Hershey forecasts upbeat full-year revenue on strong demand, price hikes

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April 27 (Reuters) - Hershey Co (HSY.N) beat quarterly sales estimates and forecast annual revenue and profit at the upper end of its previous guidance, on the back of higher prices as well as resilient demand for its candy and chocolates.

Packaged food makers including Hershey, Mondelez (MDLZ.O), Conagra Brands Inc (CAG.N) and General Mills (GIS.N) have all been steadily increasing product prices to protect profits amid rising costs.

While inflation has hammered spending power, consumers have been willing to pay more for their favorite snack and chocolate brands, boosting revenue at Hershey and cushioning the blow from higher costs.

The Pennsylvania-based company now expects full-year 2023 net sales to grow about 8%, compared to the previous forecast of 6%-8%. Hershey estimates adjusted profit per share to rise by 11%, compared with the prior forecast of 9%-11%.

The company's net revenue rose to $2.99 billion in the first quarter from $2.67 billion a year earlier, while analysts on average expected $2.91 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting Aatrayee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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