Is There Wax In Hershey’S Chocolate?

Chocolate is one of the most popular treats around the world, and Hershey’s is one of the largest and most iconic chocolate brands. Hershey’s chocolate bars, Kisses, and other candies are a staple in many households and have been enjoyed for generations.

However, there is a longstanding myth that Hershey’s chocolate contains wax. This belief likely stems from the smooth, glossy texture of Hershey’s chocolate products. Some consumers claim Hershey’s chocolate has a waxy or oily mouthfeel compared to other chocolates. This has led many to speculate that Hershey’s adds wax to their chocolate.

In this article, we’ll explore the ingredients and manufacturing process behind Hershey’s chocolate to find out if their signature products really contain wax. Understanding the truth about this popular chocolate brand will help consumers make informed decisions about the treats they buy and enjoy.

What is Chocolate Made Of?

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. The main ingredients in chocolate are cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.

Cocoa solids provide the chocolate flavor and color. They come from the non-fat portion of the cacao seed. Cocoa solids contain antioxidants and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Cocoa butter is the natural fat extracted from cacao seeds. It gives chocolate its smooth, melting texture. Cocoa butter contains fatty acids that provide creaminess.

cocoa beans

Sugar balances and enhances the natural bitterness of chocolate. Most chocolate contains added sugar, but the amount varies. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.

Other ingredients like milk, vanilla, lecithin, and vegetable oils may also be added during processing. But the essential components of chocolate are cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is a type of vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean, which is the seed of the cacao tree (The Spruce Eats). Cocoa butter makes up over 50% of the weight of cocoa beans and gives chocolate its characteristic smooth texture and mouthfeel.

To produce cocoa butter, cocoa beans are first fermented, dried, and roasted. The shells are then removed from the beans to extract the cocoa nibs, which contain cocoa butter and cocoa solids. The cocoa nibs are ground and heated to liquefy the cocoa butter, which is then separated from the solids. The result is pure cocoa butter – an off-white, edible fat that is solid at room temperature.

Cocoa butter consists primarily of natural fats called triglycerides, which are made up of fatty acids and glycerol. The main fatty acids in cocoa butter are palmitic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid. Cocoa butter contains antioxidants and has a mild chocolate flavor and scent.

Does Cocoa Butter Contain Wax?

No, cocoa butter does not contain wax. Cocoa butter is a natural fat extracted from cacao beans. It is made up of fatty acids like stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid. Unlike wax, cocoa butter melts at body temperature which is why it provides chocolate with its smooth, creamy texture.

Wax comes from petroleum or animals, while cocoa butter is 100% plant-based from the cacao bean. Cocoa butter contains no wax ingredients whatsoever. It is an edible vegetable fat that meets food standards for human consumption.

According to one source, “Cocoa butter is a natural fat extracted from cacao beans. It is made up of fatty acids like stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid.” (Source)

Why Do People Think There is Wax?

There are a few myths and misconceptions that lead people to believe there is wax in Hershey’s chocolate:

person holding hershey's chocolate bar

One reason is that some mass-produced chocolates do contain additives like paraffin wax or other waxes. These are added to the chocolate to give it a glossy appearance and smooth texture. The wax helps the chocolate keep its shape at room temperature.

However, paraffin wax is not approved for use in chocolate in the United States [1]. It is considered an unsafe food additive. While small amounts of wax are not harmful if ingested, the FDA prohibits this ingredient.

Another misconception is that many people find Hershey’s chocolate has an unpleasant taste compared to some European chocolates. Some describe the flavor as waxy. This led to speculation that Hershey’s contains wax, but the taste is due to the use of different cacao beans and a different manufacturing process.

There is also confusion between cocoa butter – which is naturally found in all chocolate – and paraffin wax. While both have a waxy texture, cocoa butter is completely safe to eat. But some people mistakenly believe that this edible “wax” in chocolate means it contains paraffin.

In summary, while some low-quality chocolates may contain wax, there is no paraffin or other wax additives present in Hershey’s chocolate in the US. The misconception stems from the product’s texture and flavor profile.

Hershey’s Ingredients

The main ingredients in Hershey’s chocolate bars are sugar, milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, and natural flavors, according to the product packaging and the Hershey’s website (Hershey’s Chocolate Is Going All-Natural and Mostly GMO- …).

