Campbell Looking to Provide 'Taste Adventure'

Dual mandate: expand into higher-growth spaces, maintain strength of core business

Denise Morrison

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- "Our plans for stabilizing and rebuilding the profitability of our Soup & Simple Meals business in North America are working," Campbell Soup Co. president and CEO Denise Morrison said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Fla., providing an update on the company's progress against its strategies to return the company to sustainable, profitable top-line growth.

Under Morrison's leadership, Campbell has focused on three key growth strategies, it said: Stabilize and then profitably grow North America soup and simple meals; expand the company's international presence; and continue to drive growth in healthy beverages and baked snacks.

"To realize our strategic vision, we must fulfill a dual mandate," Morrison said. "We committed ourselves to work diligently and creatively to expand into higher-growth spaces, to engage with new consumers and to build our business in new geographies. But at the same time, it is imperative that we maintain the strength of our core business and our intense engagement−over many, many decades−with our loyal consumer base."

In its U.S. Soup & Simple Meals business, Campbell is rebuilding strength in the core and investing in innovation to maintain the appeal and excitement of its brands with new recipes and line extensions that provide "taste adventure."

Morrison also described efforts in other parts of the business, including Healthy Beverages. Campbell said it plans to introduce V8 V-Fusion Refreshers, a new line that offers a crisper, lighter taste for consumers seeking greater refreshment. The company will continue to build on its launch last fiscal year of V8 V-Fusion + Energy, a line of energy drinks made with green tea, as well as new products to drive continued growth in its Global Baking & Snacking business.

Morrison highlighted Campbell's breakthrough innovation efforts as a key driver for accelerated growth. This innovation process led to Campbell's Go soups and Campbell's Skillet Sauces, introduced earlier this fiscal year.

The Campbell's Skillet Sauces line represents the first entrant in a platform of dinner sauces the company has planned. While Campbell's Skillet Sauces target the stovetop, the next set of Campbell's products in this range will feature slow cookers, which are now in more than 80% of U.S. households and used to prepare nearly 500 million meals per year. Sold in pouch packages, the new line of Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces will be available later this year in four to five varieties, including Sweet Korean BBQ.

Morrison noted that Campbell's acquisition of Bolthouse Farms provides the foundation for a new platform to accelerate growth, with its market-leading positions in the super-premium beverages segment.

"Bolthouse Farms gives us strong credentials in the packaged fresh category in the retail perimeter--a terrain much broader than beverages and salad dressings. We've identified some very compelling opportunities in this arena and we're developing plans to pursue them," said Morrison. Packaged fresh is a $12 billion category with a growth rate estimated to be 6% to 7%–well ahead of the food industry average.

Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup is a manufacturer and marketer of foods and simple meals, including soup and sauces, baked snacks and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm, Arnott's and V8