The JM Smucker company is a market leader of branded food products. It has built Smucker’s as its trademark which has become a household name. the JM Smucker company sells a different variety of food products including fruit spreads, peanut butter, baking goods, cooking oil etc. it has not only stopped to these only, but also in recent years the company has taken some measures to expand and diversify its portfolio by focusing on special markets, beverages and international sales.
In the special market segment, Smucker’s is selling products like natural and organic food items. (The J. M. Smucker Company- 2009 annual report, 2009, p. 1) The brands of Smucker’s are very much competitive in their respective fields. The reputation of the brands that Smucker’s are selling are so high that in almost nine of twelve markets in which the company is operating the brands have occupied first and second position in terms of their selling. Smucker’s has been serving the market of food products in the US for over 100 years.
One of the main reasons for its survival in this highly competitive market for such a long time and that too with a high reputation has been its ability to capitalize on broad market trends and focusing on the development of long term brand equity of its products. It has built trademarks like Pillsbury doughboy, Smucker’s picnic blanket etc. Apart from strengthening old brand names, the company has also been focusing pushing its growth through the launch of a large number of new products under old as well as new brand names.
An example of the company’s ability to capitalizing on current broad trend is to adopt the new trend of health and fitness in the production of its new products. In order to comply with the present generation’s fitness regime it is now producing various low-calorie, sugar-free and organic products. (Novelguide. com. n. d. ; The JM Smucker Company. n. d. ) This paper with analyze the business strategies of JM Smucker in light with its strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the firm is confronting. However, before examining its business strategy, it is necessary to look at the history of this company.
History of JM Smucker The business of the Smucker family started with the establishment of a cider mill in Ohio region by Jerome M. Smucker, the founder of the JM Smucker, in the year of 1897. he also started to produce and sell apple butter in local markets. His products were received by public so well that he expanded his business and founded the JM Smucker company in 1921. The company ventured into the food market by introducing a line of high quality food products. The company did not stop here only, it rode on an expansion spree.
In order to enter into other markets, Smuckers started to adopt the path of acquisition in 1979. For example, in 1979 Smucker’s acquired the branded product line of Dickinson, whereas in 1984 it purchased the full share of R. W. Knudsen Family Beverages in order to venture into the market for beverages and this process of acquisition continued thereafter. (Novelguide. com. n. d. ) In spite of expanding its businesses, JM Smuckers has still remained a family organization and is still focused on delivering high quality products to the consumers.
Primary Business strategy of JM Smucker and strategic actions taken by it: The primary business strategy of Smucker’s has been to own and market number one food brands in North America. Its strategy is to sell leading foods brands of North America in the center of the store. It sells product under the brand names of Pillsbury, Hungry Jack, Jif, Eagle brand, Crisco, Whilte Lily etc. in United sates and Bick’s, Five Roses, Robin Hood, etc. in Canada. The company’s core strategy has always been to sells its products through brand names. It has always invested on strengthening the company’s brand equity.
And in order strengthen the brand value of its products, it has never comprised the quality of the products. One of the distinguishing features and prime reasons for its survival is that Smucker’s has always emphasized on delivering high quality product to its customers. (Locher, 2008; Graves, T. 2008) In order to accomplish its generic business strategy, it has taken a number of strategic actions. However, in order to identify and evaluate these strategic choices it is necessary to look into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company.