Following a fraught second quarter (Q2) for the J.M. Smucker Company, president and chief executive officer, Mark Smucker, pointed out a bright spot in the performance of the Uncrustables brand. Despite higher input costs and supply chain struggles, the company saw quarterly sales growth fueled by the market strength of its beloved crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
During an earnings call to discuss Q2 financial results, Smucker said the Uncrustables brand contributed to the company’s “strong top-line growth” in the quarter. “Net sales for Uncrustables sandwiches grew 21 percent, driven by higher pricing and volume/mix growth,” Smucker said. “Total company net sales of Uncrustables sandwiches were $168 million this quarter.”
A childhood favorite and nostalgic snack for many, Uncrustables are premade sandwiches that are bought frozen and then thawed out before consuming. They’re cut into circles, leaving behind the crust and sealed before being individually wrapped. While the original sandwich came with Smucker’s jelly and Jif peanut butter, they now come with a variety of fillings, including hazelnut spread and honey and turkey and colby jack bites.
J.M. Smucker initially bought the brand in 1998 and started selling Uncrustables in stores in 2000. Since then, the company has worked hard to grow the business over the past 22 years. At the time, the sandwiches accounted for $10 million in sales and steadily rose to account for an impressive $430 million in sales last year.
In 2004, Smucker opened a facility in Kentucky to meet growing demand from schools and day-care centers. The company opened a second facility in 2019 to double the capacity for sandwich making. Since the company still could not keep up with demand for Uncrustables in 2022, Smucker expanded production at facilities in Colorado and Alabama in order to double capacity again.
So, why have Uncrustables been in constant demand for the better part of 20 years? Perhaps the brand’s success can be partially attributed to its ingredients. J.M. Smucker produces the jellies, peanut butters and fresh bread that go into the sandwiches, which is why they can stand up to their homemade counterparts.
Convenience is another key factor. Uncrustables can be taken out of the freezer in the morning, put in a lunchbox for school and be thawed by lunchtime. The sandwiches are also individually wrapped, easy to pack, have balanced nutrition and help solve problems for busy parents.
Not to mention, unlike many consumer-packaged goods (CPGs), Uncrustables didn’t see a drop in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite many kids learning from home. While sales to parents continued, both hospital workers and first responders started gravitating towards the sandwiches as well.
Although consistently strong demand is all a company could dream of, Uncrustables also faces supply shortages and doesn’t always have enough product on the shelves for consumers to purchase. The company believes upping supply will get the sandwiches into more customers’ hands.
Currently, Smucker’s only $1 billion brand is Folgers coffee. However, the company expects Uncrustables, as well as its other coffee brand, Dunkin’, to grow to that size as well.