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Trends & Insights

2018: Year of the Snacking Powerhouse

Todd Tillemans
President, U.S., The Hershey Company

Last week, I had the opportunity to connect one-on-one with many of our valued retail partners at Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) Mid-Winter Conference. I find these meetings energizing, insightful and foundational to the type of partnership that will get us from where we are today to where consumers and shoppers expect us to be five years from now. 

Ask anyone on the street what Hershey is, and they’ll tell you we’re a chocolate company. And, in part, that’s true—we have a long, successful history in Sweets and Refreshments, with iconic brands that generations of consumers have fallen in love with.

But it is also true that we have a substantial position in snacking, and we’re poised to achieve even more. For example, we recently welcomed into the fold Amplify Snacking Brands, with its stable of snacks like Skinny Pop popcorn, Paqui chips and Oatmega cookies. Amplify is our biggest acquisition ever, with brands that appeal to consumers’ growing preference for better-for-you snacks. These iconic brands are beloved by consumers and retailers alike. We are confident that the strength of our newly acquired brands, coupled with Hershey’s growing product portfolio outside of core confection, will enable us to capture more consumer snacking occasions.

We have also brought our latest snacking innovation, Hershey’s Gold, into the market with the biggest product launch in our company’s historyGold’s caramelized creme and combination of salty, crunchy bits of peanuts and pretzels have really resonated with consumers, who have been giving it rave reviews. Gold also plays a significant role in our official sponsorship of Team USA, helping us provide iconic cultural moments for consumers as our athletes compete for gold in PyeongChang.

Hershey’s position as a snacking leader isn’t just relegated to sales and consumer preference. We also have some of the smartest people in the industry, wired into the issues and innovations that most affect our retail partners and consumers. They provide insights on topics like e-Commercethe future of food, and the ever-evolving world of retail. Those are insights we feed into our innovation pipeline, and share with our customers, making us a valued partner, as well as a snacking leader.

In all, I am confident that we will achieve our bold vision to be an Innovative Snacking Powerhouse because, in addition to collaboration and innovation, we focus on three key ingredients to success:

  • Growth. We drive our business by understanding when, where and why people snack and how we meet these needs.
  • Transformation. We’re transforming snacks shopping to improve experience and brand loyalty.
  • Purpose. We are the original purpose-driven company, inspiring social impact and driving sustainable business growth.

Snacking leadership? We’re already there. We’re ready to take it to the next level, and we have the people, the insights, the confidence and the resolve to lead the way.