J.M. Smucker Keeping Pace With the Ever-Evolving Coffee Consumer

J.M. Smucker Co., a leader in the at-home category, faces a challenge as coffee transitions from a morning staple to an all-day, customized, often cold beverage that may be more akin to a snack or dessert rather than a pick-me-up. The company’s largest business, coffee, generated $2.7 billion in sales and led the company by a wide margin with $738 million in segment profit in fiscal 2023.

Maintaining the company’s coffee business will require meeting consumers where they are today, which is much different than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Tina Meyer-Hawkes, vice president of liquid coffee venture, is charged with shepherding the company through the transition while maintaining its leading spot in the at-home space.

The good news is people like coffee, and Smucker has brands that play well in the category, whether it’s a mainstream value brand like Folgers or our partnership with Dunkin’ that meets the needs of consumers. The whole focus is on at-home consumption, and since COVID, people have started making their own cold coffees, creating a movement that changed the definition of coffee at home.

Smucker’s ready-to-pour business has accelerated, with its Dunkin’ concentrates product being a good example. Social media has propelled the trend toward customization, with Dalgona coffee, a Vietnamese coffee preparation, trending on Tik Tok.

Smucker’s process of serving all its coffee customers as a journey involves meeting the needs of consumers in the baby boomer/Gen Z demographic who tend to prefer a traditional hot cup of coffee to younger consumers who are seeking cold products and customization. Cold coffee is more versatile, and the young consumer sees themselves as almost an at-home barista creating cold coffee cocktails using different sweeteners, whipped cream, and other ingredients that add to the flavor and mouthfeel.

Smucker’s coffee strategy does not stop at cold coffee innovations or coffee as an ingredient. The company is planning to expand its reach into liquid products, both with smaller Bustelo single-serve options and multi-serve, shelf-stable Dunkin’ Cold Brew items found in the normal coffee aisle.

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