It always cracks us up to read about nutrition initiatives coming from candy companies. You’ve got to hand it to them, they keep trying. This time it’s the Hershey Company, stalwart of the chocolate addiction industry in the US. In a press release earlier this week, Hershey announced that it
will provide front-of-pack nutrition information to make it simple and easy for consumers to make choices about the role of confection in their lifestyle.
Hershey will begin to roll out front-of-pack nutrition information in the second half of 2013 and will evolve its product packaging across its varied pack types over the next several years. Read more…
The label format Hershey will be working with is based on an industry wide initiative called Facts Up Front. This program was announced by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a trade group, 18 months ago. We are not fans, you can read why here.
While the Hershey announcement sounds like a great step towards transparency, we foresee it as a means to provide consumers a reason to eat more candy:
1. The information presented is per serving, not per package. For single serve packages, this is one and the same. But many products packs include 2, or 2.5 servings which most people consume in one sitting. By showing information “per serving” , not “per package”, consumers will believe they are eating much less calories than they actually are.
2. The sugar count appears in grams, not teaspoons. The standard chocolate candy has 24 grams of sugar. That’s what you’ll see on the label. Most consumers can’t relate to that. But what if the label said “6 teaspoons”?
3. “Facts Up Front” allows manufacturers to provide information about positive nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and calcium. Milk Chocolate has some calcium in it. Why do have a hunch that Calcium information will appear in the front of pack information creating a scepter of health, where there is none?
Now don’t get us wrong. We like chocolate. The problem is that we, same as you, like it too much. Hershey would best help us if its front of pack information would clarify portion control. But that would lead us to eat less chocolate. And Hershey can’t have any of that now, can it?