Hershey signals commitment to low sugar confectionery with acquisition of Lily’s



Launched in 2012 by Cynthia Tice, the Boulder-based Lily’s ​brand – backed by VMG Partners – is best known for its stevia- and erythritol-sweetened chocolate bars and baking chips, but has moved into additional categories in recent years including peanut butter cups and chocolate covered nuts, caramels, and popcorn, with products in 35,000+ stores nationwide. It hasn’t disclosed revenues but said it has “experienced strong, double-digit growth year-over-year.”

While consumers sometimes say they’d rather eat a small portion of something made with ‘real’ or familiar ingredients (butter, cane sugar, whole milk) than a more ‘processed’ low calorie/sugar/fat alternative, the success of Lily’s, which replaces sugar with erythritol, inulin, dextrin, and stevia extract, suggest that many Americans are willing to forgo ‘kitchen cupboard ingredients,’ provided products deliver on taste.

And if no sugar added chocolate used to be the preserve of diabetics and dieters, the category is now attracting mainstream consumers looking to reduce their sugar consumption, said Lily’s CEO Jane Miller, a CPG veteran who joined the brand in 2018 and presided over a successful packaging revamp in 2019.

“Cynthia had the vision that consumers wanted a better-for-you option in confections and today 80% of adults want to cut back on their sugar intake. By joining the Hershey’s family of brands, Lily’s will become a platform confection brand making better-for-you options easily accessible to all consumers.”



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