Cocoa butter is a pale-yellow edible vegetable fat extracted from cocoa beans. It is used to give chocolate its smooth melting texture. Cocoa butter contains a high proportion of saturated fats and is prized for its melt-in-your-mouth qualities. According to Hershey’s, their chocolate contains cocoa butter sourced directly from cocoa beans.

Food Labeling Standards

There are strict FDA food labeling requirements that companies like Hershey must follow regarding the declaration of ingredients. Any food packaging must list every single ingredient within a product, in descending order of predominance by weight according to the FDA’s Food Labeling Guide.

The FDA requires that any waxes or coatings used on foods be declared on the ingredient list. Wax coatings are commonly used on produce and fruits to seal in moisture and freshness. However, for processed foods like chocolate bars, any waxes or coatings used in manufacturing would need to be listed if present.

So if Hershey’s chocolate contained any kind of wax, the FDA regulations would require it to be included on the ingredients label. The absence of any wax ingredient on a Hershey’s chocolate bar indicates that no wax coatings or additives are used in their chocolate production.

Hershey’s Manufacturing Process

Hershey’s uses a multi-step process to turn cocoa beans into chocolate. First, cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted, and cracked to separate the nibs from the shells. The nibs contain cocoa butter and cocoa solids.

The nibs then go through a process called liquor milling, where they are ground into a liquid called chocolate liquor. This liquid contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Next, the chocolate liquor is pressed between hydraulic presses to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids.

liquid chocolate being processed

The separated cocoa butter and cocoa solids are then blended together again along with sugar and milk to create the final chocolate product. The exact proportions of ingredients vary depending on the type of chocolate being made. For example, dark chocolate contains more cocoa solids and less milk than milk chocolate.

After the ingredients are combined, the liquid chocolate goes through a refining process to reduce the particle size and make the texture smooth. It is then conched, which aerates and mixes the chocolate to give it a smooth, velvety texture. Finally, the chocolate is tempered to stabilize the fat crystals and give it a glossy sheen and firm texture. It is then molded into the familiar Hershey’s bar shape.

Hershey uses high-tech computer controlled systems to automate much of the manufacturing process. However, experts still monitor each batch to ensure consistency and quality. Hershey’s factories in Pennsylvania produce over 80 million Hershey’s chocolate bars each year using this process.


Verdict: Is There Wax in Hershey’s?

Based on the ingredients listed and the manufacturing process used, there is no wax in Hershey’s chocolate. Here are the key reasons why:

Cocoa butter, the main fat source in chocolate, is not the same as wax. It is edible and derived naturally from cocoa beans. While similar in texture, the chemical composition is different.

hershey's chocolate bar

Wax additives like paraffin are not permitted in chocolate according to U.S. food regulations. Hershey’s lists “cocoa butter” as the only fat ingredient.

The conching and tempering process allows cocoa butter to be smoothly distributed without the need for wax. Conching provides the texture, while tempering gives the glossy sheen.

Independent food scientists have analyzed the ingredients and manufacturing process. No evidence of wax adulteration has been found in Hershey’s chocolate.

Hershey’s has directly refuted claims that their chocolate contains wax. The company confirms it uses no wax additives and complies with all FDA guidelines.

In summary, while the texture may seem waxy, lab testing and ingredient lists confirm that Hershey’s chocolate contains no wax additives. The smooth, glossy appearance comes from cocoa butter, conching, and tempering.


To summarize, some consumers suspect Hershey’s chocolate contains wax due to its texture and the way it melts. However, while Hershey’s does use cocoa butter (a natural fat from cacao beans), this is not the same as wax. Hershey’s discloses its full ingredients as required by FDA food labeling laws, and does not list any type of wax. The chocolates are made through a standard manufacturing process that combines cocoa beans, sugar, milk, and other ingredients—no wax is added.

While the unique qualities of Hershey’s chocolate can seem unusual compared to some other brands, there is no evidence that they put wax in their products. The ingredients and nutritional information are provided on all packaging. So you can enjoy your Hershey’s chocolate knowing it’s just chocolate—no hidden waxes inside!

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