The Hershey Company’s C7 venture capital business is expanding into new markets, announcing minority investment into snack lines Fulfil Holdings Limited and Blue Stripes LLC. Financial details currently remain undisclosed.
The two new investments hold true to the confectionary giant’s chocolate roots while also providing the brand with a new twist on snacking and dining. Fulfil Holdings is a protein bar company based in the UK and Ireland specializing in vitamin-fortified chocolate bars. Blue Stripes LLC., founded by cocoa entrepreneur Oded Brenner, merges chocolate into the culinary arts as a restaurant dinning experience.
Both lines are an attempt for the Hershey brand to reach new market segments by experimenting with different business models to fuel the company’s growth strategy.
“Successful companies evolve and engage consumers in new and different ways,” said Mary Beth West, chief growth officer. “As we continue to expand our snacking portfolio, our innovation agenda takes a balanced approach across investing in core brands and experimenting with new business models. This includes creating new platforms through R&D, strategic acquisitions and investments in businesses that are sitting at the cross-section of new consumer snacking needs.”
The company’s expansion into Fulfil Holdings is canny as consumers grow more conscious about their sugar intake. A variety of snack companies — from Nestlé to Norti Nutirtion — have invested in innovative ways to limit sugar without tarnishing the flavor of their confectionary products. Hershey’s latest investment into Fulfil Holdings could allow the brand to expand to consumers within this market as well.
Fufil’s better-for-you snack bars contain 3 grams of sugar, whereas most chocolate bars carry a minimum of 21, In addition, each bar is packed with 20 grams of protein, in a variety of chocolate, cookie, caramel, and hazelnut flavors.
In contrast, New-York based Blue Stripes LLC. targets consumers who are specifically looking to indulge, providing customers with an in-house dinning experience that specializes in chocolate-infused cuisine. This allows Hershey’s to feature itself on a gourmet style menu, in contrast to local grocers, retailers, and convenience stores.
As innovation in the food industry sparks new trends, Hershey claims their C7 ventures allows the company to grow into emerging platforms that cover new occasions, new technologies and new go-to-market opportunities. With this business strategy in mind, it is likely Hershey will partner with additional brands in the future, but for now it’s clear the company is only investing in products that hit close to home: those featuring chocolate.