Hershey Sets Sights On Better-for-You Confection Market

Hershey, PA — The Hershey Co. is looking to expand and grow the better-for-you chocolate sector through a plan of new and differentiated capabilities. The company states that while it has long offered a wide variety of choices for consumers it is extending its offerings in the better-for-you confections market.  

Better-for-you snackers represent a variety of interests, from those seeking portion-control to plant-based ingredients and sugar reduction, the company notes. Building from its strength in portion-controlled choices, Hershey says it will expand its future portfolio to deliver more reduced-sugar, organic and plant-based alternatives while continuing to build its classic line of products.

Behind the portfolio growth, the company says is a multi-pronged strategy that will continue to advance Hershey’s role in confection and snacking.  

The 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 better-for-you offerings and renovating existing products to extend choices
  • Research & 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, Licensing & M&A: teaming up with top better-for-you brand partners to co-develop and launch new offerings
  • M&A: evaluating a pipeline of acquisition opportunities to deliver incremental occasions and access for consumers that Hershey core brands don’t reach today

“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,” says 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 better-for-you confection strategy, Hershey has partnered with sweetener company ASR Group to co-lead an equity investment in Bonumose, Inc., a start-up with 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, the company says, enables a research and development partnership to advance the tastes of not only zero- and reduced-sugar chocolate, but also Hershey’s broader better-for-you snack offerings going forward.

“We are setting the foundation for long-term sustainable growth in the better-for-you category at Hershey,” says Hershey President, U.S. Chuck Raup. “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.”