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Company > Hershey: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Hershey: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jun 13, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model of Hershey, one of the most renowned chocolate manufacturers in the world. We will explore the key elements that drive Hershey's success and distinguish it from its competitors. Additionally, a SWOT analysis will be conducted to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the company faces. By examining Hershey's business model and analyzing its competitive landscape, we aim to gain insights into its strategies and prospects for the year 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Hershey: Discover the ownership structure and key stakeholders of the Hershey company.
    • Hershey's mission statement: Understand the core values and purpose that drive Hershey's business operations.
    • How Hershey makes money: Learn about the various revenue streams and business strategies employed by Hershey to generate profits.
    • Hershey's Business Model Canvas explained: Gain insights into the key components and interconnections of Hershey's business model.
    • Competitors of Hershey: Explore the major companies that compete with Hershey in the confectionery industry.
    • Hershey SWOT analysis: Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing Hershey, providing a comprehensive assessment of its position in the market.

    Who owns Hershey?


    Hershey, the iconic American chocolate company, has a complex ownership structure that involves both public shareholders and a charitable trust. This unique arrangement ensures that the company remains independent and true to its founding principles while also allowing for growth and expansion in the global market.

    Milton Hershey Trust Company

    At the heart of Hershey's ownership structure is the Milton Hershey Trust Company (MHTC), a charitable trust established by Milton S. Hershey, the company's founder, and his wife Catherine. The trust's primary mission is to provide funding for the Milton Hershey School, a prestigious boarding school for underprivileged children.

    The MHTC plays a crucial role in Hershey's ownership as it holds a significant portion of the company's voting stock. This arrangement, in which the trust controls a majority of the voting power, ensures that the company's decision-making process aligns with its philanthropic objectives. The trust's control over the company's voting stock allows it to elect a majority of the board of directors, shaping the company's long-term strategy and ensuring its commitment to the Milton Hershey School.

    Public Shareholders

    While the Milton Hershey Trust Company controls the majority of the voting stock, Hershey is still a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HSY. This means that individual and institutional investors can buy and sell shares of Hershey on the stock market.

    Public shareholders, including mutual funds, pension funds, and individual investors, own a substantial portion of Hershey's common stock. Although they have limited voting power compared to the MHTC, public shareholders play a vital role in providing capital and liquidity to the company. Their investments help fund Hershey's operations, research and development, and expansion into new markets.

    The Hershey Company Foundation

    Another noteworthy aspect of Hershey's ownership structure is the Hershey Company Foundation, a philanthropic organization established by the company. The foundation's primary focus is to support initiatives related to education, community development, and children's welfare.

    While the foundation is not directly involved in the ownership and control of Hershey, it reflects the company's commitment to social responsibility and community engagement. The foundation receives financial support from Hershey's profits and provides grants to various organizations and programs that align with its mission.


    Hershey's ownership structure is a delicate balance between the Milton Hershey Trust Company, public shareholders, and the Hershey Company Foundation. This unique arrangement ensures that the company remains true to its philanthropic roots while also allowing for growth and profitability in the highly competitive chocolate industry. By combining the interests of stakeholders, Hershey continues to thrive as a global leader in the confectionery market while upholding the legacy of its founder's charitable vision.

    What is the mission statement of Hershey?

    The Mission Statement of Hershey: Spreading Happiness and Sweetening Lives

    Hershey, one of the most iconic and beloved chocolate companies in the world, is guided by a mission statement that encompasses their commitment to spreading happiness and sweetening lives. The company's mission statement reflects their dedication to creating delicious, high-quality chocolate products that bring joy to people's lives.

    Hershey's mission statement is centered around three key principles:

    1. Bringing goodness to the world: Hershey aims to make a positive impact on society by delivering goodness through their chocolate products, philanthropic efforts, and environmental sustainability initiatives. Their goal is not only to create delicious treats but also to contribute to the well-being of the communities they serve.

    2. Delighting consumers: Hershey's mission is to create exceptional chocolate experiences that bring happiness to consumers. They strive to exceed expectations by consistently delivering high-quality, innovative, and indulgent products that satisfy people's sweet tooth and provide moments of joy.

    3. Inspiring to make a difference: Hershey seeks to inspire individuals to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. Through their corporate social responsibility programs, they encourage people to take action and contribute to the betterment of society. Hershey believes that by setting an example and inspiring others, they can truly make a positive and lasting impact.

