Michele Buck, President and CEO of Hershey, gave a confident performance on Bloomberg Television in an interview following the companies results announcements.

It is what they call ‘reporting season’ for chocolate companies, and Hershey’s gave an optimistic report following solid demand over the holiday period, and benefiting from a price bump. After that however, inflation and increased costs will start to eat into those margins.

However, Hershey beat analysts’ revenues and profits for December 2021. This is what Buck had to say.

In 2021, we delivered a record year of production and double-digit sales and earnings growth, with a strong finish and momentum heading into 2022​.

Michele Buck, President and CEO of Hershey

Buck delivered a masterclass of commentary that allowed for future uncertainty while still positioning the company as prepared and ready to outperform the market. She stated.

While the environment remains volatile, we are confident in our ability to continue to respond to the changes in the world around us and deliver another year of advantaged performance in 2022​.

Michele Buck, President and CEO of Hershey

As with the interviews with the CEO of Mondelēz, Dirk Van de Put, Buck explained that inflation was playing an important role in their pricing. Van de Put, who was also interviewed on Bloomberg, gave a steady performance. He revealed a little more than Buck when he said that inflationary forces, naming shipping and materials inputs, in particular, would continue to create challenges that would likely lead to price increases in the future.

In one of the more exciting parts of the interview, Buck was asked by a rather sharp Bloomberg news reporter if they had let go of any staff due to their mandated vaccination policy. Buck worked her way around the response, and while she didn’t look flustered, it was visibly an uncomfortable question for her. Her response about community and priority for their workers’ safety kept the tone level. However, she acknowledged that a few workers were ‘separated’ from the company.

The question for Buck and Hershey now, is how sensitive the consumer will be to price increases. In addition, as inflation in the US hits a 39 year high at 7%, I wonder how much margin the company is willing to erode, to maintain price stability.

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