What Are the Ingredients in Hershey's Chocolate?

By Kristen L. Depken

Hershey's is perhaps the most popular brand of chocolate in the country. However, many people don't realize that a lot more than just chocolate goes into Hershey's candy. Read on to learn more about the ingredients in a regular milk chocolate Hershey's bar.

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Hershey's Chocolate Bars for sale in store

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Pile of sugar cubes

Sugar is the number one ingredient in a Hershey's chocolate bar. It is what gives the chocolate its sweet, satisfying taste. There are 23 grams of sugar in one 43 gram Hershey's bar.

Chocolate Liquor

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Spoon stirring milk chocolate

Contrary to its name, chocolate liquor does not contain alcohol. It is the substance produced when cacao beans are allowed to ferment, then roasted and cracked to reveal the cacao nibs inside. The cacao nibs are then ground to produce chocolate liquor. Milk chocolate must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor.

Cocoa and Cocoa Butter

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Cocoa pods ready for processing in Soufriere, St. Lucia

Cocoa butter is the vegetable fat substance extracted from the cacao bean. It gives chocolate its smooth, creamy texture. In addition, cocoa processed with alkali is also added to Hershey's bars. The alkali makes the chocolate less bitter and gives it a darker color, however it also removes the antioxidants found in raw cocoa.

Milk products

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Milk bottles in a tray

For chocolate to be considered milk chocolate, it must contain at least 12 percent milk ingredients. The milk ingredients in a Hershey's bar include milk fat and lactose. Milk fat is, as its name suggests, the fat content in milk, while lactose is the sugar found in milk. In addition to milk fat and lactose, Hershey's bars contain regular milk.


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Chocolate waits to be melted

Hershey's chocolate bars contain several additives. Soy lecithin is made from soybean oil and added to Hershey's chocolate bars to keep the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating. PGPR, or polyglycerol polyricinoleate, is made from castor bean oil and added to chocolate to improve its viscosity. Vanillin is the main chemical component of vanilla bean extract. It is also a flavoring added to chocolate. These additives, together with artificial flavors, are what give Hershey's chocolate its sweet taste and smooth and creamy texture.