CHICAGO, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As the confection category leader in North America, The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) listens closely to consumer preferences and tastes, as seen in the company's new, innovative products debuting this week at the National Confectioners Association annual Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. The company's consumer-centric approach to product development continues to fuel the innovation pipeline for our brands. New products unveiled at the show include Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews, Brookside Crunchy Clusters and Reese's Spreads.
The company's knowledge driven approach and consumer insights to drive product development is evident in the innovative Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews. The new product is a first-of-its-kind mint and gum duo, providing an icy cool blast of freshness in a quickly dissolving chew. The new product is an evolution of the popular Ice Breakers brand and will be available to the public beginning September 2014. Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews matches an evolving consumer need, as traditional gum is on the decline, but the mint category is growing. "Consumers are at the center of all that we do at Hershey, and their preferences, needs and tastes drive our product innovation," said Michael Wege, Senior Vice President, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, The Hershey Company. "These new products are a direct result of a creative and innovative industry-changing pipeline that focuses on consumer trends. With more than 80 brands around the world, The Hershey Company responds to diverse consumer needs to create a robust portfolio of innovative chocolate and confection products." Also debuting at the expo are the new Brookside Crunchy Clusters, a textured twist on the beloved chocolate-covered, fruit-flavored snack. The product features clusters of crispy multigrain and soft fruit-flavored centers with sweetened cranberry bits, covered in smooth dark chocolate. This line extension builds on the success of the Brookside brand, which was the fastest growing dark chocolate brand in 2013, and will build on this momentum through the combination of innovation, expanded distribution, and continued brand support. In addition, following the success of the Hershey's Spreads launch is the addition of new Reese's Spreads. Reese's Spreads is the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter that Reese's Peanut Butter Cups fans love in spreadable form. These new offerings come on the heels of Hershey's other 2014 product developments, including Lancaster Soft Crèmes, the soft, rich and creamy caramels, and the return of the full-size Krackel Bar. The beloved candy bar available in Hershey's Miniatures Assortment bags has returned to standard size for the first time since 1997.