Hershey Begins Its Journey to Become a 'Snacking Powerhouse'

hershey's chocolate bar

Following the release of The Hershey Co.’s fourth-quarter sales and earnings statement—in which key chocolate brands grew even as net sales declined 1.6% (full-year net sales increased 1%)—top management is looking forward to 2018. The company plans to invest aggressively its organic and new brands, the newest being those that joined the company following its acquisition of Amplify Snack Brands in December.

“In 2017, we continued to strengthen our core chocolate brands, positioned our snacks business for ongoing success and increased adjusted operating profit margin,” said Michele Buck, Hershey’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We continue to drive strong growth in our core chocolate brands as Reese’s, Hershey’s, Kit Kat and Kisses combined retail takeaway was solid, up 2% in the fourth quarter and 5% for the full year.”

Buck said the organization is optimistic about the acquisition of Amplify “as we now have a meaningful presence, with the addition of the SkinnyPop brand, in the fast-growing warehouse salty-snack aisle.”

Hershey intends to bring scale and category-management capabilities to this subsegment to capture more consumer snacking occasions with a broader portfolio of brands. In addition to these, other confectionery and warehouse-based snacks include Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bar and Hershey’s and Reese’s Popped Snack Mix and Dipped Pretzels, which continue to perform well in the marketplace, the company said.

Click through to see what’s on tap in 2018 for Hershey’s new and existing bands.

skinny pop

Hershey grew its share in all core chocolate brands in 2017, and it built on its portfolio with the acquisition of Amplify Snacks. With the acquisition finalized, Buck said, “Amplify is a step in our journey to become an innovative snacking powerhouse.” Along with Paqui and Oatmega, one of Amplify’s high-flying brands is SkinnyPop, available in five iterations: Popped Popcorn, Popcorn Puffs, Popcorn Cakes, Popcorn Mini Cakes and Microwave Popcorn.

reeses outrageous

Hershey is anxious to grow Reese’s, one of the company's biggest brands. The next innovation for the brand is Reese’s Outrageous Bars, which contain caramel and Reese’s Pieces candy surrounding peanut butter and covered in milk chocolate. The product will debut in May.

reeses appreciation bars

The company also recently rolled out Reese’s packaging embossed with messages expressing thanks and appreciation. The Appreciation Bars come with assorted messages such as “Thank You!” and “You’re Awesome!” Greeting Card Bars allow people to include a written message or a gift card.

hershey's gold

A new Hershey’s Gold take-home package will launch in the second quarter of 2018. Hershey plans to dispense 10,000 coupons for free Hershey’s Gold bars every time the U.S. Olympic team wins a gold medal during the Winter Games. Whenever an Olympian wins a gold medal, Hershey will include a link on its social-media posts to give the first 10,000 responders a coupon for a free Hershey’s Gold bar.

hershey's milk chocolate mini

Playing in the snacking arena will continue to be a prime Hershey’s focus, led by Reese’s Popped Snack Mix and Hershey’s Sweet and Salty Mix with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar Minis, Pretzels and Almonds.

twizzlers mound almond joy

Hershey is investing more extensively in its higher-profit brands. “We think we have tremendous opportunity for select variety brands like Twizzler, Almond Joy and Mounds, where we have a unique product in the marketplace,” Buck said.

Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate Valentine Gift Cube

Hershey’s introduced an array of new offerings for Valentine’s Day 2018, including Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate Valentine Gift Cube, Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses Cube Valentine Gift Tower, Hershey Valentine Gift Cubes and Hershey’s Nuggets Milk Chocolate with Almonds Heart Box.