Reese’s is selling its first chocolate-free peanut butter cup ahead of Easter this year

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  • Reese’s is launching peanut butter cups with no chocolate. 
  • The new candy will launch in April, right around Easter, a major candy holiday.
  • Hershey’s, which owns Reese’s, continued to grow in 2020 despite the pandemic.
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Reese’s just announced it will launch a new peanut butter cup flavor, the “Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups.”

The new candy is like a traditional peanut butter cup, but the typical chocolate shell will be replaced with a “100% peanut butter candy-flavored shell.” The peanut butter cups will launch in April in standard, king size, and miniature for a limited run.

According to a press release, Reese’s had previously tested limited releases of Peanut Butter Lovers Cups in 2019 and 2020. The 2021 version is the first to forgo chocolate altogether, though. “While launching a Reese’s Cup with absolutely no chocolate might come as a shock, we’re giving the truest peanut butter fans something to go wild about,” Reese’s Brand Manager Margo McIlvaine said in a statement. 

Reese’s is owned by Hershey’s, which has seen sales increase over the past year. Net sales increased 5.7% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, largely driven by chocolate brands and baking items like peanut butter and cocoa. Customers coped with quieter holidays by buying more candy, and profits rose nearly 14% in the third quarter thanks to Halloween candy sales, including Reese’s.

Peanut Butter Lovers Cups will launch around the same time as Easter 2021, which falls on April 4 this year. Easter is typically a big candy holiday, and Hershey’s owns three of the biggest brands, Cadbury, Reese’s, and Hershey’s with a 40% market share. Easter could be part of a strong start to 2021 for Hershey’s.

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Hershey’s mint and gum sales have plummeted because of social distancing and masks during the pandemic

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Mint and gum sales are another loser of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Hershey’s fourth quarter earnings released Thursday.

Net sales for the company actually increased by about 5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, but Hershey said that growth was offset in part by a 20.4% decline in refreshment products, or mints and gum. People apparently aren’t throwing mints in their carts at the last minute during grocery trips, and constant mask-wearing has made these products feel less necessary. “The functional need for breath freshening continues to be impacted by social distancing,” as Hershey politely put it.

Read more: Hershey’s chief growth officer lays out how the company boosted profits by 13% thanks to two new approaches to selling chocolate and mints

Among its dozens of brands, Hershey lists three products in the refreshment category: breathsavers, Bubble Yum bubblegum, and Ice Breakers. The company has launched campaigns to combat these poor sales, like the “Mint Before You Mask,” campaign that pitches mints as the solution to bad breath after hours earing a mask.

Other products in Hershey’s portfolio did better this year, though, including salty snacks and baking items like peanut butter and cocoa. 

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