The Hershey Company says sales and profits for the first quarter of this year fell compared to 2015 numbers as the company’s candy struggles to remain competitive in a market with an increasing focus on healthier snack options and a waning interest in sweet treats.
The company’s net sales declined 5.6 percent to $1.83 billion, while earnings dropped 6 percent to $229.8 million. John Bilbrey, chairman, president and CEO of Hershey, said the performance of holiday candy was solid, but sales of non-seasonal candy, mints and gum were below projections.
But the company is exploring new ways to increase revenue. After purchasing KRAVE Pure Foods, Inc. last year, the company will go to market with its sweet, dried meat bars in August. This week Hershey announced it acquired Ripple Brand Collective, LLC—owner of the barkTHINS snacking brand that bakes seeds, nuts and fruit into thin pieces of chocolate.
“Since its launch in 2013, barkTHINS has quickly become a favorite snack brand due to its commitment to using simple ingredients, fair trade cocoa and non-GMO certification,” Bilbrey says. “barkTHINS is a very attractive and uniquely crafted brand that essentially created the chocolate 'thins' category, a new form of chocolate snacking. We look forward to building barkTHINS by leveraging Hershey’s scale at retail.”
The barkTHINS brand is largely sold in the United States in take-home resealable packages. Annual net sales of the business in 2016 are expected to be in the $65 million to $75 million range. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.