Hershey Purchases Dagoba

Will bolster organic product line

HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Hershey Co., as part of its strategic focus on the high-growth premium chocolate segment, has announced that it has acquired the assets and operations of Dagoba Organic Chocolate LLC.

Based in Ashland, Ore., Dagoba is known for its natural and organic chocolate bars, hot chocolate and chocolate-covered coffee beans sold in natural foods outlets and gourmet stores.

In announcing the acquisition, Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and CEO of The Hershey Co., said, Organic chocolate products are experiencing [image-nocss] dramatic growth as consumers continue to trade up for indulgent, high-quality products. Dagoba, with its well-regarded portfolio of quality organic products, will enable Hershey to build on its leadership in the North American chocolate market by meeting emerging consumer needs and building profitable new marketplace opportunities.

Chris Baldwin, senior vice president and president, North American Commercial Group, The Hershey Co., said, Dagoba's strong presence in the natural channel is a real plus for Hershey, allowing us to expand our presence and broaden our offerings in this growing arena. In addition, Dagoba's use of only the finest organic ingredients makes it a great complement to our existing, premium portfolio of Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt products.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Dagoba, said Frederick Schilling, CEO and founder of Dagoba Organic Chocolate. Hershey's deep commitment to quality and sustainability throughout its supply chain will help Dagoba improve and expand its mission of improving cacao farmers' livelihoods and expanding organic farming methods. This partnership will enable us to continue creating the world's most exquisite chocolate and make it available to a much broader consumer base.

Hershey is a leading snack food company and the largest North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and nonchocolate confectionery products. With revenues of more than $4 billion worldwide, Hershey markets such well-known brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Kit Kat, Almond Joy, Mounds, Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers, Ice Breakers, and Mauna Loa, as well as innovative new products such as Take 5 and Hershey's Cookies.

In addition to its traditional confectionery products, Hershey offers a range of products specifically developed to address the nutritional interests of today's health-conscious consumer. These products include sugar-free Hershey's, Reese's and York candies, and PayDay Pro. It also markets Hershey's cocoa, Hershey's syrup and other branded baking ingredients, toppings and beverages. In addition, Artisan Confections Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hershey, markets such premium chocolate offerings as Scharffen Berger, known for its high-cacao dark chocolate products, and Joseph Schmidt, recognized for handcrafted chocolate gifts.