    Hershey's mission statement serves as a guiding principle for their business operations, decision-making, and strategic planning. It encapsulates their commitment to not only being a successful chocolate company but also a responsible corporate citizen that creates value for both consumers and society as a whole.

    In conclusion, Hershey's mission statement reflects their dedication to spreading happiness and sweetening lives. By bringing goodness to the world, delighting consumers, and inspiring others to make a difference, Hershey strives to create a positive impact on society while delivering exceptional chocolate experiences.

    How does Hershey make money?

    Chocolate products

    Hershey is primarily known for its wide range of chocolate products, which serve as the main source of its revenue. From iconic chocolate bars like Hershey's Milk Chocolate and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to popular chocolate treats like Kit Kat, Twizzlers, and Kisses, Hershey has mastered the art of creating delicious and widely recognized chocolate products. The company generates substantial income by manufacturing and selling these chocolate items through various channels, including retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and online platforms.

    International sales

    In addition to its domestic market, Hershey also generates a significant portion of its revenue from international sales. The company has strategically expanded its global presence by establishing manufacturing facilities and distribution networks in various countries. Hershey's chocolate products have gained popularity worldwide, allowing the company to tap into the growing demand for chocolates in different markets. By adapting their products to local tastes and preferences, Hershey successfully caters to diverse consumer segments, contributing to its financial success.

    Licensing and partnerships

    Hershey has also capitalized on licensing agreements and partnerships to generate additional revenue streams. The company collaborates with various brands and entities to create co-branded products, limited-edition releases, and promotional campaigns. These partnerships enable Hershey to leverage the popularity of other well-known brands and characters, expanding its customer base and boosting sales. Examples of successful collaborations include Hershey's partnerships with iconic brands like Reese's Pieces, Jolly Rancher, and Ice Breakers, as well as licensed products featuring characters from popular franchises like Marvel and Star Wars.

    Retail operations

    Hershey operates its own retail stores and outlets, contributing to its revenue generation. These stores, commonly known as Hershey's Chocolate World, offer a unique and immersive experience for chocolate enthusiasts. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, participate in chocolate-making demonstrations, and purchase a variety of Hershey's products that are often exclusive to these stores. The direct retail operations not only provide an additional revenue stream but also serve as an effective marketing tool, promoting the Hershey brand and fostering customer loyalty.

    Non-chocolate products

    While chocolate remains the core focus of Hershey, the company has diversified its product portfolio to include non-chocolate items, contributing to its revenue diversification. Hershey owns and markets a range of non-chocolate products such as Twizzlers licorice, Ice Breakers mints, and Lancaster caramels. By offering a mix of chocolate and non-chocolate treats, Hershey caters to a broader consumer base, including those who may prefer alternatives to traditional chocolate products. This diversification strategy allows the company to capture additional market share and maximize its revenue potential.

    Hershey Business Model Canvas Explained

    Introduction to the Hershey Business Model Canvas

    The Hershey Company is one of the leading chocolate and confectionery manufacturers in the world. To understand how Hershey operates and creates value, it is helpful to analyze their business model using the Business Model Canvas framework.

    Key Partnerships

    Hershey's success is built upon strong partnerships with various entities. One of their key partnerships is with cocoa bean farmers in countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. By collaborating with these farmers, Hershey ensures a consistent supply of high-quality cocoa beans, which are essential for their chocolate production.

    Additionally, Hershey has established strategic partnerships with retailers and distributors. These partnerships allow the company to efficiently distribute their products to a wide customer base. By working closely with these partners, Hershey can effectively reach consumers and generate sales.

    Key Activities

    The key activities of Hershey primarily revolve around manufacturing and marketing their products. Hershey operates several production facilities worldwide, where they transform raw materials like cocoa beans and milk into delicious chocolates and confectioneries. These manufacturing operations are crucial to ensure the consistent quality and taste that consumers expect from Hershey's products.

    In terms of marketing, Hershey invests heavily in advertising and promotion to create brand awareness and maintain customer loyalty. They employ various marketing channels, such as television, print media, digital advertising, and social media campaigns, to reach their target audience effectively.

    Key Resources

    Hershey's key resources include their brand reputation, manufacturing facilities, distribution networks, and intellectual property. The Hershey brand is globally recognized and trusted, giving them a competitive advantage in the market. Their manufacturing facilities, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, enable them to produce their products at scale while maintaining quality standards.

    Furthermore, Hershey's extensive distribution networks ensure their products are readily available to consumers worldwide. This wide reach contributes to their market dominance. Lastly, Hershey's intellectual property, including trademarks and recipes, provides them with a unique selling proposition and protects their products from imitations.

