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Hershey Sets Sights On Leading Better-For-You Confection

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The Hershey Co. has shared key strategies to expand and grow the better-for-you chocolate category with new and differentiated capabilities.

Hershey has long offered a wide variety of choices for consumers to enjoy their favorite confection brands, from its Reese’s Peanut Butter cups to miniature size offerings, thinner versions or with zero sugar. Now, the maker of the original, portion-controlled chocolate, Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates, is extending its confection leadership in the better-for-you category.  

Better-for-you snackers represent a variety of interests, from those seeking portion-control to plant-based ingredients. When it comes to candy, sugar reduction is a shared interest they all have in common. Building from its strength in portion-controlled choices, Hershey will expand its future portfolio to deliver more reduced sugar, organic and plant-based alternatives while also continuing to build its classic array of products. Behind this portfolio growth is a multi-pronged strategy.   

This long-term strategy includes:

  • Core brand packaging and platforms: continuing to offer portion-controlled treats in a variety of pack types;
  • Innovation: extending core brands to BFY offerings and renovating existing products to extend choices;
  • Research and development: focusing internal efforts and external investments to develop future breakthrough sugar reduction capabilities and recipes that deliver great tastes and textures while meeting the changing needs of some snackers;
  • Partnerships and licensing: teaming up with top BFY brand partners to co-develop and launch new offerings; and
  • M&A: evaluating a pipeline of acquisition opportunities to deliver incremental occasions and access for consumers that Hershey core brands don’t reach today.

“We are the leader in U.S. confection, and our consumers rely on us to understand their needs for everyday moments, seasons and special occasions, offering high-quality and great tasting candy that’s accessible for everyone,” said Kristen Riggs, chief growth officer at Hershey. “Expanding our expertise, building new capabilities and delivering more choices in better-for-you confection is the next big category opportunity for us to lead.”

As part of its BFY confection strategy, Hershey has partnered with ASR Group – one of the world’s leading sweetener companies – to co-lead an equity investment in Bonumose Inc., a start-up company with breakthrough innovations in plant-based food ingredients, including rare and natural sugars. The investment is part of Hershey’s C7 Ventures, which enables new avenues for growth through capital investments in disruptive or emerging platforms focused on new occasions, technologies and go-to-market opportunities. This investment enables a research and development partnership to advance the tastes of not only zero- and reduced-sugar chocolate, but also Hershey’s broader BFY snack offerings going forward. 

“We are setting the foundation for long-term sustainable growth in the better-for-you category at Hershey,” said Chuck Raup, Hershey U.S. president. “Everything we do is led by our consumers and our commitment to deliver only the most delicious snacks. We are driven to provide more choices to ensure they enjoy our brands and products in ways that are right for them.”

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