Josh Sosland 2019KANSAS CITY — Given the recent weakness in industry indicators, finding bright spots in the flour-based foods market often seems like a challenge. U.S. flour production in 2019 fell to a seven-year low, and year-to-year decreases in retail sliced bread sales have been widening. Still, an impressive piece of news was shared last week at the 2020  Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Fla.

Mark T. Smucker, president and chief executive officer of The J.M. Smucker Co., highlighted progress the company has made toward building Uncrustables into a half-billion-dollar-a-year brand by 2023. Mr. Smucker described the company’s new Colorado plant dedicated to Uncrustables production as the largest single-line bakery in the world. A second line will be installed this year, and a phase-two expansion is in the works. Mr. Smucker said he expects the expansion to allow Smucker to “support demand in all channels, including K-12.” Sales of Uncrustables, a business acquired by Smucker in 1999, reached $289 million last year, and business has been held back by production capacity constraints.

Additionally, Smucker is expanding Uncrustables from a line of frozen sandwiches into a platform, with plans to introduce thaw-and-eat roll-ups, including varieties of meat and cheese, and a line of heat-and-eat bites. It’s impossible to deny the pressure facing producers of traditional baked products. Similarly, the strength of the Uncrustables brand testifies powerfully to the continued potential for innovative grain-based foods.