Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hershey’s Innovation Strategy Accelerates the Candy Giant’s Global Growth

For almost 120 years, The Hershey Company has embodied innovation with products that have changed the confectionery industry and established the company as one of the world's leading candy makers. As part of the company's strategy to drive global growth and innovation, it is opening an Asia Innovation Center located in Shanghai, China. Hershey's new Innovation Center is a big step toward continuing to accelerate its growth momentum.

This new research and development hub will enable Hershey to launch new products customized to the tastes of consumers across Asia. The facility in Shanghai provides a strategic gateway to the larger Asia market while enabling close collaboration with local and regional China sales marketing personnel. Currently, China is Hershey's fastest growth market, moving from number seven to number three in chocolate share in only five years with chocolate share more than quadrupling by 2012.

"Our new Innovation Center in Shanghai supports our aggressive growth plans in Asia and reflects our global approach to business," said Michael Wege, senior vice president, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, The Hershey Company, in a statement. "It will enable us to translate our insights and knowledge of consumer tastes and preferences into relevant products.”

The two-floor, 22,000 square-foot facility is a significant investment in the China market and will house R&D laboratories, a plant for the chocolate and sweets & refreshment categories and a development center for emerging product offerings. In addition, it will feature a sensory area, creativity center, packaging development section and research laboratory.

The center will initially employ 12 scientists and product developers and includes office space for 32 engineers and innovation staff. Hershey will also supplement technical resources that will enable this facility to become a global innovation hub with a focus on building powerful brands across Asia and worldwide. So, emphasis will be placed on consumer research and - a process Hershey's calls “consumer-centric brand building.” Hershey can gain a holistic understanding of how the company's products play into consumer needs.

"The China team is very excited about the new Innovation Center in Shanghai," said Jane Xu, vice president and general manager of Greater China for The Hershey Company. "Our aggressive growth target in the next five years will be achieved by building our five global brands across China, along with the innovation capabilities developed at the center."
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