Sweets & Snacks Expo 2023

Hershey gears up for the summer season with a raft of new launches at Sweets & Snacks

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hershey Chocolate Confectionery Sweets & Snacks Expo

Hershey continues to innovate its popular Kit Kat brand by unleashing a limited edition churro flavour at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, just in time for summer.

Visitors to this year’s trade show in Chicago were given a special preview of the bar, which is described as ‘a delightful homage to the beloved dessert that brings back memories of summer no matter where you are in the world’.

An American staple during the summer months the freshly baked, sweet, doughy treat, has been incorporated into the familiar crunch of the Kit Kat bar and features a buttery churro-flavoured creme with sugar mixed between the brand's fan-favourite wafers.

The new bar will be on shelves nationwide just in time for National Churro Day on 6 June and joins the impressive list of previous limited-edition, seasonal, and permanent Kit Kat flavours, including Fruity Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Birthday Cake, and Lemon Crisp.

The company is continuing to expand its BFY (better-for-you) offerings with new snacks featured at its booth including Honest Organic Gummies, made with organic fruit juice and natural flavours, Lily’s Watermelon Slices and Lily’s Peach Rings.

Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt and Reese’s​ Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups also tick the vegan trend featured at this year’s Expo.

Allison Mason, Hershey’s Associate Manager, Corporate Communications, said the company has been building “a snacking powerhouse​” of brands to keep up with consumer trends while also expanding its salty division.

As an example of the mash-up of flavours trending at the Expo, Mason revealed Reese’s Popcorn – Fluffy popcorn drizzled with smooth peanut butter and indulgent chocolate creating the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

This is a great example of us blending our sweet and salty power together, to create a new product​,” she said.

Regarding the economy, Mason said inflation is a macro trend we are all experiencing, “but fortunately for Hershey, we have been inflationary-resistant when it comes to the consumer … what we are finding is that they are focusing on candy and snacks as an affordable indulgence and our portfolio continues to have a strong presence​. We are also  working with retailers on promotions and bundles that emphasize value.”

Mason also threw light on how the shopper’s journey has evolved post-pandemic and said company insights show that more shoppers now favour self-checkout over assisted checkout and that almost half of grocery shoppers make purchases both online and in-store.

She said in-store more consumers are opting to use self-checkout, in some stores more often than assisted lanes.

Adding queuing and merchandising around self-checkouts will drive more unplanned purchases in that space​,” she said.

Capturing unplanned purchases during the online shopping experience can be challenging for retailers when consumers primarily find products through a site’s search function. Hershey helps retailers solve this issue and drive growth through unplanned purchases online by utilizing homepage placement, cross-merchandising and post-checkout reminders.

‘Second basket’

The online purchasing trend has continued post-pandemic and Mason said Hershey has also uncovered insights around the ‘second basket’. This occurs when shoppers travel to a store to pick up their online or ‘click-and-collect’ grocery order and then purchase more items in-store.

According to Hershey, this behavior has been increasing since the start of the pandemic and is likely to maintain or increase in the future.

Mason said nearly 70% of second-basket transactions occur through self-checkout  and explained that the ‘second basket’ is part of the same shopping experience.

Hershey’s insights found that 10% to 20% of click-and-collect trips include a second basket with an average purchase of $38, with snacks and candy among the top five second-basket additions.

While consumers are shopping on tighter budgets, candy and snacks remain an affordable way to fulfill emotional wellness and create connections with family and friends​,” said Marlene Creighton, Chief Sales Officer, The Hershey Company.

Hershey continues to broaden its portfolio across chocolate, sweets, salty and protein snacks to meet consumers for more occasions. Together, with our retail partners, we are accelerating shared growth through leading category insights, strategies and execution to improve shopper experience​.”

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