HERSHEY, Pa. -- Innovation is the key word for The Hershey Co. this year.
In a presentation at the 2014 Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, the locally based company highlighted its plans for continued growth in North America by building on the strength of its core brands and through new product launches.
The company revealed a year of innovation building on its recent launch of Hershey's Spreads and Lancaster Soft Crèmes in the United States. Brookside, the chocolate brand that blends exotic fruit flavors from around the world, 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 January 2012, continues to post strong growth in North America, recording net sales of approximately $200 million in 2013, up 74 percent year over year. The brand is now being tested in various international markets and in the fourth quarter, Hershey will introduce Brookside Crunchy Clusters in the United States.
"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 John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO.
Along with the launch of Brookside Crunchy Clusters, Hershey also plans to introduce Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews later this year.
"Our strategies and business model are working and will support our commitment to deliver predictable and profitable growth," Bilbrey said. "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 [percent] to 7 percent are achievable. We believe in our ability to grow long-term adjusted earnings per share diluted by 9 [percent] to 11 percent, which gives us the flexibility to invest in growing our brands and capabilities."
Hershey's goal is to reach $10 billion in net sales by 2017.
The Hershey Co. is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America. 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.