Hershey Inks Acquisition Deal to Further Its Better-for-You Snacking Strategy

The supplier entered into a purchase agreement with Lily's, maker of low-sugar products.

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Hershey Co. is expanding on its commitment to better-for-you (BFY) snacking by entering into a definitive agreement to acquire Lily's.

Based in Boulder, Colo., Lily's low-sugar products include dark and milk chocolate style bars, baking chips, peanut butter cups and other confection products that fit Hershey's multi-pronged BFY snacking strategy. 

"Hershey is focused on developing a BFY confection portfolio that offers a variety of choices to meet the evolving needs of our consumers. Lily's is a great strategic complement to our existing offerings in this growing segment of the confection category," said The Hershey Co. President, U.S. Chuck Raup.


Lily's traces its roots to co-founder Cynthia Tice's decision to raise awareness about BFY foods by opening Center Foods, a natural foods store, in Philadelphia in 1978. In 2012, she launched four Lily's chocolate style bars nationally in Whole Foods Market.

Today, the line has expanded to include bars, baking chips and other confections that are available nationwide. The brand's mission is to offer consumers a range of great-tasting, low-sugar treats.

"Cynthia had the vision that consumers wanted a better-for-you option in confections and today 80 percent of adults want to cut back on their sugar intake," said Lily's CEO Jane Miller. "By joining the Hershey's family of brands, Lily's will become a platform confection brand making BFY options easily accessible to all consumers."

Financed with cash on hand as well as short-term borrowings, the acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the next few months. Lily's acquisition is expected to be slightly accretive to earnings in the first full year post closing, according to Hershey.

Pennsylvania-based The Hershey Co. has more than 90 brands globally that drive more than $8 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey's, Reese's, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, SkinnyPop and Pirate's Booty.