Hershey reveals improved annual results despite pandemic

US-based Hershey has released its latest annual results that reveal net sales of $8.1 billion, up by 2% in 2020, despite the ongoing trading tests of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Neill Barston.

Michele Buck, president and CEO, hailed the figures as a coming at a time of “unexpected challenges, but also one that brought opportunity, resilience and compassion,” as the business continues to rebound from the impact of the covid crisis.

The company had enjoyed a resilient period of trading for the fourth quarter of 2020, with net sales of $2.2 billion, up 5.7% year-on-year, as the firm projected an improved picture moving into 2021.

As previously reported, Hershey has benefitted from a boom in snacks sales, particularly in the US, amid the pandemic, with the company making a number of notable launches over the past year, including KitKat Thins, a new Whatchamacallit brand line, and Valentines Day releases, which have contributed to its improved performance.

There were also key challenges, including the company being temporarily banned from its sustainability programmes in West Africa, as it was reported that the company resorted to buying cocoa supplies on the New York futures market, which impacted on the fledgling Living Income Differential scheme designed to support farmers in key producing territories of Ghana and Ivory Coast. Confectionery Production understands the issue has now been resolved with authorities in the region.

Commenting on its performance, Michele Buck added: “2020 was a year of unexpected challenges and hardship, but also one that brought opportunity, resilience and compassion. We are proud to be an important part of comfort and connection in people’s lives. Our portfolio of beloved brands remains extremely relevant with consumers, and our dedicated team, advantaged capabilities and operational excellence allowed us to help create many moments of goodness for them during these unprecedented times.

“We delivered a strong quarter with continued share gains and volume growth to finish the year. While the impact of key external factors on our business remains uncertain, we have good momentum going into 2021 with visibility into a strong start to the year. We anticipate we will deliver another year of balanced sales and earnings growth in 2021.”


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