- By next year, Hershey will list nutrition information on the front of all its standard and king-size confectionery product packaging, according to a company release. By 2022, it plans to reduce calories in half of standard and king-size confectionery products to 200 calories or less.
- About 70% of Hershey’s standard and king-size confectionery products currently have “Facts Up Front” labeling on packages, and 31% contain 200 calories or less.
- By 2020, Hershey also plans to reformulate its king-size products to make them easier to share and to save portions for later.
Back in 2011, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute unveiled the “Facts Up Front” nutrition labeling program, which moved key information such as calories and sodium levels to the front of packages.This allowed consumers to access nutrition information more easily, a move the two organizations promoted as something that could lead to healthier lifestyles. Many industry observers, however, saw the initiative as way of heading off the Food and Drug Administration, which had been developing its own more stringent front-of-pack labeling system.
Several years later, manufacturers are still focused on health initiatives and nutrition labeling — but mainly because consumers are demanding it. Companies like Nestle, Mars and Hershey are phasing out artificial and genetically modified ingredients. They’re also looking for ways to cut calories and reduce sugar in their products. Several years ago, Mars reduced the size of its candy bars, lopping off more than a trillion calories in the process. In 2016, Nestle announced its scientists had restructured sugar in a way that delivered 40% fewer calories without impacting taste.
That Facts Up Front program, meanwhile, has been adopted by numerous candy manufacturers without impacting sales. Some groups argue that the program is more about marketing than about public health, but the FDA seems satisfied with the effort.
Considering all of this, it makes sense for Hershey to expand its labeling and calorie-reduction initiatives. Consumers aren’t looking for a “healthy” candy bar, per se. They still want to indulge. But they are looking for transparency, cleaner ingredients and a few more sensible options to choose from.