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Hershey Takes on Nutella With New Spreads

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Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 5:24 AM

click to enlarge Hershey's new spreads - THE HERSHEY CO.
  • The Hershey Co.
  • Hershey's new spreads
Oh no they dinut.

The Hershey Co. announced Wednesday that it's introducing a line of chocolate spreads, including a hazelnut variety.

Could it have anything to do with the fact that sales of Nutella have tripled in the U.S. over the last five years, to $240.4 million? Nah.

Hershey's is a little late to this copycat party. In 2012, J.M. Smucker Co. came out with Jif hazelnut spreads. But, that's a little bit déclassé in the hazelnut spread oeuvre.

Hershey said in a statement that its new spreads, which also come in a chocolate-almond variety, are "snack enhancers" for items such as graham crackers, strawberries, pineapple and even pickles.

Hershey spokeswoman Anna Lingeris said the chocolate-maker will feature the "endless possibilities" for its spreads in national TV ads set to start airing next Monday.

"People are seeing the permission to try it on carrots and try it on celery," she said. By "people," does she mean stoners or your demented aunt?

Nutella aficionados tend to eat the spread on bread. Advanced consumers prefer it on their finger straight from the jar. Hershey's website shows a jar of its nutty new spread amid apples, strawberries, pretzels, toast and celery.

The Hershey spreads soft-launched in early December, but  national marketing is just starting now.

Like Nutella, which is made by the Italian company Ferrero, the Hershey spreads have chocolate flavor, but aren't primarily chocolate. Nutella's ingredients, for example, include sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa and skim milk.

Two tablespoons of both the Nutella and Hershey varieties contain about 200 calories, 12 grams of fat and 20 grams of sugar.

Meanwhile, Hershey is happy to be part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a collation of 16 major food makers that has said it will work to reduce obesity.

Maybe just not right now.


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