Thursday, August 28, 2008

I can no longer eat Hershey's chocolates

File this in the "Well CRAP!" file...

Those who know me know that I love chocolate. Love with a capital L-O-V-E. Now I tend to love the fancy stuff or at least the pseudo fancy stuff. In the less than $5 a bar category, I usually look for Cadbury's or even better Milka (by Nestle from Germany in a purple wrapper with a cow on the front).

Occasionally I'd slum it with a Hershey bar or more often a Mr. Goodbar since I'm a sucker for chocolate and peanuts.

Well, tonight I found out the hard way that Hershey's has reformulated their product. What should have tipped me off was the "Half Pound" size chocolate bars had apparently be downsized from 8oz to 7oz... and then again to 6.8oz. (7oz and 6.8oz versions were sitting on the shelf together so it made it kind of obvious.)

According to sources on the internet, Hershey's reformulated their product in Fall 2007 to include lactose, milk fat, and the food additive PGPR (which is substituted for real cocoa butter to save money and reduce the fat content).

Here's the problem... I'm pretty severely lactose intolerant. Hershey's did not put any sort of warning on their product or announce the change in any way. The only way to know would be to have read the ingredients panel. And really, who reads the ingredients panel every time they buy the same thing they've always bought?!

This probably explains one particular tummy blow out that I had around Christmas that I wasn't able to explain. I had just chalked it up to my IBS but looking back it was most like Hershey's chocolate induced.

Yesterday I learned of this formulation change after having consumed ~1/2 of a 7oz bar of chocolate... within minutes, I was in full on cramps and running for the bathroom.

Now I've been lactose intolerant long enough to know exactly when I'm experiencing a full on lactose issue. It is unlike anything else. If you're not lactose this won't make sense to you but fellow intoleranters know what I'm talking about. The cramps are unmistakeable. So immediately after the first sit down episode I ran for my lactase powder. It tastes aweful but works much faster than the pills. (Sort of the same premise as those BC headache powders.)

After my stomach calmed back down I headed for the product label. There in the ingredient list was the culprit... LACTOSE. Dammit. I had to give up M&M's for the very same reason! And now they have taken Hershey's from me too!

Why do companies include an ingredient in their product that is known to give some people problems? Simple, lactose is cheaper than regular sugar. It also aids in the sweet milky aftertaste so they can get away with using less real milk and milk solids in the product.

Futher insulting my palatte I found that Hershey's had added milk fat in place of cocoa fat content AND added PGPR to replace even more cocoa butter. So in the name of saving a few cents Hershey's has adulterated their products with fake ingredients.

How ironic that Hershey's just launched the "Pure Hershey's" campaign this month. It's pure alright... a pure lie. Their chocolate is no longer chocolate, cocoa butter and milk. Now its chemical fillers, fake vanilla, cheap sugar and fake fat. On top of all that and the product downsizing, they just announced an across the board price increase.

It's so depressing I think I need some... non-Hershey's chocolate.