USA – American multinational confectionery company Hershey broke ground on a new manufacturing plant near its headquarters in Pennsylvania in an effort to secure its supply chain and fuel future growth.

Investment in the 250,000-sq-ft facility to be erected on a 55-acre site near Hershey’s Reese’s manufacturing facility is part of an ongoing US$1 billion investment to improve efficiency and expand the company’s production capabilities.

Hershey is also investing in 13 new production lines and upgrades to 11 lines currently in place across its network.

“Our ability to grow, today and in the future, is rooted in how fast we can make and deliver our products,” said Will Bonifant, vice president of US and Canada supply chain for Hershey.

 “We’ve made significant investments over the past few years with new facilities and updates to existing sites to speed production and make more of the iconic brands consumers love.”

The company said it has launched the project in response to an uptick in demand for its products with seasonal candy sales and snack sales growing at 5% and 19% respectively since 2019.

A forthcoming line expansion at the West Hershey plant is planned to help meet the increased demand for seasonal snack-size packages.

The company appears to be well-positioned with revenue rising by 16.1% in the first quarter of this year due to demand for chocolates and candies and last year’s sales amounting to US$8,971.3 million, an increase of 10.1%

“We delivered strong double-digit sales and earnings growth with ongoing momentum across business units,” said Michele Buck, Hershey’s president and CEO, earlier this year.

“Our fast start, sustained consumer relevancy and increased visibility into our recently acquired businesses give us the confidence to increase our full-year net sales and earnings outlook despite an increasingly challenging and inflationary environment.”

Earlier, Hershey was part of a series D funding in female-founded Quinn Snacks which will be used to expand the natural snack producer’s footprint and innovate new products.

The investment from The Hershey Company – along with other investors – comes as venture funding for female founders experienced its lowest quarterly total in three years, according to Pitchbook Data.

 Women-led companies receive only 2.2% of all venture capital and only 7% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.

Beyond investments, Hershey has announced its holiday lineup for winter 2022 with classic festive favorites including Grinch-themed Hershey’s KISSES and Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees returning once again, and brand-new treats such as Hershey’s Hot Chocolate Bombs.

The company said that its first-ever Hot Chocolate Bombs, available with marshmallows or cinnamon chips, are the perfect cozy companion to sip on as you wrap holiday gifts and ‘a great stocking stuffer to boot,’.

It further noted that the Hershey’s new Milk Chocolate Holiday Bars are all dressed up for the season from the inside out, with 24 varieties of seasonal imprinted images such as stars, wreaths, trees, stockings, and more.

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