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Hershey warns of Halloween candy shortage this year

Hershey's says production decisions in the spring, and supply chain issues from the Ukraine war, mean there might not be enough candy to go around this Halloween.

WASHINGTON — Trick-or-treaters this year may have to resort to using tricks on Halloween. Executives with Hershey, the maker of beloved chocolates and candy bars, said Thursday during a quarterly earnings report that there may be a candy shortage for the autumn holiday. 

"We will not be able to fully meet consumer demand," for Halloween, Hershey Chief Executive Officer Michele Buck said in prepared remarks ahead of the company's Q2 earnings call Thursday. 

During the call, Buck and other executives laid out the problem

"We began producing Halloween back in the spring," he said. "And that's really when we needed to make these key decisions on what we were going to produce, so tough trade out to make." 

Buck said the company, which produces Hershey's, Kit Kats, Twizzlers and several other candies, was "quite constrained" this year, and that long-term investments in shoring up production line bottlenecks won't see results until 2023. 

He blamed the war in Ukraine and the months-long shipping backlog for part of the issue, saying the raw ingredients were simply harder to come by. 

"There are certain places we're not constrained, others that we are," Buck said. 

But some of the blame rests internally, with how the company chose this year to allocate resources for production amid soaring demand.  Because Hershey uses the same production lines for both their Halloween candy and regular candy, they must choose between the two. 

As Hershey CFO Steve Voskuil put it, "it's definitely all hands on deck. You make mistakes." 

Credit: AP
FILE - This April 21, 2020 file photo shows a Hershey's chocolate bar with almonds in Philadelphia.

While the candy maker is facing supply issues, it may lose ground to other competitors such as Mars Wrigley (maker of skittles and M&Ms) during the Halloween season.

Hershey isn't the only company facing disruptive supply chain issues. Many manufacturers have seen skyrocketing demand for their products, and have struggled to keep up. For many, that has meant reducing production. For others, it means discontinuing some products entirely, like the beloved Choco Taco. 

    

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