Chocolate crunch: Hershey says it won’t be able to meet Halloween demand this year

This Halloween could bring more tricks than treats, with candy maker Hershey warning Thursday that it won’t be able to meet consumer demand for the Oct. 31 holiday.

CEO Michele Buck warned of the potential shortfall on the company’s second-quarter earnings, noting that while seasonal consumer demand remains high, “we will not be able to fully meet consumer demand due to capacity constraints.”

That means Halloween favorites like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat, Mr. Goodbar and Almond Joy may not be as plentiful this Halloween as in years past.

Americans have turned to sugary treats during the pandemic, pushing candy and chocolate sales to a record $36.9 billion in 2021[ads1], according to the National Confectioners Association. As consumer demand increased, Hershey was faced with a dilemma, since its Halloween candy is made on the same equipment as its regular inventory, Buck noted.

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“[W]I have a strategy of prioritizing shelf availability on a day-to-day basis,” Buck noted on the conference call. “It was a difficult decision to balance that with the seasons, but we thought it was very important.”

Of course, people looking to dole out Halloween treats this October will have other choices in the candy aisle, with rivals like Mars (maker of M&Ms and other candies) and Ferraro (Butterfinger and Crunch bars) likely to step in to fill the sugar void .

It’s not just capacity constraints that challenge Hershey, Buck added that supply chain issues also remain an issue.

“I think overall we continue to see struggles throughout the supply chain,” she said. “[W]We are now starting to see greater concerns around ingredient scarcity needing to leverage different suppliers at higher costs and price points to ensure production.”

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