Hershey’s says chocolate and peanut butter are booming, pushing its profits past $500 million — but social distancing means people aren’t buying its gum or breath mints

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  • Hershey’s sold 15.7% more baking products such as chocolate chips and peanut butter in the three months to September 30 compared to the previous quarter, it said Friday.
  • Because of that, and because of Halloween candy sales, Hershey’s profits rose 13.9% year-on-year to $US543.3 million, it said.
  • Sales of chocolate and salty snacks rose around 10%, but demand for gum and mints plummeted thanks to social distancing.
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Hershey’s sales shot up in the three months to September 30 as more people bought candy, chocolate, and baking products during lockdown, it said Friday.

Sales of Hershey’s baking products — including peanut butter, syrup, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder — rose 15.7% across North America in the quarter, the company said.

Home baking has boomed since the start of lockdown, with coffee shops shut and people looking for more things to do at home. Hershey’s, which owns brands including Kit-Kat, Reese’s, and Hershey’s Kisses, has consequently seen sales rise.

Sales of Hershey’s salty snacks also increased, by 11.8% in the quarter, and Hershey’s chocolate sales were up nearly 10% year-on-year.

The company noted that it launched its Halloween promotions early, and that this paid off — children and parents bought more Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups online in advance of October 31.

But sales of Hershey’s refreshments, such as gum and mints, dived 19.2%, because the “functional need for breath freshening has lessened with social distancing,” the company said.

Adjusted operating profit in the quarter to September rose 13.9% year-on-year to $US543.3 million, Hershey’s said in an earnings call Friday.

But net profit for Hershey’s international division, which excludes sales from the US and Canada, fell by more than a third. Sales plunged during the pandemic, the company said, because of store closures and public transport restriction.

Falling air travel also affected these results, Hershey’s said.