Hershey is to start selling more of its confectionery outside the US next year as part of a global push designed to wrestle sales away from larger rivals Kraft Foods and Mars Inc.

According to a report in the Financial Times yesterday (7 December), Hershey will see products including Hershey’s Kisses in the UK and Europe next year.

As part of the push, the FT said Wal-Mart Stores’ UK arm Asda will sell Hershey products in the UK on an exclusive basis from early next year.

Hershey products are sold on a limited basis in the UK but the deal with Wal-Mart will give the chocolate maker a stronger presence in the market. A Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment when contacted by just-food.

A spokesperson for Hershey confirmed to just-food that the company’s products would be “rolled out” in Asda stores next year, although he declined to comment on which lines.

However, the Hershey spokesperson added: “Hershey has a very strong, collaborative relationship with Wal-Mart, both in the United States and internationally. We are working closely with Wal-Mart international to deliver our iconic brands to key global markets through their outlets as it makes sense.”

The agreement is part of Hershey’s bid to reduce its dependence on a mature US market. The company has made inroads into countries like Mexico and India but is still seen as too reliant on its domestic market.

The FT added that Hershey had established a European subsidiary in London this summer and is also recruiting for a manager for its travel-retail business covering Europe and the Middle East.