Hershey moves forward with nutrition facts panel despite FDA’s delay

Hershey said its decision on updating nutrition facts label resonates with its calorie reduction goal.  Photo: Hershey

Hershey has decided to update its nutrition facts panel across its portfolio this fall, starting with some of the power brands including Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate. 

The FDA recently announced it would extend the compliance date for the nutrition facts label rule, which was originally set at July 2018 for larger CPG companies and July 2019 for smaller ones. The organization, however, did not provide a new date.

“We are updating our nutrition labels in conjunction with other packaging changes and adding the SmartLabel QR code at the same time,” Deborah Arcoleo, director of product transparency at Hershey, said. “By year end, we will have hundreds of products with new labels on store shelves.”

Hershey said its label update will be done on a “flow-through” basis, meaning it will deploy the new packages as the older stocks are sold.

“We have not set a firm deadline… but expect most of the label transition to be done by Q3 2018,” Arcoleo added.

Resonating with calorie reduction goal

Hershey recently announced it will make 50% of its standard- and king-sized confections 200 calories or less by 2022, and those products will also carry the “facts up front” calorie label by the end of 2018.

Arcoleo said the updated nutrition facts panel resonates with the company’s calorie reduction goal, since it highlights calories in a larger font and provides information on total and added sugar.

However, one of the challenges for companies such as Hershey, whose products are relatively small, is to provide more depth of information when the space on the packaging is limited, she added.

“That’s why we created SmartLabel to give consumers a new technology to access greater detail about the nutrition and ingredients of a product,” Arcoleo said.    

Earlier this year, Hershey began a pilot of Sourcemap for its Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds. The Sourcemap enables a consumer to explore the origins of ingredients in those products and to learn about the farmers who supply the ingredients.

Protein snack options

Consumers are also looking for more protein snacking options, Hershey said.

“Hershey has removed the artificial ingredients from its branded confections, and we are looking to incorporate more whole ingredients into our new snacks such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables,” Arcoleo said.

The chocolate maker entered the popcorn category for the first time this year by launching half-popped popcorn brand Popwell, and it is now testing the product at select US retailers on the East Coast.

Hershey plans to announce its Q2 earnings results today, July 26, 2017.

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