According to this most excellent post by Cybele at Candyblog, Hershey's has slowly been degrading the quality of the chocolate in their products over the past few years. Back in 2006, they started using the emulsifier and extender PGPR on several of their products, and last year they finally expanded the practice to include their trademark milk chocolate bar.
So if you've been wondering why your Kisses and your Mr. Goodbars and your Krackels just don't taste the same anymore, it's not you. They aren't the same. They aren't exactly chocolate anymore.
I couldn't find a list of ingredients on the Hershey's website (surprise, surprise), so I did a little guerilla work and smuggled a Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar into the pasta aisle at Treasure Island so I could snap a picture of the actual ingredients. The back side is a little fuzzy (and this is the best of the three I pictures took, believe me), but here they are:
INGREDIENTS: MILK CHOCOLATE (SUGAR; MILK; CHOCOLATE; COCOA BUTTER; LACTOSE; MILK FAT; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR; EMULSIFIER; VANILLIN; ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR).In addition, as Cybele also reported, Hershey's joined with the Grocery Manufacturer's Association to petition the FDA to change the definition of chocolate so they could still call their new inferior product chocolate instead of having to call it "chocolate flavored" or "chocolatey". According to this article from CSRwire:
A part of the proposed changes in the Citizens Petition presented by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to the FDA is a change in the strict Federal "Standards of Identity" for chocolate products which would permit the use of cheaper vegetable fats instead of the traditional cocoa butter and lower-cost milk substitutes instead of genuine milk products. This change would permit the resulting products to still be called "chocolate."Luckily, they were not successful, so a product still has to have some cocoa butter in order to be called chocolate. It doesn't, however, have to be 100% cocoa butter, apparently, as evidenced by the current Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar.
So, what does make a Hershey's Bar Pure? Why, "pure gooey goodness", of course. You don't still think the answer is "chocolate," do you?