Hershey's, the iconic chocolate maker, is planning to branch out into the dried meat market.
As Americans are shifting towards healthier snack options, Hershey's has felt the need to adjust its offerings as well. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of chocolate items have slowed down every year since 2010.
"The category is being impacted by many of the same issues facing other food categories," said Hershey’s Chief Executive J.P. Bilbrey.
However, sales of meat snacks have increased during the same period.
"Health and wellness is like the blob," said David Garfield, food-industry consultant. "It grows and morphs its shape. More people want less processed food now, and they care about healthiness in more product categories."
In 2015, Hershey’s acquired Krave beef jerky. In August, the company will start selling Krave protein bars, which will consist of dried meat and other health-conscious ingredients, such as cranberries, quinoa, and mangoes, to make the bars more chewy and moist.
"We aren’t going out there saying it is a meat bar," said Rusti Porter, vice president of marketing for Hershey's Krave. "We’re saying it is a Krave bar. It’s not just beef jerky in a bar in your mouth."
Hershey’s is also creating a protein-centric brand called SoFit, which will consist of fruit-flavored protein smoothies in squeezable pouches, protein-coated sunflower seeds and almonds, and snack bars. Marcel Nahm, head of U.S. snacks for Hershey’s, said these new brands will help Hershey’s gain more shelf space and appeal to the changing needs of its customers.
"We’re looking at a number of different things like veggie bars and plant-based protein," Bilbrey said. "We love the confectionery category. It is the biggest piece of who we are and what we do … but we also want to participate in these new snacking occasions."