The J.M. Smucker Company has been in the pet food and treat business for a long time, but its acquisitions of Big Heart Pet Brands in February 2015 and Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in May 2018 seem to have taken the product category to the next level. In fact, Smucker’s pet segment has grown to be the company’s most profitable product category in terms of net sales, beating the next largest category, coffee, by more than $204 million in net sales in the first quarter of its 2020 fiscal year.
The J.M. Smucker Company manages 13 pet food and treat brands. Among them are Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Natural Balance, Pup-Peroni and 9Lives. Milk-Bone is considered to be one of the company’s four core brands across all product categories — along with fruit spreads, Jif and Folgers — while offerings such as Nature’s Recipe and Nutrish offer quality and price differentiation in the company’s pet segment with more premium options at higher price points.
“With pet now positioned as our largest business, representing nearly 40% of sales, we have a strong portfolio of pet brands to capitalize on consumer trends,” said Mark Smucker, president and chief executive officer at The J.M. Smucker Company.
Smucker said at the 2019 Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) Conference that it expects Nutrish and Nature’s Recipe to deliver high growth over the next five years. The company said it plans to grow its dog food category through product innovation and strategic marketing, with Nutrish and Nature’s Recipe at the forefront of that effort. On the cat food side, the company reported a successful marketing campaign to develop new brand positioning for Meow Mix, which yielded a 4% increase in consumption year-over-year since it was implemented.
Throughout the company’s 2019 fiscal year, pet food and treat net sales totaled $2.9 billion. In the J.M. Smucker Company’s most recent financial statement, filed for the three months ended July 31, 2019, the company reported net sales for its pet segment totaled $669.9 million, representing roughly 38% of the company’s total revenue for the quarter. Within that segment, dog food sales totaled $295.6 million, followed by cat food at $195.9 million and pet snacks at $193.2 million.
Like many large manufacturers, company-wide sustainability is a priority for The J.M. Smucker Company as it strives to divert 95% of its waste from landfills, reduce water use intensity by 15% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 10% by 2020.
With a highly diverse portfolio of pet food and treat offerings ranging from value brands to premium pet specialty competitors, Smucker's is and will continue to be a force to reckon with in the United States pet market.
Read other pet food and treat company profiles featured in our 2019 Resource Guide.