Hershey won't meet Halloween demand due to 'capacity constraints'

Giddy trick-or-treaters may find an American classic absent from their pumpkin pails this year. 

Hershey reported that it would not be able to meet consumer demand for Halloween. Michele Buck, CEO of the Pennsylvania-based chocolate and sweets manufacturer, said the company faced “capacity constraints” on a quarterly earnings call with investors Thursday. 

“Given many of our everyday and seasonal products are made on the same line, we have needed to balance production over the past several months to improve everyday on-shelf availability and build seasonal inventory at the same time” Buck said on Thursday’s call.

Be prepared this Halloween.

Hershey leadership told investors that the company was feeling the effects of inflation, supply chain interruptions and shifting consumer behavior, despite reporting double-digit sales growth.

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Buck said Hershey prioritizes “everyday on-shelf availability” and had to make a “tough” decision in the spring, when Halloween candy production begins. 

"Consumers don’t need to worry about empty shelves. We’ll all still be able to enjoy our favorite Hershey treats this Halloween; those treats may just be dressed up in everyday packaging versus Halloween-inspired or seasonal designs," Ashleigh Pollart, a Hershey spokesperson, told USA TODAY in an email.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is making certain ingredients scarce, Buck said, and European sanctions on Russian natural gas strained Hershey’s equipment suppliers in countries like Germany.

Pollart said the capacity constraints also have to do with a "tremendous increase in consumer demand the past few years." 

But the company indicated it expected its seasonal capacity to improve in 2023.