U.S. Markets closed

Hershey plans to use simpler ingredients in products

Hershey's chocolate bars are shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Hershey Co (HSY.N) said it would start using simpler ingredients in its chocolate bars and kisses brands, the latest chocolate maker yielding to U.S. consumers' concerns about the quality and sourcing of food.

The company, which said it planned to use locally produced milk, would shift to using simpler ingredients beginning this year.

Kit-Kat maker Nestle's (NESN.VX) U.S. unit said on Tuesday that it planned to remove artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors from all Nestle chocolate candy by the end of 2015.

Hershey on Wednesday did not mention whether it would consider dropping any ingredient because of the new policy.

Information on the sourcing, manufacturing and labeling of the products would be made available on the packaging or online, the company said.

The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based company also reaffirmed its full-year 2015 sales and profit forecast and also announced a $250 million share buyback program.

The company's shares closed slightly higher at $106.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Nayan Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)