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Hershey (HSY) Introduces Sea Salt Caramel Baking Chips

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Global confectionery leader, The Hershey Company (HSY - Free Report) launched limited edition Hershey’s Kitchens Sea Salt Caramel Baking Chips to its baking line of products. Also, a number of new Hershey’s Kitchens recipes will be introduced.

The limited edition chips feature a creamy caramel mix of savory and sweet flavors with a hint of sea salt.

Since consumers are conscious about what they eat these days, Hershey has been consciously updating the packaging of its products to convey the nutritional information to customers. This will help buyers avoid ingredients that might trigger allergies.

Hershey regularly innovates to meet changing consumer preferences. Innovation contributed about 1.5 points to Hershey’s net sales increase on an annual basis over the last several years and is also expected to add 1% over the long term. Earlier this month, the company introduced the innovative Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch.

This is in line with the company’s strategy to create a unique and holistic portfolio for every season, which can meet consumers’ seasonal shopping needs. In 2016, the company has been shifting focus to snacks and has launched items like Reese’s Snack Mix and Hershey’s Snack Bites canister. The Apr 2016 acquisition of New York-based barkTHINS premium chocolate snacking brand will also build on the company’s better-for-you snacks portfolio.

Investors should keep in mind that Hershey’s second-quarter 2016 net sales of $1.64 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.7% as favorable timing of shipments boosted sales in North America. Adjusted earnings of 85 cents per share rose 9% year over year on higher volumes, lower tax rate and reduced share count.

Hershey currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the consumer staples sector include ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG - Free Report) , The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC - Free Report) and McCormick & Company, Inc. (MKC - Free Report) .

ConAgra Foods – a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock – is expected to witness an 18.2% increase in fiscal 2017 earnings.

Kraft Heinz is likely to see a 48.1% rise in fiscal 2016 earnings. The company sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

McCormick & Company carries a Zanks Rank #2. Fiscal 2016 earnings growth is projected at 8.9% for the company.

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