Does Hershey’s chocolate actually expire?

Hershey’s chocolate is one of the most popular and beloved chocolate brands in the United States. With its distinctive milk chocolate taste and iconic packaging, Hershey’s chocolate bars, Kisses, and other candies hold a special place in many people’s hearts. This naturally leads to the question – does Hershey’s chocolate actually expire and go bad, or does it last indefinitely?

Quick answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about Hershey’s chocolate expiration:

  • Yes, Hershey’s chocolate does expire and has a shelf life.
  • An unopened Hershey’s chocolate bar will generally stay fresh for around 1 year from the production date.
  • Hershey’s Kisses and other molded chocolates may start to bloom and lose quality after about 9 months.
  • Once opened, Hershey’s chocolate may last for 3-6 months if stored properly in a cool, dry place.
  • Heat, humidity, and temperature fluctuations shorten Hershey’s shelf life by promoting bloom formation.
  • Expired Hershey’s chocolate is still safe to eat, but may have an odd flavor or texture.
  • Look for a best by date stamped on the package to determine Hershey’s freshness.

How to tell if Hershey’s chocolate has expired

So how can you tell if your Hershey’s chocolate has gone past its prime? Here are some tips:

  • Check the date code – Hershey’s marks its products with a code that indicates the production date. For example, R5M29 means the product was made on September 29, 2023. The code is usually stamped on the back or bottom of the package.
  • Inspect the appearance – Older Hershey’s chocolate may start to turn gray or white on the surface due to sugar bloom. It may also become grainy in texture.
  • Smell the chocolate – Fresh Hershey’s has a distinctive cocoa smell. If the scent is weak or smells rancid, toss it.
  • Taste the chocolate – flavor is the best test. Hershey’s should taste creamy and chocolatey. If its stale, gritty, or just “off”, its a sign to discard it.

How Long Does an Unopened Hershey’s Bar Last?

An unopened Hershey’s chocolate bar will typically stay fresh and tasty for about 1 year past the production date if it is stored properly.

The key factors impacting an unopened Hershey’s shelf life are:

  • Ingredients – Hershey’s chocolate contains cocoa solids, sugar, milk, cocoa butter, lactose, soy lecithin, vanillin, and PGPR as its main ingredients. The high sugar content preserves the chocolate.
  • Packaging – The thick, foil-lined packaging protects Hershey’s chocolate from light, oxygen, and humidity which cause it to bloom and degrade.
  • Storage temperature – Storing Hershey’s at cool room temperatures between 60-70°F allows it to maintain optimal flavor and texture.

Keep your unopened Hershey’s bars in their original packaging in a dry kitchen cabinet away from direct sunlight and warmth. As long as you don’t exceed the 1 year best by date, it should retain peak freshness and taste just like you expect.

How to store unopened Hershey’s chocolate:

  • Leave it in the original packaging once opened until ready to eat.
  • Store in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cabinet.
  • Keep away from sources of heat or humidity like the oven.
  • Avoid the refrigerator or freezer – temperature fluctuations cause bloom.

Does Hershey’s Chocolate Expire If Unopened?

Yes, even if the package is unopened, Hershey’s chocolate will eventually expire and go stale. However, an unopened package will maintain optimal flavor and texture much longer than opened chocolate.

sealed Hershey’s bar has a shelf life of about 12 months. After this time period, the chocolate can become rancid or develop a grainy or mottled appearance known as chocolate bloom.

While safe to eat, 12-month old Hershey’s often won’t taste as creamy and flavorful. The chocolate may have a more waxy or chalky mouthfeel.

For the best quality, try to consume Hershey’s products within 10 months of production. Store in a cool, dry area since heat and humidity degrade chocolate compounds.

How Long Does Hershey’s Chocolate Last After Opening?

Once opened, the shelf life of Hershey’s chocolate bars is reduced to just 3-6 months. Keeping the chocolate properly stored can help extend its freshness.

Exposure to oxygen, light, fluctuating temperatures, and humidity will accelerate the decline of opened Hershey’s chocolate. These factors promote moisture migration and fat and sugar bloom.

To optimize Hershey’s enjoyability after opening, follow these storage guidelines:

  • Seal in an airtight container and keep away from light.
  • Store in a cool, dry place like a pantry.
  • Keep temperature as steady as possible – avoid refrigerating.
  • Consume within 3 months for best quality.

With proper storage, an opened Hershey’s bar can retain pleasurable chocolate taste and aroma for about a quarter of a year. After around 6 months, the chocolate will become progressively drier and chalkier.

How Long Do Hershey’s Kisses Last?

Hershey’s Kisses, with their iconic shape wrapped in foil, are a popular alternative to chocolate bars. How long do Kisses stay fresh and tasty compared to Hershey’s bars?

