Smuckers a Case Analysis

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Smuckers:
A Case Study Analysis
Rachel Gerhardt
Dickinson State University

The J.M. Smucker Company was founded in 1879 in Orville, Ohio by Jerome Monroe Smucker. Since the early beginnings of Smuckers, the company has been family owned and run to this day. The corporate strategy of the company has been aimed at growing the market, introducing new products, and making strategic acquisitions. This corporate strategy along with being a family run and orientated business has helped the company acquire and maintain their current stance as middle of the store product item giants. This growth has not been easy as the company has had to reinvent and deliver new items to the public. Smuckers has changed their strategy more than once in the past 133 years as the economy, products, and technologies have changed. In order to acquire more and maintain their current stance as the giant in the middle of the store, Smuckers will need to remain competitive and stay relevant with it’s strategies as a company.

One of the main strength’s Smuckers has to maintain their dominance is they are incredibly well known and experienced. Their advertisement, “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good,” establishes two characteristics for the company. One of the characteristics is being family owned and operated. This gives the consumer a sense of likability with a connection to family. The second characteristic is it is a well known name and brand. The well known name and brand is also a strength for the company. If your mother has bought Smuckers jelly since you were a child, chances are you will buy the product for your child.

Recently the country has started to become overwhelming occupied with weight management and the amount of sugar intake an individual has. Diabetes has also doubled in the past 30 years making sugar intake more of a focus. Smuckers has items in fruit spreads, peanut butter, snacks and sandwiches, ice cream toppings, and specialty items all of which are sugar based. Because of this focus, of the 142 products Smuckers produces (not counting Snack n Waffles; information was not available), 123 products have a substantial amount of sugar per serving with the remaining items being sugar free. This weakness in Smuckers’ products could potentially affect the company in the long term due to the increasing emphasis on weight management and a healthier lifestyle.

Since Smuckers has such high sugar gram content per serving with their items, they would have the opportunity to expand their products to offer more, tastier options that are sugar free to keep consumers and to help with the sugar issues. Also, because Smuckers has an aim at being in the middle of the store, they could develop more products to fill the needs of healthier options while retaining more shelf space in the middle of the store, or by partnering with retail grocery giants to have them market the options in more than just the breakfast isle.

A major threat for Smuckers is the increased price competition in the supermarket industry. Because supermarket chains can effectively market their own house-brand version of the same products as Smuckers at lower prices, Smuckers is left to either compete at a lower price or to continue to maintain their current prices and strategically develop a different plan to capitalize. Another threat to Smuckers is the shelf space that private label brands are obtaining from being in-house. This is a major issue for Smuckers because having the middle of the store location with good shelf space is the ultimate advertising, and end result before a consumer purchases the product.

The processed foods industry has and is still undergoing changes due largely to technology and trends around the country. Food companies that deal a large amount in processed foods have to compete with their competitors by making manufacturing tasks more automated and more technology rich. By making the...
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