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The day before Halloween is Hershey's biggest day of the year

  • Halloween spending could reach $9.1 billion this year, with candy sales hitting $2.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • The day before Halloween is Hershey's biggest day of the year, Hershey CEO Michele Buck told CNBC.
  • Buck said Hershey's core candy brands are stronger than ever, even as consumers increasingly shun packaged food products and opt for healthier choices.

Today is Hershey's biggest day of the year.

This whole season is the confectionery company's biggest of the year, but the day before Halloween is the best day thanks to people stocking up on candy for trick-or-treaters, said Hershey CEO Michele Buck.

Halloween spending could reach $9.1 billion this year, with candy sales hitting $2.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

"I think consumers are really enjoying experiences where they can combine friends and family with some of their favorites. And certainly, as we look at our Hershey brands, Hershey, Reese's and Kit Kat are three of the best-selling brands of the holiday season," Buck told CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Buck said Hershey's core candy brands are stronger than ever, even as consumers increasingly shun packaged food products and opt for healthier choices. Sales of its core brands are up about 5 percent this year, and they saw similar results last year, said Buck, who took over in March.

Hershey has innovated new products within some of its core brands. It has introduced Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch and Hershey's and Reese's Popped Snack Mix and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels.

The company is also developing new packaging for its core candy brands. Hershey will replace lay-down bags with stand-up pouches in a few retailers in the fourth quarter before launching a broader rollout next year, Buck said last week on a call with investors.

Hershey has acquired brands such as barkTHINS snacking chocolate and Krave jerky on its quest to evolve from a confectionery company to a broader snacking company. The company will continue to try to expand its reach into new areas either through its core brands or more mergers and acquisitions, Buck said.

"Consumers have lots of different snacking needs. Sometimes during the day they're looking for a treat, and they know that confection is a treat. They see it for what it is. It's certainly not a center of the plate category," Buck said.

"I'm really focused on creating shareholder value, and for me that's about driving our core brands," she said. "It's about making sure we bring great innovation to the marketplace because that's what consumers are looking for."

However, the company is looking at adding Nestle's candy business to its portfolio.

Hershey is on track to deliver at the high end of its full-year target, Buck said. The company is forecasting adjusted earnings between $4.72 and $4.81 per share.

Hershey's stock has gained 1.3 percent this year. It was up 0.62 percent on Monday, closing at $104.73.