Campbells, Smucker and B&G Foods See COVID-19 Sales Surge

Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse

The impact of pandemic pantry loading continues to show up in the financial reports of major consumer goods companies with the latest examples involving Campbell Soup Company, J.M. Smucker Company and B&G Foods. All three reported exceptionally strong sales growth during their recently ended quarterly periods.

“In the (third) quarter, we experienced unprecedented broad-based demand across our brands as consumers sought food that delivered comfort, quality and value,” said Mark Clouse, Campbell’s president and CEO. “Campbell’s products were purchased by millions of new households, with total company household penetration increasing over six percentage points in the quarter compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2019.”

Campbell’s said sales increased 15% to $2.24 billion during the company’s third quarter ended April 26 and were driven in large part by a 35% increase in soup sales, ready-to-eat, condensed and broth. Soup products are included in Campbell’s meals and beverage division, which saw a 20% sales increase and also includes brands such as Prego, V8, Pace and Swanson.

Growth of products in the meals and beverage division were tempered by a slower pace of growth in snacks and reduced demand among foodservice clients. Campbell said its snack division, which includes brands such as Goldfish, Pepperidge Farm, Kettle Brand, Cape Cod and Snyder’s of Hanover, grew sales 9%.

Also enjoying strong sales for its fourth quarter ended April 30 was J.M. Smucker Company. Its total sales increased 10% to slightly more than $10 billion. A key driver of the growth was the U.S. retail foods division, with brands such as Smucker, Uncrustables, Crisco and Jif, where sales increased 22% to $480 million as a result of what president and CEO Mark Smucker called the company’s strong response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our strong response is reflected in our exceptional fourth quarter results, with record-setting net sales and adjusted earnings per share. This exceptional growth is a testament to the strength of our brands and consumer-centric strategy, as consumers turned to trusted products to stock their kitchens as stay-at-home orders were implemented across North America."

As with Campbell, sales growth at J.M. Smucker was tempered be slower growth in divisions such as pet, coffee and international The company’s U.S. pet division, with notable brands such as Meow Mix, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Natural Balance and Rachael Ray Nutrish, grew sales 6% to $767 million. The U.S. retail coffee division, with brands such as Folders, Dunkin' Donuts and Café Bustelo, grew sales 11% to $581.6 million.

Meanwhile, at B&G Foods, parent company of brands such as B&M, Cream of Wheat, Dash, Green Giant, Ortega and Polaner, said sales for its first quarter ended March 28 increased 8.9% to $449.4 million. The increase included an $18.9 million benefit from the prior year acquisition of the Clabber Girl brand.

“The onset of the terrible COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant stay-at-home orders throughout the country drove significant changes in consumers’ lives requiring them to cook and eat at home,” B&G Foods president and CEO Kenneth Romanzi said. “This drove a significant increase in consumption across our portfolio of brands beginning in mid-March that has continued into early May. As a result, we had a very positive first quarter that was ahead of our expectations and have strong momentum entering the second quarter.”

The strength of that momentum was evident on June 3 when the company releases sales for the first and second months of its second quarter showing increases of more than 50%. Sales for the first two months of the second quarter of 2020 increased 57.6% to $349.0 million and then just looking at the four week period ended May 23 the company said sales increased 50.5% to $160.1 million.

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