What is the Difference between Folgers Coffee & Hills Brothers Coffee?

By Jae Chapman

Two early American coffee companies that both got their start in San Francisco, Folgers Coffee and Hills Bros. Coffee offer low-priced whole bean, ground, and instant coffees in supermarkets across the globe. These two companies are not the same.

Is that Folgers or Hills Bros. coffee?


Folgers Coffee was founded in 1850. Hills Bros. Coffee was founded in 1878. Both companies have changed names over the years.


Folgers Coffee can be credited with bringing roasted, ground, and ready to brew coffee to the masses. R.W. Hiills of Hills Bros. Coffee created the vacuum packing method still used to keep coffee fresh today.


Folgers Coffee has been a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble Company since 1963 and merged with J.M. Smucker Company in 2008. Hills Bros. coffee was purchased by Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA in 2005.


Coffee Review gives Folgers Coffee selections higher ratings on average than Hills Bros. Coffee. Reviews for both brands suggest uneven, mediocre coffee taste.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture, citing market research data, shows that Folgers is the most popular coffee brand in the United States with an average of 38 percent of the market share from 2000 to 2004. Coffee brands marketed by Sara Lee, one of which was Hills Bros., garnered 10 percent of the market from 2000 to 2004.