Hershey warns of Halloween treats shortage

By Annabelle Liang

Business reporter

Children going trick-or-treating in London.Image source, Getty Images

US chocolate manufacturer Hershey has warned of a shortage of sweets over the Halloween holiday as it struggles to ramp up supply.

On Thursday, chief executive Michele Buck said the firm “will not be able to fully meet consumer demand”.

It is the latest firm to be hit as the pandemic and the Ukraine war challenge production.

Earlier in the day, Swiss food giant Nestle said it had put up its prices again because of “unprecedented” costs.

During a call after Hershey released its latest earnings, Ms Buck said the company had found it more difficult to secure ingredients as a result of the war.

She added that disruption to Russian energy supplies to Europe – Moscow has cut gas supplies to Germany and the EU is aiming to restrict its energy imports – was affecting Germany, where Hershey sources equipment and supplies.

Because Hershey’s everyday and holiday products use the same manufacturing lines, Ms Buck said the firm made the “tough decision” focus on everyday treats.

“We had the opportunity to deliver more Halloween, but we weren’t able to supply that. And we were really producing,” she said.

The period around the Halloween holiday in October is an important one for Hershey. It accounts for around a tenth of the company’s annual sales, as adults and children stock up on KitKats, Twizzlers, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Ms Buck’s comments came after Hershey reported better-than-expected earnings on Thursday.

The firm said its net sales jumped by over 19% to $2.37bn (£1.9bn) over the three months ending 3 July, which beat market expectations.

Companies around the world are facing cost pressures.

On Thursday, Nestle said it had increased prices by 6.5% in the first half of this year.

Nestle boss Mark Schneider said price increases were made to limit “the impact of unprecedented inflationary pressures and supply chain constraints”.

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