HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) _ Hershey Chocolate Co. says chocolate cravings are hitting the roof, so it has introduced Bar None in an effort to satisfy them.

Hershey officials said Wednesday the new chocolate bar is being distributed nationally after test-marketing in California.

President Joseph P. Viviano said the new product features a cocoa wafer, chocolate creme, peanuts and a milk chocolate coating. The last Hershey product introduced for national distribution was the Skor bar in 1983.

''We saw in the '80s ... that the interest in chocolate has exploded,'' said Tony Pingitore, the director of new development.

Bar None, he said, was created primarily for adults who are passionate about chocolate.

Pingitore said the company spends anywhere from $500,000 to $15 million on testing and development before introducing products on a national scale, but he declined to say how much was spent on Bar None.

Pingitore acknowledged that since chocolate consumption leveled off last year after several years of growth, the success of Bar None ''is going to be at the expense of other brands,'' including some of the 15 candy bars Hershey makes.

While Bar None, which will be made at the company's plant in Stuarts Draft, Va., had a successful test-marketing, Pingitore said another product is not doing as well as expected in testing in the Midwest. Grand Slam is made of chocolate, nuts, caramel and crisp rice.

''Most new food products fail,'' Pingitore said. ''Our goal is to minimize the risk of failure by doing our homework up front.''

Hershey Chocolate Co. is a division of Hershey Foods Corp., whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.