American chocolate and snacks firm The Hershey Company announced Tuesday that it has struck a deal to acquire Lily’s, a better-for-you (BFY) confectionery brand that offers a range of low-sugar products including dark and milk chocolate style bars, baking chips, and peanut butter cups.
“Hershey’s is focused on developing a BFY confection portfolio that offers a variety of choices to meet the evolving needs of our consumers,” Chuck Raup, president, US, for Hershey’s, said in a company release. “Lily’s is a great strategic complement to our existing offerings in this growing segment of the confectionery category.”
The transaction will enable Hershey’s to propel its growth in the BFY space and work with retailers to develop new products, the company said. Lily’s was launched by Cynthia Tice in 2012 at Whole Foods Market stores across the US with four varieties of chocolate style bars. Over the years other major retailers started to carry the products, including Target stores.
“Cynthia had a vision that consumers wanted a better-for-you option in confections and today 80% of adults want to cut back on their sugar intake,” the CEO of Lily’s, Jane Miller, said in a statement. “By joining the Hershey’s family of brands, Lily’s will become a platform confection brand making BFY options easily accessible to all consumers.”
The sale is projected to close in the next several months.
Major chocolate manufacturing companies have announced plans in recent years to cut sugar in their products in response to shifting consumer preferences and lifestyles. In 2017, a group of sweets makers that included Nestle, Mars, Wrigley and Ghirardelli publicly pledged to cut the amount of sugar in their individually wrapped products in half by 2022.
Companies like Barry Callebaut and Cargill are adding reduced-sugar chocolate to their portfolio and expanding their production capabilities for the products.