HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. is building a new 250,000 square-foot chocolate facility on a 55-acre site near its existing Reese’s plant. The company said the project was part of a $1 billion investment in its supply chain network. Construction was scheduled to begin mid-November and the new chocolate facility is planned to open in early 2024.  

“Our ability to grow – today and in the future – is rooted in how fast we can make and deliver our products,” said Will Bonifant, vice president, US & Canada supply chain. “We’ve made significant investments over the past few years with new facilities and updates to existing sites to speed production and make more of the iconic brands consumers love.”

Hershey said the facility represents its most recent action in a multi-year investment strategy already underway. The strategy includes expanding existing facilities and developing new capabilities to drive the production of its core brands while building the capacity needed for continued growth, the company said.

Also included in the expansion project will be the addition of 13 production lines and the upgrading of 11 existing lines in other North American facilities, Hershey said.

“We are committed to investing to meet the needs of our consumers in collaboration with our retail partners and suppliers,” Mr. Bonifant said. “Investing in the strengths of our core brands -- made right here in our hometown – will ensure that we’re meeting those consumer needs across a wide variety of snacking occasions and will help fuel future growth.”

Pending final planning approvals, the new facility will support production capabilities for candy brands including Reese’s, Kit Kat and Hershey’s.

Since 2019, the company said it has seen 5% compounded retail sales growth in seasonal candy sales and 15% compounded retail sales growth in snack size. A forthcoming line expansion at the West Hershey plant is planned help meet the increased demand for seasonal snack-size packages.