Hershey set to unveil an enhanced product portfolio at Sweets and Snacks Expo

Hershey is set to showcase an expanded array of products at this week’s Sweets and Snacks Expo in Indianapolis, US, including its Reese’s and KitKat branded ranges, reports Neill Barston.

As the company explained to Confectionery Production, it will offer a variety of insights and industry-leading capabilities that help retail partners unlock growth, during the event, which opens today, running until this Friday.

Visitors to the company’s booth (#11802) will have the chance to sample new products, as well as hear directly from Hershey experts about how deeply understanding consumers is the key to capturing growth in a dynamic retail environment. You can catch Confectionery Production’s exclusive preview video for the event here.

The company reported a notably upturn in sales of its ranges amid the pandemic, and confirmed it will  continue to push into new areas of snacking to meet changing consumer interests in all-day snacking occasions and better-for-you options.

Among the innovations on display at the Sweets & Snacks Expo are: KitKat Thins, which are more than 30% thinner than the standard bars, Reese’s Snack Cakes, Reese’s Stuffed with Pretzels, as well as well as the firm’s better-for-you line and rebrand of its zero sugar product offerings. In addition, the company will also showcase its organic Hershey’s Bars and Organic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the renowned  Whozeewhatzit – releasing its first bar in the past decade.

As Hershey noted, digital commerce, multiple fulfilment and checkout options in-store are giving shoppers more options than ever before. These options, combined with heightened expectations for safety and convenience –accelerated by the pandemic – are forcing retailers to adapt faster than ever.

“What we found, even before the pandemic, was that shoppers expect a connected experience, no matter where they are purchasing their items,” said Dave Nolen, Vice President of Category Management and Shopper Insights, The Hershey Company. “Even as mission-driven trips and click-and-collect orders are increasing, we’re finding that 55-70% of shoppers purchase additional items, beyond their in-store pickup order. Whether people are shopping online or in-store, there’s a strong opportunity to get them to consider purchasing something that wasn’t on their initial shopping list.”

While retailers are addressing the needs for convenience and efficiency with reimagined front ends, Hershey sees continued growth opportunity for retailers in front-end redesign that include evolving pay points, queueing strategies and cashier-less checkout. Changes in these areas are important to meeting consumer expectations, while also helping create engagement and drive bigger baskets.

Research from Hershey, which will be officially released later this summer, found that three out of four consumers shop both online and offline, with one in three in-store purchases originating from something the shopper found online. Furthermore, one in four online purchases originate from an in-store visit.

“While the pandemic has certainly placed more emphasis on online shopping during the past year, it has also reinvigorated people’s excitement about purchasing items in-store,” said Nolen. “Although online shopping will continue to be a top way people shop moving forward and stores will continue to offer curbside orders, connected, consumer-facing platforms in-store and online are the experiential game changer.”

During the Sweets & Snacks Expo, Hershey will also have two Category Management experts speaking to front end opportunities and the connected experience between the physical and digital shelf. Gina Peterson, Director, ReSET, will be discussing “The Future of Paypoints” in the Destination Retail Theater on Wednesday, June 23 at 11:45 a.m., and Thursday, June 24 at 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. She will offer an inside look at how COVID-19 and changing consumer expectations are shaping front-end redesign.

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