Halloween candy will run short, Hershey warns

‘Capacity constraints’ will limit production of Reese’s and Kit-Kats with holiday wrappers, CEO says.

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Hershey bars in regular packaging will remain plentiful, the company said.

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Trick-or-treaters may find an American classic absent from their pumpkin pails this year. 

Hershey reported that it would not be able to meet consumer demand for Halloween. Michele Buck, CEO of the Pennsylvania-based chocolate and sweets manufacturer, said the company faced “capacity constraints” on a quarterly earnings call last week with investors. 

“Given many of our everyday and seasonal products are made on the same line, we have needed to balance production over the past several months to improve everyday on-shelf availability and build seasonal inventory at the same time,” said Buck, whose company makes Hershey chocolate bars, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit-Kat bars.

Hershey leadership told investors that the company was feeling the effects of inflation, supply chain interruptions and shifting consumer behavior, despite reporting double-digit sales growth.

Buck said Hershey prioritizes “everyday on-shelf availability” and had to make a “tough” decision in the spring, when Halloween candy production begins. 

“Consumers don’t need to worry about empty shelves. We’ll all still be able to enjoy our favorite Hershey treats this Halloween; those treats may just be dressed up in everyday packaging versus Halloween-inspired or seasonal designs,” Ashleigh Pollart, a Hershey spokesperson, said in an email.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is making certain ingredients scarce, Buck said, and European sanctions on Russian natural gas strained Hershey’s equipment suppliers in countries like Germany.

Pollart said the capacity constraints also have to do with a “tremendous increase in consumer demand the past few years.” 

But the company indicated it expected its seasonal capacity to improve in 2023. 

Read more at usatoday.com

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