Emerging brands to play greater role at J.M. Smucker

by Keith Nunes
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Smucker - Sahale Snacks, Santa Cruz Organic
Emerging brands within Smucker's portfolio include Sahale Snacks and Santa Cruz Organic.

BOSTON — While such mainstream brands as Smucker's, Jif, Folgers and Milk-Bone may be the J.M. Smucker Co.’s most well-known brands, the company is investing in and innovating more behind many of its emerging brands. These brands extend the company’s reach into the snacking, natural and organic food and beverage categories.

Mark Smucker
Mark Smucker, president and c.e.o. of the J.M. Smucker Co.

“No. 1 and leading brands remain foundational to our strategy,” said Mark Smucker, president and chief executive officer, on Sept. 6, during a presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference. “But we also recognize that the consumer through digital and social media wields more influence than in the past and authentic emerging brands also play an important role in the market. Our evolved strategic vision reflects this consumer shift and highlights the need to strike the right balance between No. 1 brands and smaller on-trend brands.”

Emerging brands within the company’s portfolio include Sahale Snacks, Café Bustelo coffee, truRoots ancient grains and Santa Cruz Organic. The company expects its natural and organic platform will deliver sales of approximately $350 million in fiscal 2017. By comparison, the company generated $7,811.2 million during fiscal 2016, ended April 30.

“We continue to adapt to the evolving consumer landscape to ensure that our brands and products remain the preferred choice across multiple generations,” Mr. Smucker said. “This is the driving force behind our growing focus and presence in two areas that are increasingly on-trend with consumers: the natural and organic space and snacking.

Smucker, TruRoots
Smucker hopes to expand its presence in ancient grains through its truRoots brand.

“These (natural and organic) products span a number of categories, including natural varieties of peanut butter and fruit spreads, our long history of leadership in natural and organic beverages and an expanding presence in ancient grains through the truRoots brand,” Mr. Smucker said.

The company made clear during the presentation that it may have an appetite to add more such businesses to its portfolio. Discussing mergers and acquisitions, Mark Belgya, chief financial officer, said opportunities may include snacking, building on the company’s acquisition of Sahale Snacks or in the natural organic space. Earlier this year, Smucker took a minority stake in Numi, Inc., Oakland, Calif., a maker of premium, fair trade and organic teas.

“ … There are a number of attractive assets in the coffee and pet areas, particularly as we look to capitalize on premiumization trends in both of these categories,” he said.

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