The Hershey Co. [Ranked No. 5 on the 2019 Candy Industry Top 100] is further expanding its position as a snacking category leader. The company has announced minority investments in emerging snacking businesses FULFIL Holdings Limited and Blue Stripes LLC.

FULFIL is one of the leading makers of vitamin-fortified, high-protein nutrition bars in the UK and Ireland. The partnership will create opportunities in new occasions among new consumer segments and markets.

Blue Stripes LLC was founded by Oded Brenner, a recognized innovator, cacao entrepreneur and creator of Max Brenner, a chocolate sensory immersion. The Blue Stripes Cacao Shop enables further go-to-market opportunities by offering experiential retail that combines the goodness of cocoa with a unique customer experience. 

Hershey has recently made snacking more of a priority in its business model. In late 2017, the company acquired Skinny Pop maker Amplify Snack Brands for $16 million. And in late 2018 Hershey bought Pirate’s Booty and other snack brands for $420 million.

In May, CEO Michele Buck told Candy Industry she’s “very pleased with the work our team is doing to expand our portfolio of snacks. Our brands meet the needs of the modern American snacker by addressing snacking occasions from indulgent to better-for-you.”

This week, Mary Beth West, chief growth officer for Hershey, said it’s important to evolve and engage with consumers in new and different ways.

 “As we continue to expand our snacking portfolio, our innovation agenda takes a balanced approach across investing in core brands and experimenting with new business models,” she explained. “This includes creating new platforms through R&D, strategic acquisitions and investments in businesses that are sitting at the cross section of new consumer snacking needs.”

The Hershey Co., celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019, is headquartered in Hershey, Pa. Its 80-plus brands drive more than $7.8 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, Skinny Pop and Pirate’s Booty.