The chocolate major catapulted into the meat snacking segment earlier this year with the acquisition of KRAVE Jerky in January, finalizing the deal very recently.
Brandy Woolford, associate manager for brand PR at Hershey, said the company was committed to the snack category and more acquisitions may be on the horizon.
“We’re making it a priority to become further engrained in the snacking business,” she said.
“…Obviously it’s through leveraging our iconic brands and bringing them options into the snack category, such as Hershey snack mix and bites, but it’s also through M&A like KRAVE Jerky where we know they’re great at what they do and have a phenomenal product.”
Asked if Hershey may buy out more snack companies, she said: “I would assume, yes.”
Innovation beyond core candy
KRAVE Jerky showcased its line for the first time under the Hershey umbrella at Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago this week.
“The integration is going very well,” said Woolford. “They know their sector extraordinarily well and they’re going to be working alongside us. We’re letting them continue to drive their business.”
Woolford said KRAVE added something different to Hershey’s snack offerings.
“Meat snacks is really a million-dollar business here in the US alone, so we know what is on-trend; we’ve done the research and we know it’s growing. And it fits very nicely with where we want to grow and where we are currently.
“It adds something great and new that we haven’t had on the meat side. We have our confection-based snacks and we’re also moving into the snack bars area with our Brookside brand but then with the meat snacks it’s growing and we believe it’s here to stay,” she said.
The Hershey Company will launch a line of Brookside fruit and nut snack bars nationally across the US in the coming months.
“As we’re looking to move along that snack continuum, we’re looking at everything from portable nutrition – things you can eat one-handed – to meat protein and understanding the spread lines. We’re really trying to understand everything that’s going on,” she said.
“We really believe in snacks. We have made it our position as a company to innovate beyond core confections in snacks and other innovative technology… Snacks absolutely are here to stay and we’re fitting them into our portfolio in the future.”