Hershey takes on fast-growing Nutella

5:02 PM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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Jars of nutella hazelnut chocolate spread, manufactured by Ferrero SpA, sit in boxes on a shelf inside a supermarket in Slough, U.K., on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. U.K. retail same-store sales barely rose in July, according to the British Retail Consortium, as consumer confidence was undermined by the double-dip recession and the euro-area debt crisis. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) - Americans apparently like smearing their foods with chocolatey spreads.

The Hershey Co. on Wednesday said it was introducing a line of chocolate spreads, including a hazelnut variety reminiscent of Nutella, a spread made by the Italian company Ferrero that has taken off rapidly in the U.S.

The move points to the strong growth in the category. Over the past five years, sales of Nutella in the U.S. have more than tripled to $240.4 million, according to market researcher Euromonitor International.

In 2012, J.M. Smucker Co. also got into the game with its Jif hazelnut spreads.

Anna Lingeris, a Hershey spokeswoman, says the spreads are often paired with fruit. But she says Hershey will play up the possibilities for its spreads in national TV ads set to start airing on Monday.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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