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Millennials are fueling a comeback for Folgers coffee, the century-old canned coffee brand embraced by their Boomer parents

  • Millennials, who have traditionally sought out higher-end coffee brands, are helping fuel growth for Folgers, Bloomberg reports.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to stockpiling that benefitted the packaged food industry. 
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Millennials are helping fuel growth for Folgers coffee, Bloomberg reports. 

"Believe it or not, they [millennials] do drink Folgers," J.M. Smuckers CEO Mark Smucker told Bloomberg.

J.M. Smuckers owns Folgers, the ground and instant coffee brand known for the tagline dating back to the 1980s calling it "the best part of waking up," 

J.M. Smuckers also owns several brands across coffee, snacks, and pet products, including Snausages, Dunkin', and Crisco.

Smucker told Bloomberg that Folgers was "one of the brands in our portfolio that benefited the most from the pandemic," as people increasingly opted to make coffee at home.

The company in April increased its annual sales and profit forecast as consumers stocked up on nonperishable packaged foods, including Folgers coffee.

It also reportedly increased production at all of its manufacturers. J.M. Smuckers' stock has increased by 12% this year.

According to Bloomberg, over a three-month period, 1.3 million new households bought Folgers, and now the company is focused on trying to keep those new customers. Smucker also noted that growth has slowed since the pandemic began, although uncertainty about future lockdowns means it could grow once again.

Before COVID-19 changed the way people shop and eat, Folgers was largely losing out on millennial coffee drinkers to gourmet brands and single-serve Keurig products, which consumers of that generation tended to prefer to the inexpensive containers sold by Folgers, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2018.

That year, Smuckers invested millions in a higher end coffee that sold at nearly twice the price of traditional Folgers, called 1850 by Folgers. The goal of the new line was to rebrand Folgers using imagery evoking its early roots in Gold Rush-era San Francisco, executives told the Journal.

Now, pandemic-related stay-at-home orders have worked in Folgers' favor with millennial buyers. The packaged-coffee industry has also had some immunity from COVID-19-related supply-chain issues that rocked other industries. Smucker told Bloomberg that he expects the supply chain to hold up through a second wave of infections and panic buying, if there is one. 

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