Today, at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Florida, The J.M. Smucker Co. unveiled what it says is one of its most significant coffee growth initiatives to date—a new line of “premium” coffees intended to strengthen the company’s position in the fastest-growing market segments and serve as a platform for future growth and innovation.
The new line, 1850, draws on the heritage of The Folger Coffee Co., which was founded during the 1850s Gold Rush in California. According to the company, the line features a “bold but smooth taste” that it believes will appeal not only to traditional Folgers drinkers but to a younger generation of consumers that often prefer richer coffee blends.
“1850 allows us to build on our market-leading position in the at-home coffee category by strengthening our presence in premium, one-cup and ready to drink iced coffees, the fastest-growing product segments,” said Mark Smucker, Smucker Co. president and CEO. “1850 also validates our new approach to innovation—which includes an intense focus on consumer insights, careful product development and renewed attention to design and creative execution. This is central to our strategy of driving long-term growth while delivering an outstanding experience for consumers.”
Smucker Co. describes 1850 as an evenly roasted coffee made from a blend of 100 percent Arabica coffee beans fire-roasted and steel cut for a bold but smooth taste.
“We started with the idea of ‘bold,’” said Mark Smucker. “We wanted a bold coffee to address younger consumers’ preference for stronger coffee, but we also wanted a smooth coffee that isn’t bitter. We think we’ve hit the mark with 1850.”
Scheduled to hit store shelves in early April, 1850 will be available in four blends: Lantern Glow Light Roast; Pioneer Blend Medium Roast; Trailblazer Medium-Dark Roast; and Black Gold Dark Roast.
The name, 1850, and its craft brand imagery was inspired by the original packaging of The Folger Coffee Co. Special attention was paid to the design of the new packaging—which includes a waxed seal on the prepack bags—to strengthen its “stopping power” in retail aisles, says the company.
“Today’s consumer, particularly Millennials, gravitate to brands that have an authentic story to tell,” said Joe Stanziano, Smucker Co. SVP and GM, coffee. “What could be more authentic than the story of The Folger Coffee Company, which traces its roots to San Francisco during the Gold Rush? Our research shows that this heritage resonates very strongly with both our loyal consumers and Millennials.”
Initially available in roast and ground and whole bean prepack bags and K-Cup pods, the portfolio will expand with a ready-to-drink offering this summer.