On average, unopened packages of Hershey’s Kisses expire after about:

  • 9 months – milk chocolate and dark chocolate Kisses
  • 6 months – Hershey’s Drops
  • 6 months – Hugs and Reese’s peanut butter Kisses

Due to their higher surface area, Kisses are more prone to sugar bloom formation than chocolate bars. The fat and sugar will start migrating through the chocolate around 9 months after production.

You can identify if your Kisses are expired by:

  • Checking the date code on the foil backing
  • Looking for grayish-white spots or streaks
  • Feeling if the candy shell has become grainy

Once opened, use Hershey Kisses within 3-4 months for best quality. Store in cool, dry conditions and re-wrap or seal tightly.

How to Store Hershey’s Chocolate Properly

Storing Hershey’s chocolate bars, Kisses, and other products optimally helps prolong shelf life both before and after opening. Here are some tips for maximizing freshness:

For unopened Hershey’s:

  • Leave in original packaging at room temperature.
  • Avoid storage above 75°F such as near appliances.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight which can melt chocolate.
  • Prevent humidity exposure by keeping in cupboard.

For opened Hershey’s:

  • Seal tightly in plastic wrap, bags, or airtight containers.
  • Refrigerating can cause condensation – store at cool room temp.
  • Keep away from light sources like windows.
  • Consume within 3-6 months for optimal freshness.

Signs Your Hershey’s Chocolate Has Gone Bad

How can you tell for sure if your Hershey’s chocolate has spoiled and is past its prime? Here are the main signs to look for:

  • Appearance – Grayish-white discoloration, wet sheen, dark spots are indicative of bloom.
  • Texture – Grainy or crumbly texture instead of being smooth.
  • Smell – Foul, rancid odor rather than chocolatey aroma.
  • Taste – Stale, chalky, sour, or just “off” flavors.
  • Expiration date – Best by date has long passed.

Often,expired Hershey’s chocolate may be safe to eat but disappoints your taste buds. However, if mold is visible, discard immediately.

Can You Eat Hershey’s Chocolate After It Expires?

Yes, you can safely eat expired Hershey’s chocolate. However, the taste, texture, and overall quality deteriorates after the best by date has passed.

If properly stored, Hershey’s chocolate remains safe to consume several months past its expiration date, though it may bloom and become gritty or have flavor issues.

Before eating very old chocolate, inspect closely for any mold development, which would indicate a food safety risk. As long as no obvious signs of spoilage like visible mold growth or rancid smells are present, eating stale Hershey’s won’t make you sick.

However, expired Hershey’s chocolate often doesn’t provide the usual smooth, indulgent chocolate taste. Eating very old, bloomed chocolate can leave a waxy feeling in your mouth. For the best experience, try not to let your Hershey’s exceed 1-2 years past the production date.

How To Slow Down Hershey’s Chocolate Expiration

To help maximize the shelf life of Hershey’s chocolate, implement these pro tips:

  • Purchase bars with longest possible expiration dates.
  • Seal opened packages tightly in plastic bags or airtight containers.
  • Store unopened bars together in a cool, dark kitchen cabinet.
  • Keep humidity away with air conditioning and dehumidifiers.
  • When cooking, melt only the amount of chocolate needed.
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations – don’t refrigerate chocolate.

With proper storage and handling, you can keep your Hershey’s chocolate tasting fresh for as long as possible. Just be sure to pay attention to appearance, texture, aroma, and taste to catch any signs of spoilage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hershey’s chocolate ever truly expire?

While Hershey’s chocolate can technically be safely consumed past its expiration date, the quality and taste will deteriorate over time. For the best experience, it’s best to eat Hershey’s products within a year or two of the production date.

Why does unopened Hershey’s chocolate expire so quickly?

Even though it’s unopened, Hershey’s chocolate contains ingredients like dairy and cocoa butter that can degrade over time. The expiry period of around 12 months allows for transportation and storage time before the best quality is reached.

Can expired Hershey’s make you sick?

Properly stored Hershey’s chocolate that has recently expired is very unlikely to cause food poisoning or illness. However, if mold growth is visible, that is a sign of potential toxins and the chocolate should be discarded.

How long do smaller Hershey’s like Kisses last?

Due to their higher surface area, candies like Hershey’s Kisses and Nuggets generally have a shorter shelf life of around 9 months compared to a year for chocolate bars. Keep them sealed tight to prevent bloom formation.

What happens if you freeze Hershey’s chocolate?

Freezing can negatively impact chocolate’s texture, causing graininess. Chocolate is also prone to temperature shock if frozen and thawed. For best results, store Hershey’s at cool room temperatures around 65°F.

The Bottom Line

While it may seem shelf-stable, Hershey’s chocolate does have an expiration date for peak freshness. Storing bars and kisses properly unopened and then sealing opened packages extends the shelf life. Look for signs of bloom, rancid smells, or mold to determine if your Hershey’s chocolate has spoiled and needs to be discarded. With the right storage and handling, you can continue enjoying Hershey’s chocolate within a year or two of the produced by date.

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