Despite preserving a quaint and picturesque image, Smucker’s hasn’t been having a smooth go of it with consumers recently. As taste buds continually turn towards healthier ingredients and online options, the peanut butter brand is tweaking its marketing approach to lure digital consumers.
To begin making the transition over to the digital side, Smucker’s has sold some of its brands, including nostalgic baking brand Pillsbury, and bumped up its marketing budget by $80 million. But once the company carves a spot for itself online, it will have to ensure that digital shoppers like what they see. After getting roasted for a questionable artificial ingredient in its Uncrustables product, the label might not sit well with health-conscious online shoppers.
Highlighting the trend toward healthier ingredients, vegan, low-sugar, and low-carb searches grew by 64%, 36%, and 18% this year respectively, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food. Additionally, unbranded searches grew 10% year over year, twice as fast as branded searches across all categories. This indicates that consumers are more willing than ever to swap out old favorites for new, untried brands if it means healthier ingredients.
If Smucker’s wants to boost the breadth of its audience, online is an opportunity to engage with, unite, and retain die-hard fans. More progressively, online platforms present the chance to modernize product aspects, such as ingredients, to a crowd that’s currently not committed to any one brand—especially since Smucker’s already has a history of beating out competitors in unbranded search visibility across major e-commerce platforms including Amazon Fresh, Walmart, and Kroger.