"Reese's Peanut Butter Cups St■ with Reese's Pieces 4"

Hershey, Reese’s Take Heat for Potentially Misleading Sweepstakes Messaging

Oct. 17, 2023
A consumer advocate claims “no purchase necessary” communication is not clear to consumers until after they’ve actually purchased the Reese’s peanut butter cups.

The Hershey Co. is facing criticism from a consumer advocate and former Massachusetts assistant attorney general for possible violation of state and federal laws in conjunction with a new sweepstakes it is offering on packs of Reese’s peanut butter cups, according to an Associated Press news report.

The on-package promotion tells consumers they could win $25,000 and that details on the promotion were found inside the package, which Edgar Dworsky — who also runs a consumer advocacy web site — contests forces consumers to purchase and open the package to find out that no purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes. Sweepstakes, the news report says, are primarily governed by state laws and require the “no purchase necessary” caveat — if purchase is required, that makes the contest a “lottery,” thus subject to different rules.

Hershey said earlier this week that its web site contains full details on the sweepstakes and that some packages have QR codes with a link for consumers to get the additional details on the promotion. It also stated that in-store displays included details on how to enter the sweepstakes without making any purchase.

Dworsky claimed some candy displays in California, Virginia and Washington contained no such details. An AP reporter in Michigan also claimed that a package purchased did not have a QR code no any information on in-store signage.

Dworsky believes the products should be recalled and the packaging fixed to fall in line with a true sweepstakes and make the rules of “no purchase necessary” absolutely clear to consumers.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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