Trace It Back:

Where Ingredients Come From

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Deborah Arcoleo
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Director Product Transparency, The Hershey Company

It’s no secret that consumers are demanding to know more than ever before about what’s in their food, where ingredients come from and how products are made.  Whether a consumer is avoiding an allergen like gluten or tree nuts, trying to eat healthier by limiting salt and sugar intake or concerned about environmental sustainability, the amount of information that people want to know is on the rise and shows no sign of changing.

For food companies, it’s imperative to be transparent about what goes into your products. It’s not enough to simply put a little more information on a label. The open and complete sharing of product information is now a must-have for any food company to compete.

Most packages are already crowded with the small type of mandatory regulatory disclosures, so the physical package is really a poor platform for delivering a deeper level of information about products to consumers. At Hershey, we are a proud leader in the development of SmartLabel™ QR codes for packaging and the first company to go live with this revolutionary transparency tool. But we want to do more. 

So we are introducing Sourcemap, a new interactive pilot experience. Sourcemap is just that – a map of the world where we’ve plotted our manufacturing facilities and the origins of key ingredients for two of our most iconic products, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. By clicking on each ingredient’s icon on the map, consumers can learn more through a gallery of information, photos and videos, including how the ingredient is farmed and harvested, and details about our sustainable sourcing initiatives in different communities. With this technology, our goal is to provide consumers with full transparency about where we source our key ingredients, and hopefully teach them something new about where our products come from.

For example, in the Reese’s Sourcemap, consumers can learn about Mr. Harry B. Reese – who invented the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in his very own house and factory in Hershey, Pa., in the late 1920’s.  If history isn’t your thing, you can hover over the “peanuts” icon to watch a video about the high-quality peanuts we source from South Georgia family farmers like Keith Griffin who provide the highest quality peanuts for our products. In the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Sourcemap, consumers can see that every almond comes from California’s Central Valley, and that 90% of the 6,800 almond groves there are family owned and operated.

We believe farming and agricultural are pretty cool, and we know that consumers want to know where ingredients come from. We’re excited to share these new Sourcemaps and we look forward to hearing from you as we modify and expand this new platform to deliver even more of what you want to know.

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