HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. announced wholesale price increases across the majority of its U.S., Puerto Rico and export portfolio. The price hikes are expected to be a shade less than 10% and will span the company’s instant consumable, multi-pack, packaged candy and grocery lines.

“We remain committed to higher levels of global brand support, consumer spending and investment in go-to-market capabilities communicated in February,” said David J. West, president and chief executive officer. “We will work with our retail customers to ensure that the implementation of the price increase is supported with customer trade promotions and merchandising that continues to grow the category.

“Direct buying customers will be able to purchase transitional amounts of product into May, and we do not expect seasonal net price realization until Easter 2012. Given this timing and some higher-than-anticipated costs, we do not expect this action to materially impact our financial expectations this year. We expect the majority of the financial benefit from this pricing action to impact our earnings in 2012.”

The company also affirmed its full-year 2011 outlook of e.p.s. in the range of $2.54 to $2.63 per share.