It's been a tough winter. Temperatures have plummeted and parts of the country have been crippled with ice and snow. But that's not enough to take a bite out of America's love of chocolate snacking, according to recent research from Hershey Foods Corporation (NYSE: HSY). In fact, when the mercury falls, many people reach for their favorite sweet treat. A recent national survey showed that among chocolate lovers, nearly half are more likely to snack on chocolate in cold-weather months than in warm-weather months.

In anticipation of National Snack Food Month in February, Hershey Foods investigated the snacking habits of Americans -- especially those who love chocolate. According to a recent omnibus telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Market Facts for Hershey Foods, 90 percent of Americans consider themselves "snackers" and 62 percent of those polled said chocolate is their favorite sweet snack.

To meet this flurry of snacking, Hershey recently launched new Kit Kat and Heath Bites. New Kit Kat Bites are layers of crisp wafers covered in milk chocolate, perfect for munching by the handful. And new Heath Bites are rich, English toffee centers surrounded by smooth milk chocolate.

"Consumers love snacking," said Tim Rea, Hershey Foods marketing manager. "And these two new flavor additions to the Bites family are just right for munching. Whether it's on-the-go, sharing with friends, or giving yourself a little reward, anytime is perfect to grab the big taste of Kit Kat and Heath Bites!"

In addition to showing that Americans love chocolate, the survey also revealed that consumers' taste in snacks is broad. When asked what they snack on, three quarters (71 percent) of Americans said they munched on chocolate, as well as fresh fruit (91 percent), salty snacks (79 percent), candy or cookies (73 percent) and dried fruit (52 percent).

Consumers' snacking habits are equally as varied. Among respondents, 42 percent indicated they munch while at work and 18 percent said they frequently snack in the car. In addition, the afternoon munchies appear to be somewhat more common than a morning snack attack. Forty-nine percent of consumers enjoy a mid-afternoon snack, while 31 percent partake in a mid-morning snack.

New Kit Kat and Heath Bites join the growing Hershey's Bites line of unwrapped, bite-sized pieces of chocolate candy. Other flavors include York peppermint, Reese's peanut butter, Hershey's milk chocolate with almonds, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme and Almond Joy. For more information, visit http://www.HersheysBites.com

Hershey Foods Corporation is the leading North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery and chocolate-related grocery products and has a variety of international operations. For more information, visit http://www.Hersheys.com