On the heels of Nestle’s announcement that it will remove artificial ingredients from many of its chocolate bars, Hershey’s has announced that it, too, is making changes after hearing from consumers.

The biggest change is that by the end of 2015, the company's two most iconic brands, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate candy bars and Hershey’s Kisses, will be GMO-free. The company will switch from using GMO beet sugar to non-GMO cane sugar. 

In addition, Hershey’s website outlines three key principles in its “move to simple, easy-to-understand ingredients.”

  • Simple Ingredients: Hershey's is pledging simplicity in ingredients that are recognizable and easy-to-understand.
  • Sharing What’s Inside: The company will be more transparent with ingredients, sourcing, manufacturing and labeling.
  • Thoughtful and Responsible Sourcing of Ingredients: The large chocolate manufacturer says it will continue to work with suppliers to honor its commitment “to source 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa and certified sustainable and traceable palm oil.”

Last year, Hershey's announced that it was considering removing the high fructose corn syrup used in some of its products, but there is no mention of that in this particular announcement. 

John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Company, said, “We will strive for simplicity with all of our ingredients, but we may not achieve it with every product. This is a journey and it will take time. We are equally committed to sharing what we achieve and what we don’t. For ingredients that may not be as simple, we will explain what they are and why we need them to provide the great flavors, aromas, textures and appearances that our consumers know and love.”

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.