Although it is virtually unknown outside North America, Folgers is nonetheless the single biggest packaged coffee brand in the United States, worth around $2bn a year in sales. Though its position has reduced a little in recent years, it still dominates the ground coffee sector with around 25% share, double its nearest rival. In fact, Folgers' predecessor business Pioneer Steam Coffee almost single-handedly created the US coffee industry in the late 19th century as the first company to sell ready-ground java to prospectors setting out from San Francisco to the Alaskan Gold Rush. Almost 100 years later, it was also the first US company to sell instant coffee. But consumer tastes are changing fast, and Folgers has come under threat from a whole rash of specialty blends and hybrid coffee spin-offs, as well as the all-conquering force of Starbucks. For many years the brand was one of the biggest products in the portfolio of consumer giant Procter & Gamble. However it became an increasingly uncomfortable fit with the rest of that business, and in 2008 P&G announced plans to divest it. Folgers was acquired by food company JM Smucker, which already owned other ex-P&G products including Jif peanut butter and the country's best-selling fruit preserves. Smucker has since expanded into pet foods as well with a 2015 deal to acquire Big Heart Pet Brands, but Folgers remains its biggest-selling brand. It is accompanied by America's #4 best-selling ground coffee brand Dunkin' (around 8% share in 2019). This was acquired at the same time from P&G and is used under license from the Dunkin coffee shop chain. Smuckers also markets Latin-style espresso brand Cafe Bustelo and Folgers' premium spin-offs 1850 and Simply Gourmet. All these brands derive a considerable proportion of their sales from K-Cups capsules produced for Keurig coffeemakers. Smucker is the second largest producer of K-Cup pods after format owner Keurig Dr Pepper. Joe Stanziano is general manager of JM Smucker's coffee division. Coffee - primarily Folgers - contributed 32% of Smucker's total sales in the year to Apr 2020, or $2.5bn. It was overtaken as the group's biggest business in 2018 by pet foods, but coffee is still more profitable.
Capsule checked 16th December 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Nov 2019: "Quality That's Criminal". Publicis North America's dedicated PSOne agency, serving food and beverage business JM Smucker, has a dauntingly broad brief. It has to straddle multiple bases ranging from Folger's coffee to Smucker's preserves to petfoods Meow Mix and Milk-Bone. Yet early signs are very positive, especially on the creative front. This extended film for Folger's high-end 1850 coffee is great, and very funny. We've seen police parodies before, and coffee parodies too, but never in the same ad. PSOne has squeezed plenty of clever new gags out of an old concept, and is also arguably breaking new ground for a client more generally associated with more pedestrian marketing. "This work is the result of the most incredible client/agency relationship I've ever been a part of," says PSOne ECD Erica Roberts. "Five months ago, we had a completely different campaign for 1850. It was solid and smart, but it was safe. And there was no way that it would break through in the way we needed. So while on set during a different JM Smucker Company production, our teams sat down and decided to blow up the current work and start over. It meant walking away from months of creative development and consumer testing, and that we'd only have three weeks to land on a new campaign. It paid off." We tend to agree.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Feb 2015: In a significant expansion of its existing business, spreads and coffee company JM Smucker has agreed to acquire America's third-biggest pet food marketer Big Heart Pet Brands for $3.2bn (or $5.8bn including Big Heart's debt). The target company was known as Del Monte Foods until it sold its fruit and veg operations last year. Brands include Meow Mix, Milk-Bone and Natural Balance. "With approximately two-thirds of US households having at least one family pet, we will now be able to serve the mealtime and snacking needs of the whole family," said Smucker CEO Richard Smucker. It is the second transformational acquisition for what was once a small family-owned jam-maker. In 2008 it added Procter & Gamble's mammoth Folgers coffee business.
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