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The Hershey Company ( HSY - Analyst Report) recently introduced a new line of chocolate spreads in the U.S., known as Hershey's Spreads. The spreads are available in three varieties namely chocolate, chocolate with almond and chocolate with hazelnut. These spreads can be used as a snack enhancer as they will easily complement various fruits and crackers.
The marketing campaign for the product began in fourth quarter of 2013 and will continue through 2014.
Hershey’s chocolate category gained market share in the third quarter of 2013 on the back of its core brands, supported by aggressive advertising, in-store selling, merchandising and programming. The recent addition to the product portfolio is likely to benefit the company in the upcoming quarters.
Innovation of new products and expansion of its portfolio have been a part of Hershey's strategy, which caters to consumers’ changing preference and need for new flavors. Some successful product innovations in the recent years include Reese's Minis, Hershey's Drops and Rolo Minis. Some products lined up for 2014 include York Minis and Lancaster's Soft Creams Caramel. The company has also planned some innovations for key international markets like China, Mexico and Brazil.
Hershey carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) as it has a bright outlook for the fourth quarter. Though third-quarter revenues were slightly soft, management expects sales to pick up in the fourth quarter, gaining from the peak confectionary season.
Investors interested in the food industry may consider stocks like ConAgra Foods, Inc. ( CAG - Analyst Report) , Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and The Chefs' Warehouse, Inc. ( CHEF - Snapshot Report) . All these companies carry the same Zacks Rank as Hershey.