    Customer Segments

    Hershey caters to a diverse range of customer segments. Their products target consumers of all ages who have a sweet tooth and enjoy indulging in chocolates and confectioneries. Hershey's portfolio includes a variety of brands and products, ranging from milk chocolates to candies, allowing them to appeal to a broad customer base.

    Additionally, Hershey recognizes the growing demand for healthier options and has expanded their product offerings to include low-sugar and organic alternatives. This enables them to cater to health-conscious customers who still want to enjoy chocolate treats.

    Value Proposition

    Hershey's value proposition lies in their ability to deliver high-quality, delicious chocolates and confectioneries that consumers adore. Their products are known for their rich taste, smooth texture, and consistent quality, which have made them a trusted brand for over a century.

    Furthermore, Hershey emphasizes innovation and continuously introduces new flavors and product variations to keep up with changing consumer preferences. This commitment to product development ensures that Hershey remains relevant and continues to provide value to their customers.


    Analyzing Hershey's business model using the Business Model Canvas helps us understand the various elements that contribute to their success. From key partnerships and activities to essential resources and customer segments, Hershey's focus on quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction is evident. By consistently delivering delightful chocolate experiences, Hershey continues to thrive in the competitive confectionery industry.

    Which companies are the competitors of Hershey?


    When it comes to the confectionery industry, Hershey has established itself as a prominent player with a rich history and a wide range of popular products. However, it is not without its fair share of competition. In this section, we will explore some of the key companies that compete with Hershey in the market.

    Mars, Incorporated

    Mars, Incorporated is undoubtedly one of the biggest competitors of Hershey. With a diverse portfolio of confectionery brands, including M&M's, Snickers, Twix, and Milky Way, Mars has a strong global presence. The company's extensive distribution network and its ability to cater to various consumer preferences make it a formidable rival to Hershey. Mars also boasts a strong emphasis on innovation and marketing, constantly introducing new products and engaging campaigns to capture consumer attention.


    Nestlé, a Swiss multinational food and beverage company, is another major competitor of Hershey. While Nestlé is involved in various sectors, its confectionery division is a significant rival to Hershey. With iconic brands like KitKat, Crunch, Aero, and Smarties, Nestlé has a strong market presence in both domestic and international markets. The company's commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing has also resonated with consumers, further enhancing its competitive advantage.

    Mondelez International

    Mondelez International is a global snacking powerhouse that competes directly with Hershey. With a diverse portfolio that includes iconic brands such as Cadbury, Toblerone, Oreo, and Milka, Mondelez has a strong foothold in the confectionery market. The company's ability to cater to different tastes and preferences, along with its innovative product offerings, enables it to capture a significant share of the market. Mondelez also leverages its extensive global distribution network to reach consumers across the globe.


    Ferrero, an Italian confectionery company, presents another competitive challenge for Hershey. Known for its premium brands like Ferrero Rocher, Kinder, Nutella, and Tic Tac, Ferrero has built a strong reputation for quality and indulgence. The company's focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail has resonated well with consumers, particularly in the premium chocolate segment. With its global expansion efforts and continuous product innovation, Ferrero poses a significant threat to Hershey's market position.


    While Hershey has established itself as a prominent player in the confectionery industry, it faces stiff competition from several key companies. Mars, Nestlé, Mondelez International, and Ferrero are just a few examples of the formidable rivals Hershey encounters in the market. These companies not only have strong brand recognition and extensive distribution networks, but they also continually introduce new products and engage in innovative marketing strategies to capture consumer attention. As the confectionery market continues to evolve, Hershey must stay vigilant and adapt to the changing consumer preferences and competitive landscape to maintain its position as a leader in the industry.

    Hershey SWOT Analysis


    • Strong brand recognition: Hershey has been in business for over 125 years and has established itself as one of the leading chocolate and confectionery brands globally. The Hershey's brand is widely recognized and trusted by consumers.

    • Diverse product portfolio: Hershey offers a wide range of products, including chocolate bars, candies, chewing gums, and beverages. This diverse product portfolio allows the company to cater to different consumer preferences and ensures a steady stream of revenue.

    • Strong distribution network: Hershey has a well-established distribution network that spans across various channels, including supermarkets, convenience stores, and online platforms. This extensive distribution network enables the company to reach a large customer base and ensures its products are readily available to consumers.

