Hershey will be the first brand to adapt to SmartLabel, the new labeling standard introduced by the Grocery Manufacturers' Association to address consumer demands to have more complete information about the products they buy.
The new labels, which will start rolling out in 2016, allow consumers to scan a QR code with their smartphones and connect to a website that provides more details about the product. This will help consumers who are looking for in-depth information such as allergens, genetically modified organisms, nutrition, facts about the brand or how to use the product, all of which would be too much to fit on traditional nutritional labels.
Buyers will see these labels on the shelves soon, as Hershey plans to include the SmartLabel codes on their upcoming Holiday Kisses packaging. For the other 90 companies that have agreed to start using the new labeling system, those products will hit grocery store shelves next year.
"We are very proud to have led the way in creating a SmartLabel QR code that can be adopted nationwide to help protect consumers by eliminating a confusing and impractical patchwork of package labels and state-by-state labeling laws," Jeff Beckman, the director of communications at Hershey, said in an interview with SustainableBrands.
While SmartLabel is a voluntary program, Hershey's CEO and GMA Chairman John Bilbrey hopes that more companies will join in and pressure others to follow, spreading the trend of transparency and offering as much information to consumers as possible.
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