Hershey brings power candy brands into the snack space

Dive Brief:

  • Hershey is bringing power candy brands into the burgeoning snack market with Reese's and Hershey's Crunchers Candy, Reese's and Hershey's Dipped Pretzels, Hershey's and Reese's Popped Snack Mixes and more, according to a company statement
  • The company, as part of its "snackfection" initiative, is exploring ways to leverage sweet and salty flavor combinations — the No. 1 favorite snacks flavor combination among U.S. consumers. Hershey is also innovating with new smooth and crunchy texture profiles. 
  • “I’m confident we will fulfill our vision to be an innovative snacking powerhouse. Hershey continues to build an unparalleled portfolio of snacks, category solutions that are proven winners and an approach to collaboration with retailers that is second to none,” Todd Tillemans, Hershey's U.S. president, said in the statement.

Dive Insight:

As consumer eating habits change, the snack market is quickly proliferating.

The NPD Group found that while Americans are still eating three meals a day, the size of these meals are shrinking to make room for more snacking opportunities. Almost a quarter of all snack food eating (24%) now occurs during main meals, with fresh fruit and yogurt being one of the two most popular meal time snack options. 

Millennials are especially fond of snacking, and indulge in everything from meat snacks to candy to granola bars around the clock. Younger consumers are also more interested in complex flavor and texture profiles, especially sweet ad salty combinations. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are also expected to keep up their snacking habits as they age — per capita snacking at meal times is expected to rise by 12%.

Hershey has been looking to expand into the snack's category for a while now. By creating snack products centered around popular chocolate brands like Hershey's and Reese's, Hershey can ensure that its products will be eaten outside of traditional dessert and indulgence periods, driving sales. 

In a recent investor presentation, CEO Michele Buck said that despite growing demand for healthy foods, consumers are still hungry for indulgent sweet and salty snacks. Hershey has the nation's second-largest share of the snacking market at 7.5%, and Buck said she hopes M&A will help diversify the company's profile and transform it into "an innovative snacking powerhouse."

Hershey has already seen healthy growth from Krave and barkTHINS, two snack brands the company recently acquired. It will be interesting to see if the company sees similar success from its own product innovations, and whether consumers will view its new products as true snack items, rather than candy-based treats. 

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Marketing
Top image credit: Hershey