Sorry Coffee Snobs, America’s Favorite Is Still Folgers

BusinessWeek
Coffee Prices Rise For U.S. Consumers
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 24: Packages of Folgers coffee are displayed on a shelf at Cal-Mart Market on May 24, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Smuckers, who makes Folgers and Dunkin Donuts coffee announced today that they will raise prices close to 11 percent on U.S. coffee products. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Trendy brands such as Starbucks and Green Mountain may now be taking up more space on supermarket shelves, but Americans still buy more Folgers coffee than any other brand. JM Smucker, the jelly company that also manufactures Folgers and packaged Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (as well as smaller bands Millstone, Café Pilon, and Café Bustelo), increased its volume coffee sales in the U.S. by 4 percent last quarter.

Folgers remains the country’s leading brand, with an average 15.6 percent share of the U.S. market, by volume, from May to July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Maxwell House came in second with 10 percent. Private labels ranked third, followed by Green Mountain with 4.3 percent. Starbucks held only 3.3 percent.

So the jingle-happy brand founded in 1850 still resonates with consumers. It was the top coffee brand of the year in the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend rankings. Volume sales of Folgers from May to July increased by 4 percent.

JM Smucker’s other brands are growing, too: sales of Dunkin’ Donuts packaged coffee rose by 6 percent during the period. Café Pilon also made “solid gains,” said chief executive Richard Smucker during an earnings call on Wednesday. Last fiscal year, JM Smucker’s U.S. coffee sales reached $2.3 billion, about flat from the previous year but up from $1.9 billion in fiscal 2011.

The company attributed part of the jump last quarter to marketing efforts, such as a Folgers’s jingle contest in June that resulted in this folksy song about coffee and sunrises, and an aroma that “fills the room and inspires life.” (See below.) “This very successful event continues to utilize digital platforms to expand the reach of the Folgers brand among millennial consumers,” explained Chief Operating Officer Vincent Byrd. That’s important, especially for a company that’s also known for sponsoring the Today Show‘s centenarian shout-outs.

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