US chocolate and confectionery group Hershey has announced that it is to increase wholesale prices on products representing around a third of its portfolio by 4% to 5%.

The company said that the price rise on its standard bar, king-size bar, 6-pack and vending lines would take effect immediately, adding that the hike had been initiated to offset rising input costs, including raw and packaging materials, fuel, utilities and transportation. "While there has been no change in list prices on these impacted items since December 2004, over this period costs have continued to rise," the company said in a statement.

Christopher J. Baldwin, president of the company's North American Commercial Group, said: "Our primary business objective is to win in the market place. As we implement this pricing action we will work with our customers to create programmes which will drive retail takeaway. Given the mid-year timing of this pricing action and our commitment to planned consumer and customer promotions and merchandising events, we expect minimal financial impact from the pricing in 2007."