Hershey Kisses are a popular chocolate candy produced by The Hershey Company. With their distinctive conical shape wrapped in aluminum foil, Hershey Kisses are enjoyed around the world by people of many faiths. For Jewish consumers who follow the kosher dietary laws, knowing whether Hershey Kisses are kosher certified is an important consideration.
What does kosher mean?
Kosher is a Hebrew word that means proper, allowed, or fit. When applied to food, kosher refers to dietary regulations followed by observant Jews. These laws are based on biblical commandments and Jewish tradition regarding which foods are considered pure and acceptable to eat.
For a food to be certified kosher, it must meet the following criteria:
- It must not contain any non-kosher animals, fish, birds, or insects. Kosher mammals must be slaughtered in a specific ritual manner.
- Meat and dairy cannot be mixed or served together. This includes not cooking them together or eating them in the same meal.
- Grape products made by non-Jews cannot be consumed.
- There are restrictions around certain food prep equipment, ovens, sinks, and dishes that can cause cross-contamination.
Compliance with kosher laws is overseen by certification organizations like the Orthodox Union, Star-K, and OK. Food manufacturers pay to have their products inspected and certified so they can display a kosher symbol on the packaging.
Are Hershey’s Kisses kosher?
The answer is yes, Hershey’s Kisses are certified kosher. Here are the details on their kosher status:
- Most Hershey Kisses products are certified kosher by The Orthodox Union (OU), one of the major kosher certification agencies in America. The OU symbol can be found on the back or bottom of the Hershey Kisses label.
- Some seasonal Hershey Kisses like Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint are OU-D kosher certified. The D indicates that they contain dairy as an ingredient.
- All ingredients and manufacturing for Hershey products including Kisses occur under rabbinical supervision to ensure kosher standards are met.
- Hershey’s chocolate and cocoa are OU certified kosher. Sugar, cocoa butter, milk ingredients, emulsifiers, and flavorings are also kosher ingredients.
- Hershey’s factories and equipment adhere to kosher practices and are inspected regularly.
So as long as the Hershey Kisses product has a kosher symbol, Jewish consumers can enjoy Hershey’s famous conical candies without worrying about violating dietary laws. Even candy lovers keeping kosher for Passover can enjoy many Hershey Kisses varieties that are certified Kosher for Passover.
Types of Kosher Certification
When a food product has legitimate kosher certification, the packaging will carry one of the symbols of the major kosher agencies. Here are some of the most common kosher symbols found on food labels:
|OK||Organized Kashrut Laboratories|
|Star-K||Star-K Kosher Certification|
|Kof-K||Kosher Supervision of America|
Some symbols will indicate specialized certifications like Kosher for Passover (P after the symbol) or Dairy (D after the symbol). Knowing the major kosher symbols allows shoppers to quickly identify which products meet kosher standards.
History of Hershey’s Kisses
Hershey’s Kisses were first produced in 1907 at Hershey’s original chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. They were wraps in tissue paper and tinfoil to maintain freshness. It wasn’t until 1921 that machine wrapping in foil was perfected to give Kisses their iconic conical shape.
Milton S. Hershey was determined to make milk chocolate affordable for everyday Americans. At only a few pennies, Hershey’s Kisses were an indulgent chocolate treat that middle-class families could enjoy. Their bite-sized portions also made them easily sharable.
Hershey Kisses became popular across all demographics of American society. Advertisements show them being enjoyed in religious observant households as well. When kosher certification began growing in the post-war years, Hershey ensured their beloved Kisses could meet those strict standards.
Hershey products received kosher certification from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations starting in the 1930s. This allowed Jewish consumers to enjoy Hershey chocolate without compromising their religious convictions.
As kosher standards evolved and became more stringent, Hershey worked diligently to meet those expectations. By the 1980s, all major Hershey products including Kisses carried the OU mark signifying adherence to kosher practices.
Hershey Kisses have few simple ingredients – sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk fat, milk, and soy lecithin as an emulsifier. All ingredients and procedures are certified kosher. Here are some details:
- Cocoa beans are inspected for insects and impurities. Only perfect beans are used.
- Sugar must come from kosher sources and not be processed with non-kosher wines or alcohols.
- Milk used in chocolate must come from kosher animals like cows.
- Emulsifiers like soy lecithin must also be kosher certified.
- Equipment is thoroughly cleaned and koshered according to orthodox Jewish law.
By choosing certified kosher ingredients and following kosher manufacturing protocols, Hershey’s is able to produce delicious Kisses that meet both kosher regulations and Hershey’s high standards of excellence.
Special Kosher Versions
Most standard Hershey Kisses are certified kosher dairy by the OU. However, Hershey’s produces varieties specifically for the kosher consumer:
Hershey’s Kosher for Passover Chocolate Kisses
Made with kosher for Passover cocoa beans and sugar, these Kisses contain no grains or leavening agents, adhering to the strict dietary restrictions of Passover. The Kisses are certified Kosher for Passover by the CRC.
Hershey’s Pareve Chocolate Kisses
Pareve means neutral or free of dairy and meat ingredients. These Kisses are pareve certified so they can be eaten together with either meat or dairy meals. The OU Pareve symbol ensures they are permissible under kosher law.
Availability of Kosher Chocolate
Kosher certified chocolate is widely available today at major grocery chains across the United States. Here’s where to find kosher chocolate like Hershey’s Kisses:
- Large supermarkets – Most major supermarket chains like Kroger, Safeway, Publix, etc. carry OU certified Hershey’s chocolate in the regular candy aisle.
- Kosher markets – Specialty kosher grocers will have expanded selections of kosher chocolate from Hershey and other brands.
- Online retailers – Many kosher food websites sell popular kosher candy and chocolate brands. These include Kosher.com, Kashrus.com, and KEMACH Foods.
- Warehouse clubs – Retailers like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale often sell multi-packs of kosher certified Hershey’s Kisses.
Chocolate lovers need not give up enjoying their favorite treats for religious reasons. With Hershey’s Kisses and other major brands offering OU certified options, it’s easy to find high-quality kosher chocolate almost anywhere.
Hershey Company’s Commitment to Kosher Certification
Hershey has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to accommodating consumers of all faiths and beliefs. Their website states:
The Hershey Company remains committed to providing products that meet the needs of all our consumers…Today we are proud to say that most of our chocolate and confectionery food products are kosher certified.
They work closely with the Orthodox Union to consistently meet kosher standards. Dedicated kosher supervisors oversee all aspects of sourcing, production, and packaging.
Hershey also produces specialty items for Passover, Purim, Hanukkah, and other Jewish holidays. And they label products as OU-D when dairy ingredients are present.
From inexpensive chocolate like Hershey’s Kisses to premium lines, consumers can trust that Hershey diligently adheres to kosher practices. Their kosher certification expands options for those with religious dietary needs.
Hershey’s famous conical foil-wrapped Kisses have been a beloved chocolate icon for over 100 years. Today they can be enjoyed by kosher consumers thanks to Hershey’s commitment to kosher certification.
Carrying the respected OU symbol, most standard Hershey Kisses are certified kosher dairy. Special kosher versions are also produced for Passover. Made with kosher ingredients and processes, Hershey Kisses meet the approval of kosher authorities.
Jewish consumers seeking kosher sweets can find OU certified Hershey Kisses at almost any major grocery store or online retailer. Hershey’s dedication to accommodating dietary restrictions allows people of all faiths to continue enjoying these classic American chocolates.