Hershey’s to Make Two Products GMO-Free

The Hershey Company recently announced that it is transitioning to simpler ingredients, and that this transition builds on  its commitment to responsible ingredient sourcing. The details are still a bit vague, but the company stated that it plans to introduce new snacking products in the U.S. in 2015 that have simple ingredients. Specifically, the company stated that it plans to transition some of its most popular chocolate brands, including Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, to simpler ingredients.

If you are not a fan of foods with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients, you will be happy to know that Hershey plans to remove GMO ingredients from two of its products, according to a statement by the  campaign GMO Inside. Released five days after Hershey’s announcement, GMO Inside’s announcement stated that Hershey will remove GMOs from Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars by the end of this year. 

GMO Inside has been urging Hershey to go GMO-free for two years, starting with a campaign in February 2013 asking consumers to pressure on the chocolate company to make its products without GMOs. As a result, thousands of consumers have emailed Hershey asking the company to remove GMOs. This year, GMO Inside asked consumers to post on Hershey’s Facebook page on Valentine’s Day. The consumer pressure clearly paid off. 

Hershey’s last sustainability report contained a small section on GMOs, warning that some of its products may contain GMO ingredients. Those ingredients include corn, soy and sugar beets. Most of those three ingredients in the U.S. are GMO. GMO-free products are not entirely new to the company. The report mentioned that the company has some products without GMOs, including Scharffen Berger chocolate, organic Dagoba chocolate and the baking products, Hershey’s Cocoa powder and Hershey’s unsweetened Baking Bar. 

There is more to Hershey’s announcement last week than just removing GMOs from a few products. The company stated that it is focusing on three key principles:

  • Simple ingredients that are “easy-to-understand.” Hershey cites several examples, including fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar.
  • Sharing what’s inside of its products. Hershey will make the information available and easy to find on its website for consumers who care about what’s inside the products they consume. 
  • Thoughtful and responsible sourcing of ingredients. Hershey will continue to work with its suppliers to source sustainable ingredients, and work to achieve its goal of sourcing 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa and certified sustainable and traceable palm oil.

Perhaps one of the ingredients that might change is the choice of a sweetener. Back in December, Hershey told the Associated Press it is considering replacing high fructose corn syrup in some of its products. Currently, the company uses a blend of sugar and HFCS. A spokesperson for the company told the AP that it is “moving more toward sugar.” Since HFCS is corn derived and most U.S. corn is GMO, that makes sense. Plus, the company acknowledged to the AP that its customers have expressed that they prefer sugar.

Photo: Andy Melton