Hershey bets on market growth in low-calorie bars

US chocolate maker buys One Brands after investing in Irish company Fulfil Nutrition

Hershey is paying about  $400m  (€362m) for control of One Brands. Photograph: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty

Hershey is paying about $400m (€362m) for control of One Brands. Photograph: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty

 

US chocolate maker Hershey has made another nutrition bar acquisition just days after investing in Irish company Fulfil Nutrition.

Hershey, one the the world’s largest confectionery businesses, is paying just under $400 million (€362 million) for control of One Brands, a low calorie snacks company that targets the diet market.

No details on the trading performance of One Brands were made available, although Hershey said the acquisition, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, would be “slightly” earnings accretive in the first full year of ownership.

Hershey has been actively pursuing acquisition and investment opportunities in what it refers to as the “better for you” snacks sector over the past two years. One Brands will join Hershey’s growing nutrition bar business, alongside the Oatmega line that it acquired last year, and Fulfil.

The US company’s move to invest in Fulfil gives it a foothold in a fast-growing European market that the American giant has to date largely ignored. It also opens a door for Fulfil which has yet to target the US market, the biggest globally for snacks.

Hershey has yet to confirm whether it will take a board seat at the Irish company, though chief executive Brian O’Sullivan said it had been invited to do so.

Mary Beth West, Hershey’s chief growth officer, said the range of bars with “indulgent flavours such as birthday cake, maple glazed doughnut and peanut butter pie will be a strong strategic fit within our overall innovative snacking powerhouse vision”.

One Brands was founded as Oh Yeah! Nutrition by Ron McAfee 20 years ago. Cavu Venture Partners, which specialises in “trend brands” invested in 2017 with the company then looking to grab a share of general retail space. Until that point, it had been available mostly in health goods stores and gyms.