There aren’t many companies or brands more iconic than Campbell Soup Co. The 150-year-old company’s flagship brand, along with others such as Prego, Pace, Swanson, V8, Pepperidge Farm, Kettle Brand, Snyder’s and Lance, can be found in virtually every U.S. household. However, a deep penetration rate and iconic status alone don’t equate to growth in today’s CPG world.
"How are we going to grow the store traffic and the share of market with our customers? That’s what they want to talk about. And to do that, how do we work more efficiently so more of our dollars can be working to drive demand?”
The shift is evident in new marketing campaigns connecting with Millennials and the clean-label trend. However, some re-education is required because consumers may perceive product quality as low or unhealthy. Ironically, a product like V8 is arguably the original plant-based beverage, and soups such as classic tomato, with six tomatoes in each can, or even chicken noodle possess relatively few ingredients. Campbell is addressing these quality and healthfulness perceptions with new advertising, which Clouse maintained has shown promising early results.
Campbell is also benefiting from being a major player in certain categories that align with trends, like the phenomenon of quick-scratch cooking and strong sales of home-cooking appliances that facilitate the trend.
“For years, we talked about people’s departure from cooking, but what’s happening is consumers are actually coming back to what we call quick-scratch cooking, which is simple combinations of ingredients to create a meal,” Clouse said.
Other forms of innovation relate to applying new trends to existing brands. For example, Campbell is introducing a plant-based Bolognese sauce and is exploring soups with plant-based chicken ingredients to capitalize on a trend that Clouse sees as among the biggest in food.
Reshaping the Aisle
Snacking is also an area ripe for innovation, but in less obvious ways, with new usage occasions for products like nutrient-dense sippable bone broths. These protein-laden products can serve as lower-calorie alternatives to protein bars, or even replace an afternoon trip to Starbucks, if enhanced with green tea extract for a caffeine boost.