The Hershey Company will expand its presence in the "better-for-you" chocolate segment.
Building on its success of portion-controlled selections, the company plans to broaden its portfolio to offer more reduced sugar, organic and plant-based alternatives.
The "better-for-you" line launches products featuring reduced sugar, portion-controlled packages and plant-based ingredients that cater to all chocolate lovers.
Hershey has collaborated with American Sugar Refining, Inc., a West Palm Beach, Florida-based sugar refiner, to jointly invest in Bonumose, Inc.
Bonucomose is a startup focusing on plant-based ingredients, including rare and natural sugars. The investment, which is part of Hershey's C7 Ventures, will underpin a research and development alliance to advance the flavors of Hershey's zero- and reduced-sugar chocolate, along with its wider, better-for-you snack options.
"We are the leader in U.S. confection, and our consumers rely on us to understand their needs for the everyday moments, seasons and special occasions, offering high quality and great tasting candy that's accessible for everyone," Hershey's chief growth officer Kristen Riggs told The Beet. "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."
With the addition of KitKat Thins, the company will extend its Thins platform in February and seek new possibilities for offering portion-controlled treats across a range of pack types across its core brands. It will also introduce more reduced sugar products to its recently introduced sugar-free platform.
In addition, Hershey will also be releasing its organic range this year, starting with four products: Hershey's, Hershey's Special Dark, Reese's and Reese's Dark. New plant-based products are also in the pipeline, beginning with the vegan KitKat.
Currently, none of Hershey's popular candies and chocolates are vegan-friendly and all contain dairy, except for Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, which is dairy-free. We can hope that this recent trend for plant-based items will provide animal product-free alternatives for vegan eaters.
The public can look forward to a line of healthier products carried out globally in the near future, as Hershey is aggressively pursuing international alliances and licensing deals with better-for-you brands to co-develop and release new food products.