August 16/Chicago/Chicago Tribune-- Hershey Co. plans to raise prices on its products by an average of 11%, as it tries to stem the impact of soaring commodities costs, and it trimmed its projections for 2008 and 2009.

The candy company known for its chocolate bars and bite-sized Kisses said the immediate increase was necessary to offset "significant increases" in the cost of raw materials such as sugar, cocoa and peanuts -- up as much as 45% since the start of the year -- as well as the growing cost of fuel, utilities and transportation.

"Commodity costs have been volatile over the last several years and continue to remain at levels that are well above historical averages," Hershey's president and chief executive David J. West said.

The Hershey, Pa.-based chocolatier said its commodities costs will grow by more than $110 million this year -- a figure that could double in 2009.

From the August 18, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash