The Hershey Company is to roll out front of pack nutrition labels in the second half of this year to help consumers make more informed choices.
Over the next four years, all US products produced by Hershey will be labeled with the exception of gifting items.
Jeff Beckman, Hershey’s head of corporate communications told this site: “Our front of pack labeling will summarize important nutrition information from the Nutrition Facts Panel (found on the back and sides of packages) in a clear, simple and easy-to-use format on the front of food and beverage packages.
“The front of pack labeling will provide consumers with straightforward information needed to make informed food and beverage choices when shopping.”
Hershey has aligned its front of pack labeling with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) model and will include calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
“On small food packages with limited space such as instant consumables, one nutrient fact may be used, representing calories in a package,” said Beckman.
Five icons (calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar) will also appear on the side or back of packages “to provide a consistent approach with other confection companies”.
Hershey will also include gluten-free information on back of packages where applicable.
The GMA and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) unveiled the Facts Up Front imitative in January last year. Members of GMA, FMI and NCA are voluntarily implementing front of pack labeling, representing 80% of retail food and beverage products.
Hershey will start labeling standard loose bars in Q3 this year, with the first products carrying the label expected in October.
All new product launches from December this year will carry the labels.
Implementation of the labels will be as follows:
Phase 1: Standard loose bars"
Phase 2: Take home (non-seasonal)
Phase 3: Seasonal (starting with Holiday 2014)
Phase 4: King size
The company also plans to update its website to provide better nutrition information.
The decision comes soon after the National Confectionery Association (NCA) of the United States launched a voluntary program called “Treat Right” to put calories on the front of packs.
Mondelez International has yet to decide whether to carry front of pack nutrition labels, but some confectioners have already been using front of pack labeling.
In 2008 Mars claimed to be the first confectionery company in the US to implement Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) on the front of all of its chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products.
Its ‘What’s Inside’ labels now cover all confectionery items globally and shows calorie content in green.
A recent study found that consumers think candy bars with green nutrition labels, such as those used by Mars, are healthier than ones with red or transparent labels containing the same calories.