    • Innovation and product development: Hershey invests heavily in research and development to continually innovate and develop new products. The company has introduced various successful product lines, such as Hershey's Kisses, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Kit Kat. This focus on innovation helps Hershey stay relevant in a highly competitive market.


    • Dependence on the US market: While Hershey has a strong presence in the United States, it heavily relies on this market for a significant portion of its revenue. This dependence on a single market makes the company vulnerable to any shifts in consumer preferences or economic conditions in the US.

    • Limited international presence: Despite being a global brand, Hershey's international presence is relatively limited compared to some of its competitors. The company primarily operates in North America and has limited exposure to emerging markets. This lack of international diversification leaves Hershey susceptible to fluctuations in regional markets.

    • Rising input costs: Hershey faces the challenge of rising input costs, particularly for key ingredients like cocoa and sugar. These cost increases can impact the company's profitability unless it can effectively manage and mitigate them.


    • Growing demand for healthier options: With increasing consumer awareness about health and wellness, there is a growing demand for healthier food options, including chocolates and confectionery products. Hershey can capitalize on this trend by expanding its portfolio of healthier products, such as sugar-free or organic options.

    • Expansion into emerging markets: Hershey has the opportunity to expand its presence in emerging markets where chocolate consumption is on the rise. Countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa offer significant growth potential for the company. By targeting these markets and adapting its products to local preferences, Hershey can tap into new customer segments.


    • Intense competition: The chocolate and confectionery industry is highly competitive, with numerous global and local players vying for market share. Competitors like Mars, Nestle, and Ferrero pose a significant threat to Hershey's market position. To maintain its competitive edge, Hershey needs to continuously innovate and differentiate its products.

    • Changing consumer preferences: Consumer preferences and tastes are constantly evolving, and Hershey needs to adapt to these changes to stay relevant. If the company fails to meet changing consumer demands, it risks losing market share to competitors who can better cater to these preferences.

    • Regulatory challenges: Hershey operates in an industry that is subject to various regulations, including food safety standards and labeling requirements. Compliance with these regulations can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, any changes in regulations or new restrictions imposed on ingredients could impact Hershey's product offerings and operations.

    Overall, Hershey's strong brand recognition, diverse product portfolio, and strong distribution network are key strengths that have contributed to its success. However, the company needs to address its weaknesses, such as its dependence on the US market and limited international presence, to mitigate potential risks. By capitalizing on opportunities like the demand for healthier options and expansion into emerging markets, while also addressing threats like intense competition and changing consumer preferences, Hershey can continue to thrive in the chocolate and confectionery industry.

    Key Takeaways

    • Hershey is a publicly traded company, meaning it is owned by shareholders who hold its stock.
    • The mission statement of Hershey is to bring sweet moments of Hershey happiness to the world every day.
    • Hershey primarily makes money through the production and sale of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products.
    • The Hershey Business Model Canvas is a strategic tool that outlines the key components of Hershey's business model, including its value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and key activities.
    • Competitors of Hershey include Nestle, Mars, Ferrero, and Mondelez International.
    • A SWOT analysis of Hershey reveals its strengths, such as strong brand recognition and a diverse product portfolio, weaknesses such as dependence on the North American market, opportunities like expanding into emerging markets, and threats like intense competition and changing consumer preferences.


    In conclusion, Hershey is owned by various shareholders, with the Hershey Trust Company being the largest shareholder. The mission statement of Hershey is to be a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints, and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey primarily makes money through the sale of its various confectionery products, both domestically and internationally.

    The Hershey Business Model Canvas provides a comprehensive understanding of how Hershey operates. It outlines key aspects such as key partners, key activities, key resources, value proposition, customer segments, customer relationships, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams. This canvas helps Hershey in efficiently delivering value to its customers and generating revenue.

    In terms of competition, Hershey faces rivalry from several notable companies in the confectionery industry. Some of its major competitors include Mars, Nestle, Ferrero, Mondelez International, and Lindt. These companies compete for market share and strive to offer innovative and high-quality products to attract consumers.

    A SWOT analysis of Hershey reveals its strengths like strong brand recognition and a wide product portfolio, its weaknesses such as dependence on North American markets, opportunities such as expanding into emerging markets and diversifying product offerings, and threats like intense competition and changing consumer preferences.

    Overall, Hershey's ownership, mission statement, revenue generation, business model, competition, and SWOT analysis all contribute to its position as a leading confectionery company. With a rich history and commitment to delivering delicious and high-quality products, Hershey continues to thrive in the global market.


    What is the weakness of the Hershey company?

