When Hershey, Pa.-based The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) decided to start up its first entirely new candy brand in 30 years, it reached way back for its idea.

Lancaster Hershey

Hershey's newest candy: Lancaster caramel soft cremes. Source: The Hershey Company.

On Thursday, Hershey announced the introduction of the Lancaster brand of soft caramel candies, harking back to the company's foundation, when Milton Hershey established The Lancaster Caramel Co. in the Pennsylvania town of the same name in 1886. The company says its new candy, which should debut in America in January, offers a "long-lasting and unique taste experience that is distinct from the typical caramels that dominate the category."

Hershey noted in its press release that it has already introduced the new candy in China. Hershey said this was the first time in its 120-year history that the company has launched a new brand outside the U.S. first. This is the first time in three decades the company has launched a new brand that is not a brand extension or acquisition.

The "soft, rich and creamy" Lancaster candy will initially be offered in three flavors in the U.S. -- caramel, vanilla and caramel, and vanilla and raspberry. The company plans to sell it at all the usual drug, grocery, and convenience store outlets, and to offer the candy in either 4 oz. bags retailing for $2.49, or 8 oz. bags for $3.99.

"China and the U.S. are major focus markets for the company," Steven Schiller, senior vice president of sweets and refreshment, told The Associated Press. China is the second-largest sweets market behind the U.S., he added.

Caramel is also a fast-growing category globally, Schiller said, growing faster than chocolate and other non-chocolate candies.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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