Hershey Highlights Launches at CAGNY 2014

Touts Hershey's Spreads, Lancaster Soft Cremes, Brookside, Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews

Hershey CAGNY

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In a presentation at the 2014 Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Fla., The Hershey Co. highlighted its plans for continued growth in North America by building on the strength of its core brands. Hershey also discussed a number of successes and key initiatives in its international focus markets as the company drives towards its goal of $10 billion in net sales by 2017.

The company's progress against its consumer-driven approach to growth in North America and key international markets was part of a broader presentation by Hershey executives John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO; Humberto P. Alfonso, president of international; Michele G. Buck, president of North America; and David Tacka, CFO.

"Our consumer-centric approach, combined with a growing global demand for confections, has enabled us to engage and reach new consumers. Our global brands are resonating with loyal consumers in many new markets, and we are gaining market share. The global knowledge and insights we have of the category and consumers is embedded in all of our business decisions--innovation, global brand building as well as our go-to-market model--and is a competitive advantage in the markets where we operate," said Bilbrey.

The company also highlighted its recent launch of Hershey's Spreads and Lancaster Soft Cremes in the United States.

Also, Brookside, the chocolate brand that blends exotic fruit flavors, will join Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers as the company's sixth global brand. The Brookside brand, which Hershey acquired in Jan. 2012, continues to demonstrate strong growth in North America, the company said, recording net sales of approximately $200 million in 2013, up 74% year over year. The company is testing the brand in various international markets, and in fourth-quarter 2014, Hershey will introduce Brookside Crunchy Clusters, clusters of crispy multigrains and fruit-flavored centers covered in smooth dark chocolate, in the United States.

The company will continue charting a path of category expansion and product innovation with the introduction of Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews later this year. Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews are a quick-dissolving chew with a soft and chewy texture that provides a cool blast of freshness. This innovation offers quick refreshment for consumers who like the chewing experience of gum but want convenient and discreet breath freshening.

"Our strategies and business model are working and will support our commitment to deliver predictable and profitable growth," said Bilbrey. "The strength of our business coupled with our innovation in the marketplace gives us confidence that our long-term financial targets and our expectation of annual net sales growth of about 5% to 7% are achievable. We believe in our ability to grow long-term adjusted earnings per share-diluted by nine to 11% which gives us the flexibility to invest in growing our brands and capabilities."

During the presentation, management reaffirmed the company's full-year 2014 financial expectations for net sales, gross margin and earnings per share-diluted growth provided in its Jan. 30, 2014, earnings release.

Hershey is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery. Based in Hershey, Pa., it has operations throughout the world and approximately 14,000 employees. With revenues of more than $7.1 billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names, including Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Hershey's Bliss, Hershey's Special Dark, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers.