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🎅 Inflation vs. Santa Claus

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The Hustle

If you’ve ever watched your Uber driver make an impossible left (or if you’ve been that driver), unclench: Uber’s latest safety features include fewer left turns in its navigation system.

In today’s email:

  • Hershey’s: How it’s stayed on top.
  • Chart: Will inflation ruin Christmas?
  • Weekend Reads for your Sunday marshmallow IPA.
  • Around the Web: Therapeutic crying, focusing when you’re stressed, baby fennec foxes, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast for the lowdown on earnings reports (Meta, Amazon, Apple), what’s driving a surge in McDonald’s foot traffic, and Musk’s Twitter push.

The big idea
Hershey candy

Salty and sweet = Big bucks

Hershey’s been crushing it lately, and not just because it’s Halloween.

According to The Wall Street Journal, it’s thanks to two strategies adopted by Michele Buck, who became CEO in 2017:

  • The Hershey Co. doubled down on domestic sales, where it holds a 46% share of the US chocolate market, as opposed to expanding internationally.
  • It invested in what chief growth officer Kristen Riggs calls the “great synergies” of salty and sweet.

That makes sense, considering the most popular candy in the US is Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which combine sweet chocolate with salty peanut butter.

To add the salt…

… Hershey began acquiring non-candy salty snack brands, including SkinnyPop, Pirate’s Booty, and Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels.

Not every acquisition was successful — Hershey sold jerky maker Krave Pure Foods back to its owner in 2020 after buying it in 2015 — but overall, it’s been a success.

  • Hershey shares are up 33% YoY, and ~120% over the last five years.
  • North American sales now account for 92% of Hersey’s total sales, versus 88% in 2017.

The Hershey Co.…

… is no stranger to pivoting when it gets a whiff of new potential.

It was founded in Pennsylvania by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 as a subsidiary of the Lancaster Caramel Co., which he founded in 1886.

After seeing a chocolate-making machine at a world’s fair, he sold his caramel company for $1m — $30m+ today — to focus on chocolate, claiming that caramel was a fad but chocolate was “permanent.”

BTW: If you really love salty and sweet, this NYT Cooking recipe for sea salt olive oil chocolate brownies is a banger.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Who knew? Twenty-somethings are flocking to AARP after learning about the org on TikTok. AARP membership is more common among the 50+ crowd but is technically open to anyone over 13.

SNIPPETS

The US GDP grew 2.6% in Q3 following consecutive quarters of negative growth. Still, experts aren’t getting their hopes up.

Amazon announced that revenue grew 15% in Q3, falling short of expectations. Its stock fell 16% in extended trading as a result.

Apple exceeded fiscal Q4 earnings expectations, but missed expectations for iPhone and services sales. Mac sales were up 25%+.

Kraft Heinz and NotCo are partnering on NotCheese, plant-based American cheese slices rolling out in Cleveland in November and nationally next year.

UserTesting is being acquired by private equity firms Thoma Bravo and Sunstone Partners for $1.3B. They plan to combine the user research company with UserZoom.

Meta stock plunged 25% to its lowest point since 2016. The company is valued at ~$265B, down from $1T+ in 2021. (Home Depot, for reference, is worth $291B.)

Target now has 150+ Apple shop-in-shops, up from 17 in 2021. It’s adding four free months of Apple Fitness+ to its loyalty program.

An employee used The New York Post’s website and Twitter account to display offensive posts about politicians. Last month, a similar hack hit Fast Company.

YouTube, in an effort to curb misinformation, will allow licensed health care pros to be labeled as reliable.

The National Labor Relations Board accused Amazon CEO Andy Jassy of violating labor laws by stating employees would be “better off” without a union during press interviews.

Building a community is one of the best ways to scale a business. We unpack seven keys to community-based success inside Trends.

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Chart
number of gifts this year vs last
Olivia Heller

Where are the rest of the gifts?

Parents could use some extra help from Santa this year.

A recent report from Deloitte found consumers are planning to cut back on presents, which could result in some underwhelming reactions on Christmas morning.

  • The report also found consumers expect to cut back on shopping time, and the number of physical stores they plan to visit.

Despite cutting back, 74% of consumers expect to spend the same or more as they did last year, with the average expected holiday spend coming in at ~$1.4k.

And for their part, retailers don’t seem worried — 77% expect total sales to increase YoY.

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Free Resource

150+ content and copywriting templates

It’s a content creator’s world these days. You just look/like/laugh at it.

Unless you’re one of us: an original piece in the prolific creator economy. Otherwise, we solemnly salute you… with an abundance of gifts.

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Weekend Reads
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads…

… Recs to pair with your Friday matcha, Saturday protein shake, or Sunday Lucky Charms-inspired IPA.

ICYMI:

Spot the fake:

  • Disposable camera sales are nearing record highs.
  • People are suing Barilla for not making its pasta in Italy.
  • A giant Dorito is available on eBay for $3.5k. It’s marked as “used.”
AROUND THE WEB

😮 On this day: In 1965, St. Louis’ famous 630-foot-high Gateway Arch finished construction. Today, ~4m people visit annually. (BTW, check out On This Day In History, our new YouTube series that breaks down big events in business and tech history.)

🎃 That’s interesting: The seasonal $600m Spirit Halloween biz.

🧠 How to: Maintain focus when you’re overwhelmed.

😭 Huh: Why crying can be therapeutic.

🦊 Aww: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California, welcomed four adorable fennec fox kits.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “No one has tasted the whole periodic table and lived to tell the tale!”  SOURCE

  2. “No one dresses as Santa for Halloween.”  SOURCE

  3. “At some point in human history, a serial killer was killed by another serial killer.”  SOURCE

  4. “The taller the person, the more freaked out they are by people taller than them.”  SOURCE

  5. “Twix have an endoskeleton and M&M’s have an exoskeleton.”  SOURCE

 
via Reddit
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