Snacks & Candy

Mars Raising Wholesale Prices

Following Hershey, maker of Snickers, M&Ms cites higher costs

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Mars Inc., the maker of Snickers bars and M&Ms candies, said it is raising wholesale prices more than 12% to offset the higher costs of raw materials, packaging and energy, reported the Associated Press. It is the second major candy company in the past week to announce such a move.

The statement issued last week by Mars follows a similar announcement by its larger candy rival, The Hershey Co., which cited the spiraling costs of everything from cocoa and peanuts to fuel and utilities. (Click here for CSP Daily News coverage.)

The changes represent a 12.2% value increase to Mars' entire U.S. portfolio and affect single bars as well as other package types, Mars spokesperson Bertille Glass told AP.

The privately held Mars said the majority of the price increases will take effect October 17, while it also will cut back on the volume in some of its package types. Mars also makes Dove, Milky Way, Skittles and Starburst brands.

"We have attempted to hold off on further price changes this year and only took this action after very careful consideration on the impact to our valued customers based on current market pressures," the company said.

A spokesperson for Nestle USA Inc. did not return calls from AP requesting information on its prices.

Last week, Hershey said it raised prices on its products by an average of 11%, a move that it said it expected would hurt sales volumes.

Mars has already raised prices twice this year—the combined increases in 2008 amount to a 15.5% hike, Mars said—while Hershey raised its prices once, in January, according to the report.

Prices increases have been a sensitive topic in the industry, AP added. Investigations into price-fixing allegations in the chocolate industry have been launched by the United States, Canadian and European authorities, prompting numerous civil lawsuits.

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