ORRVILLE, OHIO — The only barrier to further growth for the Uncrustables brand of the J.M. Smucker Co. “is our ability to supply product,” said John P. Brase, the company’s chief operating officer. In a Dec. 10 investor day call, Mr. Brase called Uncrustables brand the fastest growing part of Smucker’s consumer foods business.
Net sales of the Uncrustables brand rose 26% to reach $365 million in fiscal-year 2020, and net sales were up 22% in the first two quarters of this fiscal year, Mr. Brase said.
Within the frozen aisle, Uncrustables frozen sandwiches have top quartile velocities, Mr. Brase said, “with 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit dollar consumption growth.” The brand achieved 29% growth in households over the past year, hitting 10% household penetration.
“Even with this impressive growth, Uncrustables still represents just 15% of PB&J occasions at home, demonstrating significant opportunity for continued growth,” he said.
A plant expansion is underway in Longmont, Colo., which should help the company meet demand for Uncrustables.
“Over the last several years, we made substantial investments to expand our production,” Mr. Brase said. “However, demand continues to exceed our capacity to produce. We have been capacity constrained at times during 7 of the past 10 years on Uncrustables. A new production line will be operational next month, and we’ve accelerated phase two of the plant expansion in Longmont, with construction to begin early next calendar year, providing capacity to exceed our $500 million net sales target in fiscal-year 2023.”
The combination of increased capacity, marketing investments and pricing should help the Uncrustables brand record double-digit growth over the next several years, he added. Increasing production capacity is not the only lever Smucker will have to grow the Uncrustables business, Mr. Brase said.
“We’ve never turned on marketing on Uncrustables,” he said. “Marketing coupled with smart strategic pricing I think unlocks tremendous opportunities for the Uncrustables.”
Smucker’s ability to devote resources to the Uncrustables and spreads businesses has been boosted by the company’s decision to divest less promising businesses, Mr. Brase said.
“Peanut butter and jelly is America's No. 1 lunch sandwich,” he said. “It is also a popular comfort food. Why? Because it’s a simple and comforting indulgence that is easy to make and provides delicious balanced nutrition.”
Geoff E. Tanner, chief marketing and commercial officer, said Uncrustables has gained momentum because of changing consumption habits triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Lunch is seeing the biggest disruption, which is accelerating our Uncrustables and our spreads businesses,” he said.