The company also raised its guidance for the full year, announced in its First-Quarter 2021 Financial Results now that consumer restrictions are coming to an end.
Hershey reported net income of $395.8m, or $1.90 a share, in the quarter, up from $271.1m, or $1.29 a share, in the year-earlier period.
Adjusted per-share earnings came to $1.92, ahead of $1.80 market expectations.
The company reported that its sales rose 12.7% to $2.296bn, also ahead of the $2.111bn expectations.
"As COVID-19 vaccines roll out across the globe, consumers are optimistic about the future and looking forward to spending more time with their family, friends and community," said Chief Executive Michele Buck in a statement.
"We are off to an outstanding start in 2021, with broad-based growth across the portfolio leading to double digit sales and earnings growth in the first quarter and an increased outlook for the full year," she said.
The company is now raising its guidance for 2021 and expects sales to grow 4% to 6%, up from earlier guidance of up 2% to 4%.
Hershey First-Quarter 2021 Financial Results Summary:
- Consolidated net sales of $2,295.9 million, an increase of 12.7%.
- Organic, constant currency net sales increased 12.9%.
- Divestitures and foreign currency exchange each had a 0.1 point negative impact on net sales.2
- Reported net income of $395.8 million, or $1.90 per share-diluted, an increase of 47.3%.
- Adjusted earnings per share-diluted of $1.92, an increase of 17.8%.