In 1889, Willoughby McCormick started bottling spices in his Baltimore basement.
In 2022, McCormick & Co. made $6.35B in sales. (Cue Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”)
A striking thing about McCormick…
… beside its signature red caps and vast portfolio of flavoring goodness — e.g., French’s, Frank’s RedHot, Cholula — is how it positions itself as a tech company.
At a conference last week, COO Brendan Foley went all Tim Cook on everyone:
- Innovation: McCormick expects 6x more new product launches YoY in 2023.
- Focus on design: Its updated packaging preserves freshness with a new “nitrogen flushing” procedure and tighter sealing “snap” cap.
- Iteration: Sales of McCormick’s larger spice bottles have increased 20% YoY since the pandemic started.
Because no tech company is complete without its own head-scratching jargon, Foley also hailed the company’s “category management mindset.”
None of this should be surprising…
… if only because McCormick was early to the AI party.
McCormick and IBM built SAGE — an AI system trained on decades of flavor chemistry, sensory science, and consumer data — to generate new taste combos.
Here’s the rub: SAGE-assisted products have been in supermarkets since 2019.
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