| Welcome to Global Village Space

Friday, April 12, 2024

Chocolate Giants Navigate Price Hikes Amid Surging Cocoa Costs

Hershey and Cadbury makers plan price hikes to offset soaring cocoa prices, as consumer demand softens due to inflation impact.

The makers of Hershey , opens new tab and Cadbury chocolates are planning more price hikes to cover a fresh record-setting surge in cocoa prices, even as inflation-hit consumers curb their purchases and company profits face a hit.

Cocoa prices have roughly doubled over the past year, hitting a series of record highs in recent weeks due to shrinking supplies.

Chocolate makers had been passing the rising costs on to consumers without losing much demand.

But shoppers are cutting back to a greater degree than they did last year, Hershey and Cadbury maker Mondelez, opens new tab disclosed in recent quarterly earnings calls, hurting their outlooks for sales.

Hershey CEO Michele Buck said last week that “given where cocoa prices are, we will be using every tool in our toolbox, including pricing, as a way to manage the business.”

Consumers bought fewer Kisses and Reese’s cups last year, with Hershey’s sales volumes down 6.6% in the quarter ended Dec. 31, a trend executives forecast will continue this year. The company is cutting jobs to try to control its costs.

Read More: Will State Dept Take a Bold Stand on Rigging in Pak Elections

A 10.8 ounce (306 grams) bag of Kisses sells for $4.84 at Walmart.com. Hershey executives said last week that its latest price hike went into effect this month. Buck said on the call that Hershey’s will be leaning on new products, like its Reese’s Caramel Big Cup, to stoke consumer demand.

Mondelez, which makes Milka and Cadbury chocolates, is also planning price hikes to cover the inflation in cocoa, executives said in an earnings call on Jan. 30. Retailers in Europe may push back against the hikes, leading to lower sales in the region, Mondelez executives said.

Prices of Mondelez chocolate in Europe, its biggest market, rose 12% to 15% last year, CEO Dirk Van de Put said last month in a call with Wall Street analysts.

Michelle Li, an analyst with Parnassus Investments, which holds Mondelez shares, said in an email she thinks the company should be “strategic about passing the price increase to consumers this year.”

The company revamped its upscale Toblerone brand last year, launching Tiny Toblerone mini chocolate bars in some U.S. retailers and Toblerone Truffles in Europe. A 7.61-ounce package of Tiny Toblerone sells for $6.58 on Walmart.com. A 3.52 ounce Toblerone bar costs $2.84 on Walmart.com.