Sales of chocolate and snack brands track above 2019 levels while once-struggling nutrition bars rebound

“In the second quarter, we saw healthy one-year and two-year trends in our confection brands, driven primarily by increases in chocolate consumption. Whether it’s at-home or away-from-home, chocolate has provided consumers with comfort during stressful times and helped make time with family and friends even more special,” ​said Hershey CEO Michele Buck on the company’s Q2 2021 earnings call last week.

“NPD [Group] estimates chocolate per capita consumption increased 9% during the first year of the pandemic, and retail sales have remained elevated since that time.”

For the full year, Hershey anticipates this strong growth trend to continue with expected net sales growth in the range of 6-8%, an increase from the company’s previous forecast of 4-6%.

The increase to expected net sales growth is driven by stronger than anticipated recovery in the company’s away-from-home business, international markets, and the acquisition of no-sugar-added chocolate brand Lily’s​, which has contributed a 0.7% benefit to the company’s bottom line so far this year, said Hershey.

“Our market share remains well above pre-COVID-19 levels, with our confectionery share 135 basis points higher, and our snacking share 200 basis points higher than the same period in 2019,” ​Buck commented.  

Reese’s, a $2.5bn brand

One of Hershey’s major confectionery brands, Reese’s, saw sales grow over 10% during the latest 12 weeks compared to the same period last year. The company has been rolling out a slew of new innovation – including its limited-edition Peanut Butter Lovers cups and Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels –  and increased advertising efforts to support recent new product launches has contributed to its continued sales success, noted Buck.

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