Hershey is striving to become a more eco-friendly company as consumers increasingly want brands to be sustainable and transparent in their operations.
A big piece of the candy company’s 2030 goals include making all of its packing either recyclable, reusable or compostable. It follows Ferrara, which has committed to using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. And Mars has also set 2025 as the target date to adopt 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging.
Other large CPGs are making similar commitments to reducing plastic packaging. Nestlé is investing $2.1 billion to shift its packaging from virgin plastics to food-grade recyclable plastic. Coca-Cola is introducing bottles made from 100% plastic as a way to reduce its plastic use by 20%. General Mills’ Nature’s Valley brand has already started its move to more sustainable packaging, with plans to adopt fully recyclable plastic wrappers for its crunchy granola bars by this spring. It has decided not to patent the design, so Hershey and other CPGs could adapt it to help them reach their new packaging goals.
This new announcement could benefit Hershey, which Americans consider to be one of the country’s most trustworthy brands, according to a survey conducted by Morning Consult in 2020. Sustainability continues to be top of mind for consumers; 78% of shoppers have focused more on sustainable purchases in the past year, according to a survey from global management and consulting firm Kearney emailed to Food Dive.
Beyond packaging, Hershey’s other sustainability commitments build on its earlier work. In 2018, Hershey announced it would invest $500 million toward sustainable cocoa practices in West Africa by 2030. Mars has committed to a 100% sustainable supply chain to meet its future cacao needs. And Barry Callebaut is aiming to have 100% of its ingredients from sustainable sources by 2025. The company said in 2019 that it reached 51% of its sustainability goal.
The commitments and progress made by other candy manufacturers may have raised the bar for Hershey. As consumers place a greater value on the work companies do when it comes to the climate, manufacturers will ultimately need to do more to minimize their impact on the environment and boost their sustainability efforts.