    One weakness of the Hershey company is its heavy dependence on the North American market. While Hershey is a well-established and dominant player in the US chocolate market, it has limited international presence compared to some of its competitors. This makes it vulnerable to fluctuations in the domestic market and exposes it to potential risks associated with economic downturns or changes in consumer preferences in the region.

    Additionally, Hershey's product portfolio is heavily focused on chocolate and confectionery items. While this is its core strength, it also poses a weakness as consumer preferences are shifting towards healthier and more diverse snack options. The company may need to diversify its product offerings or adapt to changing consumer trends to remain competitive in the long run.

    Furthermore, Hershey faces increasing competition from both established chocolate companies and emerging players in the industry. This intensifying competition poses a challenge for Hershey to maintain market share and solidify its position in the industry.

    Lastly, Hershey has faced criticism in the past regarding its use of controversial ingredients, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and artificial additives. This can negatively impact its brand image and reputation, especially as consumers become more conscious about the ingredients and production processes of the food they consume.

    What is the competitive advantage of Hershey's?

    The competitive advantage of Hershey's lies in several key factors:

    1. Brand Recognition: Hershey's is a well-established and internationally recognized brand in the confectionery industry. The company has built a strong reputation over its long history, making it a trusted choice for consumers.

    2. Product Portfolio: Hershey's offers a wide range of products, including chocolate bars, candies, baking products, beverages, and snacks. This diverse product portfolio caters to different consumer preferences and allows Hershey's to capture a larger market share.

    3. Quality and Taste: Hershey's is known for its high-quality products and the distinct taste of its chocolate. The company has perfected its recipes over the years, ensuring consistency in taste and customer satisfaction.

    4. Distribution Network: Hershey's has a robust and extensive distribution network, enabling its products to be widely available both domestically and internationally. Its strong presence in various retail channels ensures easy accessibility for consumers.

    5. Marketing and Advertising: Hershey's has invested heavily in marketing and advertising campaigns to maintain brand visibility and attract new customers. Its iconic advertisements and effective marketing strategies have helped create brand loyalty and increase market share.

    6. Innovation and Product Development: Hershey's continuously innovates and introduces new products to meet changing consumer preferences. The company adapts to trends such as healthier options, indulgent treats, and seasonal offerings, ensuring its products remain relevant and appealing to a wide range of consumers.

    7. Sustainability Initiatives: Hershey's is committed to sustainability and has implemented various initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, support cocoa farmers, and promote responsible sourcing. This focus on sustainability resonates with consumers who value ethical and eco-friendly practices.

    These competitive advantages contribute to Hershey's strong market position and differentiate it from competitors in the confectionery industry.

    What problems did Hershey face?

    Hershey, the chocolate company, faced several problems throughout its history. Some of the major challenges include:

    1. Supply chain issues: Hershey faced supply chain problems related to cocoa bean sourcing. The company heavily relied on West Africa for cocoa beans, where issues like child labor, deforestation, and poor working conditions were prevalent. This raised concerns about ethical sourcing and sustainability.

    2. Competition: Hershey faced intense competition from other chocolate manufacturers, both domestic and international. Competitors like Mars, Nestlé, and Cadbury posed challenges in terms of market share, product innovation, and pricing strategies.

    3. Changing consumer preferences: Over time, consumer preferences for healthier snacks and premium chocolates shifted, posing a challenge for Hershey. The company had to adapt and diversify its product portfolio to meet changing demands and appeal to health-conscious consumers.

    4. Rising costs: Hershey faced rising costs of raw materials, particularly cocoa beans, as well as other production inputs like packaging and transportation. This put pressure on the company's profit margins and required efficient cost management.

    5. International expansion: While Hershey had a strong presence in the United States, expanding its operations internationally posed challenges. Adapting to different markets, cultural preferences, and regulatory environments required significant investment and strategic decision-making.

    6. Brand image: Hershey faced criticism related to its brand image, particularly regarding the use of artificial ingredients, high sugar content, and unhealthy snacks. The company had to address these concerns and adapt to changing consumer expectations for healthier and more natural products.

    7. Leadership and succession: Hershey faced leadership and succession challenges at various points in its history. Smooth transitions and effective leadership were critical to navigating the company through periods of change and maintaining its competitive position.

    Overall, Hershey has faced a range of problems, from supply chain issues to changing consumer preferences and intense competition. However, the company has also demonstrated resilience and adaptability in addressing these challenges.

    Who is Hershey's main competitor?

    Hershey's main competitor is Mars, Incorporated.

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