Hershey launches low-fat chocolate

HERSHEY, Pa. — Hershey is making its foray into lower-fat chocolate, the company announced during its first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

Th company confirmed that as it continues to roll out Jolly Rancher Crunch 'N Chew, as well as launch of Rolo Minis and Ice Breakers Duos, the company is launching Hershey's Simple Pleasures in a "smooth and creamy" format that touts 30% less fat than the average leading chocolate, Hershey president and CEO John Bilbrey said. Hershey's Simple Pleasures smooth and creamy will be available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate and vanilla crème varieties and will hit store shelves in June.

Hershey's first-quarter sales totaled $1.7 billion, compared with $1.5 billion in first quarter 2011. Net income was 87 cents per diluted share during the quarter, compared with 70 cents per diluted share in the year-ago period. Full-year net sales are expected to increase 7% to 9%, Hershey said.

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