flavor will replace artificial vanillin.
“We never compromise on taste. When making these changes to more than 75 recipes, maintaining the great taste and appearance consumers expect from the chocolate brands they know and love is our No. 1 priority,” said Leslie Mohr, nutrition, health and wellness manager at Nestlé Confections & Snacks. “We conducted consumer testing to ensure the new recipe delivers on our high standards for taste and appearance.”
Going forward, all newly launched chocolate and non-chocolate candy products (gummies, sours, etc.) introduced by Nestlé USA will be made without artificial flavors or colors. Additionally, Nestlé USA is actively pursuing the removal of caramel coloring from its chocolate products.