With more than 6 billion dollars in sales each year, Hershey’s, the giant chocolatier in the United States offers one of the highest varieties of products in the area. In vivaelcaco.com we tell you a little history of this industry pillar worldwide. Likewise, from its headquarters, located in the city with the same factory’s name in Pennsylvania, they also give us their vision for the future. Michele Buck, Hershey’s Vice President and Operations Director for Central and South America, conversed with us about all these topics and some others we will try to disclose during this interview.
Michele Buck, with over 25 years of experience in the candies and snacks industry, began his career at Nabisco / Kraft. Since 2005 is part of the board of directors of Hershey’s. Moreover, he is in charge of departments such as Development of New Products, Marketing, Innovations and Corporate Quality.
– Mr. Buck, welcome to vivaelcacao.com, we are very grateful for your time with us.
MB.- Thanks to you. For us in Hershey’s it is a source of deep pride to show our products to the world.
– Since the beginning, Hershey’s has been a company that has stood out not only to offer a product that pleases the consumer, but also to keep a high standard of quality in their chocolates. What is the source of this company success?
– Since Milton Hersey’s founded the company in 1894 our main task has been selling flavours and sensations. For us in Hershey’s a smile equals a sign of approval from our millions of satisfied consumers. We have products like a milk chocolate bar since the beginning of operations and still remains with us, continuing to be one of the best sales in the world. Hershey’s operates over a range of 140 countries where our products are directly distributed. Also, we have a supply chain of more than 40 nations what allows us to process all products and by-products from our successful formulas.
– It has not been a secret to anyone that these recent years have been somewhat hard for the company, with problems with foreign workers and complaints regarding the cocoa production chain in West Africa, which, over the years has been its principal provider. How could Hershey’s have managed to overcome these situations?
– Since the first day, Milton Hershey’s dream was to teach young people the whole manufacturing process as well as have a company to be a leader in training of personnel. That led us to the creation of scholarship programmes for foreign students who are paid directly by our company and its subsidiaries in order to train new talents in the field, as in this case, in chocolate. In all our subsidiaries we have annual programmes that gather students from 53 countries to learn everything about the creative process of candies, in addition to their sales and distribution chains. The outstanding ones are left to work for our companies, either as coaches for future students, or directly in any area of interest designed by us.
– What about Hershey’s Cocoa? Where does it come from?
– Historically, West African countries have been our major suppliers, although our focus has recently moved towards new countries such as Malaysia and Ecuador. In the past we used to have direct distributors in many countries, but their political instability and mass production load have made us resort to stock and distribution markets, where prices are more competitive and availability is immediate.
– Vivaelcacao.com is a website created in Venezuela, where cocoa is a very serious traditional matter. What is your opinion about Venezuelan Cocoa?
– It is widely known that Venezuelan cocoa is one of the best in the world and its production methods are the best. Nevertheless, Venezuela has lost strength in terms of production in the global market. The political and economic instability of Venezuela means a huge challenge for producers in the country, who, even so, struggle to maintain the quality of their product.
– Would Hershey’s buy cocoa from Venezuela?
– Of course. In fact, we did it for a long time, especially when Venezuela was considered one of the largest producers worldwide. Moreover, for gourmet products Venezuelan cocoa is a mandatory reference. There is no doubt.
– What are Hershey’s future plans?
– Up to now, to maintain the high production and quality standards we already hold. We have increased our sales from $ 2.2 billion annually in 1994 to $ 6 billion at present, and hope to double that figure over the next 10 years. On the other hand, we want to continue to support our partners in helping people and also our development programmes for new employees in order to maintain an employment average that keeps us as one of the best age average per employee within the United States.
– Michele Thank you for your time and for joining vivaelcacao.com family.
– Thanks to you. We look forward to your visiting our facilities shortly. Best greetings to you all.
When it comes to excellence and production capacity, Hershey’s family products are at the forefront of the global range. Viva El Cacao will keep you informed in detail about the leading producers in the world and will be offering the perspective of the key executives in the field.
Meanwhile, the giant of Pennsylvania continues to honour Milton Hershey’s dream for upgrading his legacy and legend.