As I wrote in an earlier blog (6/20/16), Millennials are imposing changes on the American landscape. One of those changes has to do with the way they eat. The younger generation tends to snack throughout the day rather than sit down to 3 full meals. (“Why Hershey Is Losing Its Sweet Tooth,” by Craig Giammona, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 6-12, 2016, pg. 17.) Less traditional meals mean convenient nibbles have to be charged with nutrition. High sugar content is out. Protein is in.
Hershey, the number 1 candy seller in the United States is rushing to get ahead of the trend, noting that sales of chocolate candy fell last year and continue to fall this year. What remains a winner are fancy candies with less sugar and darker chocolate content. Sadly, those Hershey kisses, so much a part of American history, may come to symbolize tears as the company pulls back on the confection and ramps up on jerky, instead. And when you think jerky, don’t imagine those plastic wrapped strips sold in gas stations. Along with premium snack bars with acai berry, trail mix and jalapeno almonds, jerky will come in varieties that include kangaroo and alligator.
Sales of dried meat snacks hit $2.8 billion last year,“a 63% gain since 2010.” The numbers are large enough to encourage Hershey to create a new line of healthy snack foods called Krave. (Ibid pg. 16.) Whole Foods Market will carry Krave and predicts its products could earn $5000 million-a-year in the near future.
Don’t expect chocolate to disappear from the Hershey catalogue anytime soon, however. Sales of chocolate still account for a quarter of Hershey’s sales. If Mars, maker of Snickers and Milky Ways, isn’t giving up on candy, neither will Hershey. E. T. needn’t worry. Reese’s pieces will be a staple for a long, long time.