The US chocolate maker announced its five-year investment plan in November last year during a World Food conference.
The products are now available in three varieties: Milk Chocolate, Almonds and Cookies ‘n’ Crème that contains white chocolate and cookie bites – all made in Gujrat, India’s western state.
Michele Buck, president and CEO of Hershey, said in a statement: “The Hershey Company has a rich chocolate heritage and we have built our expertise over the past 125 years.
“Hershey’s Kisses is one of our most iconic chocolate treats and a symbol of how our company has spread its goodness around the world.”
According to Hershey, the Kisses Milk Chocolate will retail for Rs 50 for the small pack of 36g, and the larger, take-home pack will be priced at Rs 140 for 108g.
During the first phase of this launch, Hershey’s Kisses will be sold only in South India via modern trade, large general trade and e-commerce.
Hershey noted the Kisses range in India is ‘the result of intensive R&D and consumer testing to develop the right taste profile for discerning Indian consumers who seek premium chocolate.’
India is important to Hershey’s international segment
Steven Schiller, president of Hershey’s international unit, said: “There is a lot of potential for the Hershey Company in India.
“This market is an important part of our international growth model. The Hershey’s brand has been leading our India growth and Hershey’s Kisses is a wonderful way to continue that growth by tapping into the growing chocolate segment.”
According to Hershey’s Q2 earnings this year, its core brands in India, including Hershey’s, Sofit, Jolly Rancher and Brookside, grew over 50% in sales as the company remains committed to its ‘strategy of evolving to a higher-margin portfolio.’
Hershey India first entered the chocolate segment two years ago by launching Brookside, according to the company’s spokesperson Jeff Beckman, and Kisses range will continue to build on the company’s chocolate credentials in the country.
“We’ve spent a number of years focusing on building the Hershey’s brand in India with products in the chocolate space like syrups, cocoa powder, Hershey’s spread and Hershey’s Milk Shakes,” said Beckman.
“We also had to build the manufacturing and supply chain capabilities to deliver a product like Hershey’s Kisses to meet consumers’ needs and deliver our high quality standards. This included building the in-market production capabilities and the cold-chain distribution capabilities.”
He added Hershey’s Syrup is a “clear market leader” in India’s chocolate syrup category, and it is “a leading player” in the cocoa powder category. The company is also the second largest chocolate spreads brand in the country.