In a challenging quarter overall, baking ingredients were a bright spot for the Hershey Co. in the second quarter ended June 28. In a prepared statement issued in connection with the quarterly results, Michele G. Buck, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company benefited from increases in home baking.

Sales of consumer baking ingredients jumped 41% in the quarter versus the same period a year earlier.

“This growth was across products, including syrup, baking chips, toppings and cocoa, as consumers spend more time at home together in the kitchen,” she said. “We have capitalized on this trend to sustain momentum, increasing marketing spend and generating more content and recipes for our consumers. This is important for the second half of the year, when baking takes on an even bigger role in US households.”

Hershey said the surge in baking ingredient sales contributed 1 percentage point to the company’s North American business growth, effectively accounting for all the segment’s sales gain in the quarter.

Hershey net income in the second quarter was $268.04 million, equal to $1.33 per share on the common stock, down from $313.84 million, or $1.54 per share, in the same period a year ago. Sales were $1.71 billion, down 3.4% from $1.79 billion. Results in the quarter included $1.37 million in business realignment benefits, versus $6.14 million in business realignment costs during the second quarter last year. Asset impairment charges in the year-ago quarter were about $3.1 million larger than in the second quarter of 2020. In New York Stock Exchange trading late July 23, Hershey shares rose $7.73, or 6%, to $146.19.