BOSTON — New marketing messages from McCormick & Co. will emphasize the “purity and freshness” of the company’s products, said Lawrence Kurzius, chief operating officer and president of the Sparks, Md.-based company.
“Our global procurement team goes right to the source, 40 countries around the world, to purchase the best spices and herbs,” Mr. Kurzius said during a Sept. 10 presentation at Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston. “We know the origin and control the quality of our products. This is an important point of differentiation for McCormick.”
Many of McCormick’s competitors in the spices and seasonings category buy from a broker or wholesaler, increasing the risk of contamination and product recall, Mr. Kurzius said. As an example, he cited an advisory from the Food and Drug Administration this past February that warned consumers of peanut shells found in ground cumin. McCormick issued a statement at the time to inform consumers that the company sources whole cumin seed, processes in peanut-free facilities, inspects every lot for extraneous matter, and treats spices through a steaming process.
|Lawrence Kurzius, c.o.o. and president of McCormick|
“We were able to reassure our consumers of the purity of our cumin,” Mr. Kurzius said. “Our message to consumers is that pure tastes better.”
To further build consumer trust and loyalty, McCormick recently announced that by next year more than 70% of its branded herbs, spices and extracts sold in the United States will bear non-G.M.O. labels. Additionally, 80% of the company’s Gourmet brand products will be organic, up from the current level of 10%.
“We see these moves, digital marketing, purity message, non-G.M.O. and organic, as a means to not only build our brand equity with consumers, but to further strengthen the value of our brand to our retail partners,” Mr. Kurzius said.
Forthcoming innovation underscores McCormick’s focus on fresh. Set to launch in the coming months is a new line called Herb Grinders, featuring such varieties as basil, oregano, parsley and Italian herb blend.
“The herbs are in larger pieces and gently dried through a proprietary process we developed that protects color and flavor,” Mr. Kurzius said. “The grinding process awakens the fresh herb flavor.”
In market testing, McCormick found two-thirds of consumers used the grinders every three days during meal preparation and at the table.
“This is a significant opportunity for us to convert consumers who currently purchase fresh packaged herbs to our new grinders.”
Within McCormick’s industrial business, the pace of innovation is even greater, he said.
“Think about the variety of new snacking products being introduced, especially snack bars or the number of limited-time menu items in restaurants,” Mr. Kurzius said. “Much of this innovation is being shaped by efforts to improve the health and wellness of products, whether it is a reduction in sodium or fat or sugar, or a move toward simpler ingredients.“In recent years, one-third of our new product projects have had some type of health and wellness attribute. While we have a number of competitors for our industrial business, McCormick's foundation in spices and herbs makes us a go-to partner for this type of product reformulation and innovation.”