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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups among Hershey’s first brands to test Sourcemap

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Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

23-Mar-2017
Last updated on 24-Mar-2017 at 12:01 GMT2017-03-24T12:01:32Z

Hershey said it would expand Sourcemap's product coverage in the future based on consumer feedback.  Photo: Hershey
Hershey said it would expand Sourcemap's product coverage in the future based on consumer feedback. Photo: Hershey

US chocolate maker Hershey has launched Sourcemap for consumers to explore the origins of its agricultural ingredients, such as cocoa beans, sunflower oil and vanilla. 

The web-based interactive mapping tool currently includes two of Hershey’s power brands: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Last year, Hershey partnered with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and a team of consumer companies to develop SmartLabel , which lets shoppers scan a product QR code and links them to a full suite of information about that specific product, this site previously reported.

Mondelēz soon followed suit in early 2017, adopting the same digital tool to keep its consumers informed.

“While both tools share a goal of providing consumers with more information about what’s in our products, Sourcemap focuses on the origins of our agricultural ingredients, while SmartLabel provides detailed product information through a web landing page accessible via QR code, Google search or at smartlabel.org,” said Deb Arcoleo, director, product transparency and innovation, Hershey.

Higher transparency

Hershey told ConfectioneryNews the creation of Sourcemap “takes transparency one step further.”

“In each node on the map consumers can learn more through text, photos and videos, including how the ingredient is farmed or harvested and details about sustainable sourcing initiatives,” Arcoleo said.

Arcoleo, who recently presented at the NCA’s State of the Industry Conference in Miami, Florida, said the goal of Sourcemap is providing consumers with more information about the food they eat so they can learn something new and interesting about different agricultural crops.

“We hope people enjoy both platforms (SmartLabel and Sourcemap) and appreciate learning more about the ingredients in their products,” she said.

“Consumers are making purchase decisions based on values and authenticity. They want to give their business to those brands and companies whose interests they believe are aligned with their own. Transparency is a critical building block for building trust, even if the information is not perfect or complete.”

Not limited to checkout aisle

One may wonder if it is too time-consuming for consumers to browse through every ingredient and its origin on their smartphones while many of them simply seek a quick buy at grocery stores.

In addition, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are usually found at the checkout aisle. So who’s going to check their phone just to find out about detailed info ingredient by ingredient?

Hershey said it “simply wants to present the option for the consumer to decide, no matter what stage they happen to be in during their shopping experience.”

Fostering simpler ingredients

Sourcemap is currently in stage one, but Hershey said it would be gauging how successful the pilot is, and expand the platform to cover more products based on future consumer feedback, Arcoleo told ConfectioneryNews.

“It is very flexible in terms of the information that can be viewed in the maps. So over time, we’d like to explore how best to leverage the maps to talk about sustainability initiatives at our plants, how we are doing against our corporate social responsibility commitments, etc.,” she said.

“We are also on a journey to evolve our portfolio to simpler, more familiar ingredients, and Sourcemap can be a useful tool to communicate more about our progress on that dimension as well.” 

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