Hershey is turning 125 years old in 2019, but it’s the company’s future that’s the focus of my May cover story on the company. 
I recently had the chance to visit the magical town of Hershey, Pa., where street lights are adorned with chocolate Kisses, and traffic stops can literally include waiting behind the Hershey Kissmobile
And while I was there I had the opportunity to tour both the West Hershey Plant and the newly refreshed Global Customer Insights Center. My article about the company, which will be in the May issue, offers an in-depth look at all the ways they’re changing not just Hershey but the confectionery industry as a whole. And as a leader in the space, when they tell retailers what a candy aisle should look like, retailers listen. 
These days they’re also telling retailers what an online candy product page should look like, too. 
Hershey is launching new stand-up packaging that looks good on the shelf and on your phone. They’re helping retailers understand how to get consumers to include last-minute candy bars with their store pick-up orders. And they’re offering insights into how to better design a self-check queue to encourage more add-on confections.  
Their 2019 Global Customer Insights Center even has a display related to stores that allow shoppers to purchase groceries without a cashier. 
Behold, the future is upon us. And it’s refreshing to see Hershey embrace it. 
It’s taken consumers a long time to get to a place where they want to purchase groceries online. And while Amazon has pushed that forward — most notably with its purchase of Whole Foods — food still lags behind other items. Store pick-up has acted as a necessary bridge between shopping in a store and buying online, but it still doesn’t account for the majority of shopping.
The thing is, confectionery companies cannot afford to wait for consumers — they need to get out in front of these trends. 
They need to have a model for shops without cashiers before most consumers even step inside one. They need to figure out the best practices for facial recognition before shoppers ever get scanned. And they need to make sure their candy looks good on websites before its even listed online. 
Retailers and manufacturers alike should listen to Hershey when it comes to these things because they are leading the way with their insights. Those that wait will be left behind at their peril. 

Read the full May cover story here: How the 125-year-old Hershey Company continues to innovate

And read a one-on-one with Hershey's CEO Michele Buck here: Hershey CEO Michele Buck on stand-up packaging, taking 'holistic' approach to commerce