J.M. Smucker looks to leverage Smucker's, Jif brands

by Eric Schroeder
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Smucker's Uncrustables
Smucker’s investment in its Uncrustables brand has included adding production lines to accommodate increased production.

BOSTON — For the J.M. Smucker Co., a lot of attention over the past year has focused on growing the company’s pet foods and pet snacks business, which received a boost last year when the company acquired Big Heart Pet Brands in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $5.8 billion. But the company’s food portfolio has not been abandoned.

In a Sept. 6 presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference, Mark Smucker, president and chief executive officer of the Orrville, Ohio-based company, said the growth of the Smucker’s brand remains a key priority.

Mark Smucker
Mark Smucker, president and c.e.o. of Smucker

“In 2016 the brand achieved net sales up nearly $775 million across all categories and business areas,” Mr. Smucker told analysts. “What may be surprising is that less than half of the sales were derived from the retail fruit spreads category. Fruit spreads remains a solid category with overall sales growth of nearly 2% this past year, and we continue to gain market share with authentic innovation such as our recently introduced Smucker’s Fruit & Honey product line.”

To achieve the growth objectives for the Smucker’s brand that the company envisions, Mr. Smucker said it must continue to leverage products outside the fruit spreads category. He specifically mentioned a product with strong grain-based foods ties: Smucker’s Uncrustables frozen sandwiches.

“In 2000, the product line was generating approximately $10 million in annual sales,” he said. “Repositioning the product under the Smucker’s brand and significantly investing in capacity and production capabilities have been critical to growing it into a $200 million business. With current household penetration at only 7%, we continue to invest in capacity to meet expected future demand.”

Smucker's Jif To Go and Jif Dippers
Smucker has grown the Jif brand outside its core category with products such as Jif To Go and Dippers.

Smucker’s investment in the Uncrustables brand has included the addition of production lines at its Scottsville, Ky., manufacturing plant to accommodate increased production of Uncrustables branded products.

In addition to the Smucker’s brand, Mr. Smucker said the company is growing the Jif brand “inside and out of its core category.”

“With 2016 net sales of approximately $620 million, Jif remains the third-largest brand in our overall portfolio,” he explained. “When we acquired the brand, the peanut butter category primarily consisted of creamy and crunchy varieties in a jar. Since then we have significantly grown and transformed the category to include new varieties, flavors and convenience options, leveraging the strong Jif brand equity and innovation.”

Smucker's Jif bars
The introduction of Jif bars has taken the brand further into the snacking category.

Innovation with Jif has taken the brand outside the peanut butter category with a particular focus on opportunities within snacking.

“Building on our previous success with Jif To Go and Dippers, last year we introduced Jif snack bars as we entered the $5.5 billion and growing snack bar category, and we also launched Jif Peanut Powder,” Mr. Smucker said. “Jif along with Smucker’s Uncrustables and more recently the addition of Sahale Snacks have all been key components of our initiative to build a company-wide snacking platform. Across all of our consumer brands products that we categorize as snacking are expected to account for nearly $340 million in net sales in 2017, increasing at an annualized growth rate of 17% since 2012. We look forward to sharing more news about our snacks pipeline as we move ahead.” 
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