Processing & Packaging

Hershey: Miniature change brings big sustainability boost

24-Apr-2014
Last updated the 25-Apr-2014 at 10:05 GMT - By Jenni Spinner+
With a small reduction in its Miniatures Assortment wrappers, Hershey achieved significant sustainability gains.
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Candy giant Hershey has reduced 0.05g from each Miniatures bar wrapper, making a tiny change which has led to huge environmental gains.

When the company updated the metallized paper wrappers around its Miniatures Assortment bars, it did more than simply freshen the look. The redesign pared down the package; Laura Renaud, associate manager of corporate communications, Hershey, told FoodProductionDaily the small per-unit packaging material reduction adds up.

It might seem small, but in just one year that equated to more than 271,800 pounds of wrappers saved—that’s enough to fill 11 tractor trailers,” she said. “Cutting our paper use saves 1,957 trees while cutting our aluminum, use and the energy to produce it equates to turning off the electricity for one year in 56 homes.”

The increased sustainability profile, Renaud pointed out, will be invisible to consumers. What they will notice, she said, is a bolder look for the perennial brand favorite.

We wanted to take better advantage of the brands that make up the Miniatures mix with a bolder individual piece wrapper and a larger window on the outside of the bags,” she said. “The result is packaging that makes a big impact on the shelf and in the candy bowl.”

Sustainability opportunity

Melinda Stamm, Hershey’s senior manager of packaging development of chocolate, told FPD the company pinpointed the Miniatures line when looking for suitable projects to furthering its environmental goals.

We knew we could make a bigger impact if we looked at the brands and items with large volumes,” she said. “We worked with our packaging supplier, who was able to provide a thinner gauged foil/paper lamination.”

The Miniatures wrapper lightweighting is just one of nearly 200 separate sustainability initiatives and projects Hershey has launched over the years. In 2009, it saved 425,000lbs of rigid plastic by reducing the weight of its Hershey’s 24oz and 48oz syrup bottles; the following year, it saved 528,000 pounds of rigid plastic by paring down its Pelon Pelo Rico 15g and 35g items in Mexico.

Larger commitment

Todd Camp, Hershey’s senior director of corporate social responsibility (CSR), told FPD the company’s packaging-reduction efforts are a prime example of its daily commitment to sustainability.

The packaging team set a goal for themselves to reduce packaging use, and they look for ways across their work to meet and exceed that challenge,” he said. “Our company’s CSR goals are meant to complement and enable our disciplined business goals.”

Camp added, “We see sustainability as simply a good business practice; it’s a part of how we’ve operated for more than 100 years, and it helps sustain our business success and gives us the resources to provide a better life and bright future for our stakeholders and society.”

Additionally, Camp said, Hershey plans to release its third CSR report in early May, outlining its updated CSR strategy and framework.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging, Hershey, Chocolate