Public health officials, epidemiologists, and infectious disease experts are all front and center in looking out for emerging patterns on COVID-19. Now, add Hershey into the mix. The chocolate manufacturing giant has spotted its own trend during the pandemic involving a favorite campfire treat. That find: In areas of the US where there has been a surge in coronavirus cases, there has been a simultaneous uptick in demand for s'mores ingredients. Hershey says chocolate sales specifically have been up 40% to 50% in places that saw more COVID cases, as opposed to those where the virus is more under control. CNBC speculates the s'mores binging in virus-heavy areas could be attributed to more people hanging out these days in their backyards around the grill or bonfire.
In a Thursday interview, Hershey CEO Michele Buck said local COVID numbers have actually helped drive the company's marketing of the chocolate people need for their s'mores. "We were able to use the case count trajectory as a foreshadow of where we should focus some of those efforts and build displays and put media in those markets," she noted. Another popular Hershey's confection that's flying off shelves during the pandemic: Twizzlers, Buck added on an analysts call Thursday, per Business Insider. That's because, she says, consumers are seeking concession-style treats to nosh on during more at-home movie nights. All of these sweet comfort items have "turned out to be incredibly important for consumers during this very difficult time, where they [want] to cling to as much normalcy as possible," she says. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)