The Reason Folgers Coffee Is Making A Comeback

When Bloomberg calls it, it's official. The cronut-loving, avocado-toast consuming, Aperol spritz ordering generation have adopted another food trend. Millennials have started drinking Folgers Coffee. We'll give you a moment to be properly shocked. It's true, at least according to JM Smucker Co., the company that owns Folgers. Its chief executive officer, Mark Smucker, recently reported that 1.3 million new households sampled the parent company's coffee products during a three month period corresponding to the COVID-19 lockdown. Of the coffee products that JM Smucker Co. owns, Folgers was the brand that benefited from the surge in popularity the most. That's not small news, especially when you take into account that JM Smucker Co. also sells coffee brands like Dunkin' and Cafe Bustelo. 

In hindsight, it's not particularly surprising that the pandemic led to a bump in Folgers' sales. According to a recent Mr. Coffee-sponsored survey, 57 percent of us have used the coronavirus quarantine to hone our at-home coffee-making capabilities. We've become, says Mr. Coffee, "quaristas" (quarantine baristas), and a good 66 percent of us say we will continue to rely on our new "quarista" talents to keep making coffee from the comfort of our own kitchens, even when it's business as usual for our favorite coffee joints. 

Behind Folgers' quest to attract Millennial coffee drinkers

It's a golden opportunity for Folgers, one they don't plan on wasting. Smucker told Bloomberg that the company is now busy "revamping" its image, in an attempt to hold onto "as many of these new households as possible." In reality, it's something that Folgers has been trying to do since 2018. Then, Folgers made waves by releasing their 1850 line, comprised of premium, artisanal coffee designed to tell the story of Folgers' Gold Rush origins. "Today's consumer, particularly millennials, gravitate to brands that have an authentic story to tell," brand senior vice president Joe Stanziano said in a press release. 1850 was designed, said Smucker, to stand out from the company's more traditional offerings. "We wanted a bold coffee to address younger consumers' preference for stronger coffee, but we also wanted a smooth coffee that isn't bitter." Did it work? If it's anything to go by, the Reddit message board r/Coffee certainly noticed. A thread dedicated to the new approach racked in 223 comments before it was archived.

In December 2019, the coffee label that we once associated with our great-aunts and uncles posted to their Instagram account for the first time. Its social media team talks in Millennial-targeted coffee lingo, advertising premium "noir" blends, gushing about "complex roasts," and yes, describing "bold and smooth flavors." Folgers even borrowed a page from Starbucks' playbook and started posting recipes for specialty drinks. Millennials, if you're thirsting after a "delicious caramel macchiato frappe," Folgers has officially got you covered.