Hershey sales stunt? Claiming Halloween shortage, then retracting

Halloween 2020 was a downer for many kids (and adults) who look forward to dressing up in costume and stocking up on candy. The pandemic interrupted one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. Fortunately, this Halloween may be back to “normal” again.

That is until last week when Hershey CEO, Michelle Buck, warned consumers that Hershey candy may be in limited supply for Halloween.

What will trick-or-treaters do without Kit Kats, Hershey bars, Almond Joys, and Reese’s Cups? Before you panic and rush to the store to stock up, learn more about this potential chocolate shortage. 

Why Hershey can’t keep up with demand 

Sweets have been in higher demand since the pandemic. According to Fortune, chocolate and candy sales increased by 11% in 2021 over the previous year. According to The Food Institute, premium chocolate sales increased by 12.5% in 2020.

Americans enjoy a sweet treat as part of their self-care. With surging demand and supply chain issues, many manufacturers are having to make sacrifices as part of their production.

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Although demand for Hershey chocolates is high, they use the same manufacturing line for both their regular and seasonal candy lines. They can’t simply rev up production to meet demand. Hershey is adding lines to its manufacturing process, but it will take a couple of years to get them up and running. 

Should you worry about chocolate this Halloween? 

Regardless of what Hershey produces, they aren’t the only chocolate manufacturer around. Mars Wrigley, who makes M&Ms, among others, hasn’t seemed to slow down.

Ghirardelli, IMO, is a better chocolate than Hershey, and there’s been no news that their production is waning. There are plenty of other options for Halloween. 

But wait, Hershey has now retracted its earlier statement. Buck reported increases in second-quarter sales and profits. There may be some logistics issues and ingredient supply issues that are putting strains on the company, but there will be enough candy for Halloween.

Now we’re wondering if the first announcement was simply a shameful sales tactic to increase demand leading up to Halloween.

Although we may never know, it pays to look deeper when a company raises the possibility that supply may wane. It’s reminiscent of the great pumpkin shortage that wasn’t in 2021

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The supply chain crises continue, but don’t fall for the shortage hype on its face, and most certainly don’t make your business decisions based on hype – do your due diligence. 

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