Both Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ) and Hershey (NYSE:HSY) recently released first-quarter earnings. Here's what you need to know about each company's results and how they stacked up against each other.

Earnings growth
Mondelez reported earnings of $0.39 per share for the quarter, up 17% from the year-ago period. The maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolates is targeting adjusted full-year 2014 earnings per share up double digits over last year. Meanwhile, rival chocolatier Hershey brought in earnings of $1.15 per share for the first quarter, up 5.5% from the year-ago period. The maker of Reese's, Kit Kat, and Almond Joy is targeting a 9% to 11% increase in adjusted full-year earnings from 2013. 

Sales growth
Mondelez posted revenue growth of 2.8% in the first quarter, down 1.2% from the year-ago period. Mondelez's "power brands," which account for about 60% of company revenue and include the Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Wheat Thins, belVita, and Cadbury brands, grew 4.8% for the quarter. Mondelez expects full-year 2014 revenue growth to come in around 4%.

Meanwhile, Hershey posted organic sales growth of 3.2% in the first quarter, up 2.4% from the year-ago period. Hershey's growth stemmed from successful product innovations such as its Hershey Spreads, Lancaster Creme Caramels, Brookside Chocolate, and Kit Kat Minis. Hershey anticipates its full-year 2014 sales growth to come in between 5% and 7%. 

Growth from key overseas markets
Mondelez already derives a healthy 40% of sales from developing markets, but it's crucial to the company's long-term success for this percentage to grow. For the first quarter, Mondelez posted 6.7% revenue growth from emerging markets, led by solid performance in Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and Egypt. Yet that's down substantially from the 9.3% emerging-markets revenue growth for the year-ago quarter. The snack-food maker has some work to do in order to achieve its long-term target of double-digit growth in these key areas.

For now, Hershey obtains only about 17% of revenue from customers outside the U.S. However, the Pennsylvania-based candy maker has been gaining serious ground in international markets. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, international net sales rose 16% in 2013. Last year, Hershey increased net sales a combined 25% in China, Brazil, and Mexico. The maker of Reese's and Twizzlers is on track to achieve close to $1 billion of net sales in international markets by the end of 2014, an endorsement of its strategy of focusing investments in key markets such as Latin America and Asia.

Foolish takeaway
When looking at last quarter's results, it appears Mondelez can claim sweet victory in increasing earnings, but Hershey takes the cake in sales growth. As Mondelez sheds its coffee business and concentrates more on its snacks and sweets, as well as on cost-cutting, the company boasts plenty of long-term growth opportunities. But Hershey has been quick to gain market share and sales in attractive foreign markets. Stay tuned in coming quarters to see how these candy giants stack up against each other.

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Nicole Seghetti owns shares of Mondelez International. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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