Hershey has made some successful moves in the snacking category over the past five years. In 2017, the company acquired Amplify Snack Brands and its portfolio, which included SkinnyPop popcorn, Paqui tortilla chips, and Tyrrells potato chips.
In 2018, Hershey purchased Pirate’s Booty from B&G Foods. And in November 2021, the company made its second biggest purchase with the acquisition of Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels and Pretzels Inc., the fastest growing pretzel brand in the US, for $1.2bn.
“The Amplify acquisition was a major success, it’s provided a growth template for other brands. The success of SkinnyPop and Pirate’s Booty has helped identify and understand what size a brand needs to be for us to bring our capabilities of scale in the best way,” Scott told FoodNavigator-USA during the 2022 Sweets & Snacks Expo held in Chicago last week, adding that its core strength is in expanding distribution of its newly acquired brands.
“You can take a brand like SkinnyPop that was once a $10m brand and turn it into a $1bn brand because we have access to some of those large retailers, but the brand has to be able to stand on its own too.”
However, not every deal has been a slam dunk for Hershey. After acquiring KRAVE Jerky for $218m in 2015, the brand seemed to become lost in the larger corporate umbrella until it was sold back to a vehicle run by founder Jon Sebastiani in 2020.
“We’re not great at a super small new startup, we need a brand to have a little bit of traction in order to scale and for us to be able to engage with them in a way that’s really meaningful and bring our value proposition to the table,” said Scott.