Hershey tracked Covid tendencies after seeing s’mores demand rise as instances grew, CEO says
Hershey sees strong demand for chocolates and seasonal sweets as people are locked in their homes looking for every small occasion to celebrate.
“Throughout the year, the season was a major driver as consumers really wanted the comfort and normalcy associated with seasonal traditions and rituals at a time when Covid was uprooting their lives,” said Michele Buck, CEO of Hershey, in an interview with Sara from CNBC on Thursday, ironed about “Closing Bell.”
A notable example was a trend Hershey spotted when coronavirus cases increased across the country, demand for s’mores ingredients increased. Families no doubt sought fun by setting up barbecues in their backyards and roasting S’Mores over the fire. According to Hershey, chocolate sales were 40% to 50% higher in areas with increased numbers of Covid-19 cases than in areas with lower cases.
“Over the past year we have found that wherever the number of Covid cases has increased, there has been higher sales of s’mores ingredients. We were then able to use the case number as a harbinger of where we were doing some of that effort should focus and build shows and places media in these markets, “said Buck.
Retailers are also familiar with the trends and stocked up on Valentine’s Day and Easter candy sooner than ever to ensure they have plenty of choice.
Hershey stock closed Thursday less than 1% at $ 147.22 after sales rose 5.7% to $ 2.19 billion in the fourth quarter. Net income increased 41% to $ 291.4 million. Excluding items, Hershey earned $ 1.49 per share, beating analysts’ estimates.