Hershey bets on salty snacks to shake things up

When you have to buy two popcorn plants to keep up with demand, you know you’re doing something right.

We’re gonna go ahead and take a wild guess that salt is not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “The Hershey Company.”

Hershey bets on salty snacks to shake things up

And yet, the brand sprinkled more than a little into its latest annual report, with the word “salty” appearing 51 times compared to chocolate’s 52.

All these mentions, in reference to Hershey’s Salty Snacks segment, underline how seriously the company is taking its stated vision of being “a leading snacking powerhouse” and growing its share of the $36B market.

Salting away cash

Its Confectionery segment — including top-selling Reese’s — is still the company’s bread and (peanut) butter, but Hershey’s snacks division Salty Snacks now represents a $1B+ business line of its own.

The division — which includes treats like Pirate’s Booty and SkinnyPop — accounts for ~10% of the company’s sales, up from 5.4% in 2020. Leadership is hoping to take it to ~20% this decade, per Food Dive.

Much of this growth has come through snackquisitons — first of Amplify, SkinnyPop’s parent company, for $1.6B back in 2017, and second, of Dot’s Pretzels, for $1.2B in 2021.

These investments appear to be twisting into big profits, with Hershey stock up 13%+ in the past year, compared to the S&P 500’s -6%.

What’s next?

SkinnyPop has been a standout for Hershey — now nearing $550m in annual sales, up from $200m pre-acquisition.

To support this growth, earlier this week Hershey addressed the ever-relatable struggle of not having one’s own popcorn manufacturing facilities… by purchasing two of them.

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Topics: Food

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