“We have an opportunity with mergers and acquisitions to go into space where our brands currently can’t travel,” she told Fortune earlier.
Buck said she envisages Hershey becoming a snacking company as opposed to a confections company in the next two to three years.
“When we look at consumers, they are now snacking more than ever before. In some occasions, they are looking for treats; in some other occasions, they look for something more nutrients-dense or perhaps better for you,” Buck said.
“So our Reese’s snacks, for example, has Reese’s but pretzels and peanuts etc. that offer more satiety and more of a ‘meal bridge’ type of snack.”
“I think one of our strengths as a company has always been our razor sharp focus on the consumer and on the customer,” she continued. “We have always exceled at having some of the best insights… that’s how you win – you must be consumer-obsessed, understanding about how the consumer lives their life, and what they are looking for.”
‘Transformative’ deal in the making?
Commenting on the potential of merging with a major player in the snacking space, Buck hinted that such opportunity is possible, even though Hershey rejected a $23bn takeover bid from rival confectionery firm, Mondelēz, in 2016.
“A transformative acquisition is about the right marriage of portfolios, expansion into new areas that are on trend with consumers,” she said. “And of course, the right price always factors into that as well, where you can really create value across two companies for consumers and into the market place.”
“We have bankers on staff, with whom we are constantly working and evaluating any number of assets that are in the marketplace,” Buck added.
“We have a team internally who is focused on analyzing companies that are in the snacking space to really help us to zero in on what might be the best for us,” she said.