The Hershey Co. announced that work will begin on its new, 250,000-square-foot chocolate facility in Derry Township after demolition of the former Friendly’s restaurant at Route 422 and University Drive, near Hershey’s Technical Center.
Pending final planning approvals, the plant – expected to be operational in early 2024 – will support production for brands like Reese’s, Kit Kat and Hershey’s.
This is the next project in Hershey’s multi-year investment strategy, which includes expanding existing facilities and developing new capabilities to drive the production of its core brands while building the capacity for continued growth.
“Our ability to grow – today and in the future – is rooted in how fast we can make and deliver our products,” Hershey’s Will Bonifant, vice president, U.S. and Canada supply chain, said in a release. “We’ve made significant investments over the past few years with new facilities and updates to existing sites to speed production and make more of the iconic brands consumers love.”
The new facility, on 55 acres near the company’s Reese’s plant, is part of an approved $1 billion investment in the company’s supply chain network. This includes not only the new facility but the addition of 13 production lines, the upgrading of 11 existing lines in other North American facilities and the opening of its first digitally enabled fulfillment center in Lebanon County’s South Annville Township.
The expansions come at a time when consumer demand for Hershey products is at an all-time high, the release noted, highlighted by 5% compounded retail sales growth in seasonal candy sales and 15% compounded retail sales growth in snack size since 2019.
“We are committed to investing to meet the needs of our consumers in collaboration with our retail partners and suppliers,” Bonifant added. “Investing in the strengths of our core brands – made right here in our hometown – will ensure that we’re meeting those consumer needs across a wide variety of snacking occasions and will help fuel future growth.”
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer