Hershey Foods Corporation (NYSE: HSY) today announced sales and earnings for the first quarter ended April 1, 2001. Consolidated net sales for the first quarter were $1,080,281,000 compared with $993,115,000 for the first quarter of 2000, an increase of 8.8 percent. Net income was $78,906,000, or $.57 per share diluted, compared with $71,180,000, or $.51 per share diluted for the first quarter of 2000, an increase of 11.8 percent. The first quarter 2000 earnings per share benefited from a $.03 per share, one-time gain on the sale of corporate aircraft.

"We've gotten off to a good start in 2001," said Richard H. Lenny, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our sales at retail continue to outpace the category as a result of our successful seasonal programs, in-store merchandising, and improved customer service.

"The integration of the newly acquired intense mints and gum businesses has gone smoothly. In addition to the incremental earnings from these businesses, we benefited from improved logistics and commodities costs, as well as other operating efficiencies, offset somewhat by higher marketing expense.

"As we go through the year, we plan to maintain momentum in our core business, while introducing value-added new products and continuing to improve our margins. We expect 2001 to be a record year for Hershey Foods, and we are working diligently to make that happen," Lenny concluded.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT

This release contains statements which are forward-looking. These statements are made based upon current expectations which are subject to risk and uncertainty. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Factors which could cause results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: changes in the confectionery and grocery business environment, including actions of competitors and changes in consumer preferences; changes in governmental laws and regulations, including taxes; market demand for new and existing products; the Corporation's ability to implement improvements to and reduce costs associated with the Corporation's distribution operations; and changes in raw material costs, as discussed in the Corporation's Annual Report on Form 10-K for 2000.

                          Hershey Foods Corporation
                 Summary of Consolidated Statements of Income
             for the period ended April 1, 2001 and April 2, 2000
              (in thousands of dollars except per share amounts)

                                                         First Quarter
                                                    2001             2000

    Net Sales                                     $1,080,281       $993,115

    Costs and Expenses:
     Cost of Sales                                   637,506        605,097
     Selling, Marketing and Administrative           298,619        253,800

     Total Costs and Expenses                        936,125        858,897

    Income Before Interest and Income Taxes          144,156        134,218
    Interest Expense, Net                             17,297         17,530

    Income Before Income Taxes                       126,859        116,688
    Provision for Income Taxes                        47,953         45,508

    Net Income                                       $78,906        $71,180

    Net Income Per Share - Basic                        $.58           $.51
                         - Diluted                      $.57           $.51

    NOTE:     Net Income Per Share - Basic and Diluted have been computed
              based on the provisions of Statement of Financial Accounting
              Standards No. 128 Earnings per Share.  Basic shares outstanding
              for the first quarter of 2001 were 136,750,000 compared with
              138,455,000 for the first quarter of 2000.  Diluted shares
              outstanding for the first quarter of 2001 were 138,227,000
              compared with 139,216,000 for the first quarter of 2000.


                          Hershey Foods Corporation
                         Consolidated Balance Sheets
                  as of April 1, 2001 and December 31, 2000
                          (in thousands of dollars)

    Assets                                           2001            2000

    Cash and Cash Equivalents                        $26,254        $31,969
    Accounts Receivable - Trade (Net)                308,519        379,680
    Deferred Income Taxes                             76,463         76,136
    Inventories                                      624,805        605,173
    Prepaid Expenses and Other                        84,261        202,390

    Total Current Assets                           1,120,302      1,295,348

    Net Plant and Property                         1,574,013      1,585,388
    Intangibles Resulting
     from Business Acquisitions                      466,758        474,448
    Other Assets                                     140,330         92,580

    Total Assets                                  $3,301,403     $3,447,764

    Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity

    Loans Payable                                    $50,233       $258,123
    Accounts Payable                                 147,936        149,232
    Accrued Liabilities                              330,487        358,067
    Taxes Payable                                     44,620          1,479

    Total Current Liabilities                        573,276        766,901

    Long-Term Debt                                   877,510        877,654
    Other Long-Term Liabilities                      322,570        327,674
    Deferred Income Taxes                            297,224        300,499

    Total Liabilities                              2,070,580      2,272,728

    Total Stockholders' Equity                     1,230,823      1,175,036

    Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity    $3,301,403     $3,447,764