Pennsylvania-based The Hershey Co. (HSY) cut its long-term sales forecast on Wednesday, along with announcing plans to reduce its global workforce by about 15%.

The chocolate manufacturer says it now expects long-term sales growth of 3% at the midpoint, down from the previously guided 4%. Hershey indicates its sales growth will be driven by its North American business. While the firm attributes its lowered guidance to “changes in U.S. shopping habits” and challenges overseas.

Job reductions will consist primarily of reductions in hourly employees outside the United States, estimated to amount to 2,700 workers let go as part of Hershey’s larger plan to improve operating profit margins over the next three years. Pre-tax charges of the cost-cutting plan are expected to amount to $425 million in total.

Doubling Down on Snack Trends

During an analyst meeting in New York following the announcement, Hershey’s Chief Executive Officer Michele Buck said the firm remains confident in the continued strength of the candy and chocolate category due to its “highly impulsive” character and “expandable consumption.” Buck also indicated the firm will up its presence in the snacking market, looking to benefit from North American consumers who are eating more frequently throughout the day. Within the snacking market in particular, the CEO says the firm has taken note of consumer trends favoring healthier products and protein-based foods. So far, Hershey’s has introduced a more health conscious “snack mix,” along with new meat jerky products from a recent buyout. (See also: Hershey Taps Longtime COO Michele Buck as New CEO.)

The news comes as no surprise given Hershey has been losing out to competitors such as privately owned Ferrero, food and beverage giant Nestle (NSRGY), and Mondelez International (MDLZ), which recently bought out U.K.-based confectioner Cadbury last year.

Hershey’s latest cost-cutting plan and softened guidance follows other major U.S. food and beverage companies struggling to evolve their products for a changing consumer cohort while they deal with macroeconomic issues abroad. The Coca-Cola Co. (KO), General Mills Inc. (GIS) and Kellogg Co. (K) have all initiated cost-savings plans in order to bolster bottom-line numbers as their revenue growth rates decline. 

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