Hershey unveils latest better-for-you confectionery strategy

The US-based Hershey confectionery business has unveiled major strategies for delivering new solutions in the better-for-you chocolate category, in response to growing consumer demand for healthier options, writes Neill Barston.

As the firm explained to Confectionery Production, its plans include continuing to offer portion-controlled treats in a variety of packtypes, as well as proposals to extend core ranges to offer additional choices for its international customer base that meet a need for ranges offering reduced sugar, organic or plant-based series.

The business explained it would be focusing considerable research and development into recipes capable of delivering sugar reduction in particular, as well as exploring partnerships, licensing opportunities and teaming up with other better-for-you brand partners to co-develop and launch new offerings.

As the company, which produces a wide range of brands including KitKat (under licence), noted, it has long offered a wide variety of choices for consumers to enjoy their favourite confection brands, from its beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, to miniature size offerings, thinner versions (Reese’s THiNs) or one with zero sugar, there is a treat for every occasion. 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.

“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.”

One notable example of its new strategy is a partnership with sweetener specialist ASR Group, 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,” 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.”

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