Take the survey!

brand challenges

Campbell's Soup Can't Seem to Find Slurp-Happy Consumers

Posted by Dale Buss on May 21, 2014 06:17 PM

Campbell's has tried just about every which way to get Americans to eat more soup over the last three years under new CEO Denise Morrison: Aim at Millennials and Latin Americans; cut salt; add taste; try new shelf-stable packaging; hold prices steady; cut prices.

The bottom line is that none of it seems to be working all that well. The Campbell Soup Company reported that sales of its soups in channels measured by SymphonyIRI declined by more than 1 percent in the 52 weeks ended April 27 while the category as a whole declined by 0.6 percent. So not only is Campbell's seeing declining US consumption of soup but it also is losing share of that lower intake.

Morrison professed on a conference call to have a handle on the situation, but she also lowered Campbell’s sales expectations for the coming months.

“I can assure you that we are examining the same questions that you [analysts] are, and we are formulating the most effective responses,” she said.

Analysts have concluded that Americans, especially younger generations, simply aren’t that turned on by the traditional hot-soup format, as much as Campbell's and other brands have dressed it up with chunky varieties, lower-sodium versions, organic and natural soups and the zesty flavors that Campbell's introduced a couple of years ago as Go Soup, which included varieties like Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda. it even partnered with Keurig Green Mountain to bring soup varieties to K-Cups, but it’s difficult for a company with the middle name “Soup” to give up on the category. 

Morrison did say that some types of soup sold OK during the period, including just-introduced “pub-inspired” Chunky, Healthy Request and Latin-inspired condensed soups. Some of those were inspired, in turn, by Campbell’s acquisition last year of Plum Organics, whose specialty has been kids’ snacks.

The CEO claimed that a huge factor in the results was “the persistence of an exceptionally challenging consumer environment” featuring American households suffering from continuing underemployment, rising costs and reductions in the food-stamp program. At the same time, however, Campbell's customers weren’t sufficiently incented by an emphasis on price discounting and other promotional activities that the brand used to try to lure them past their financial concerns.

Growth by Plum products and also by Bolthouse Farms, the vegetable-growing outfit in California that the company acquired a couple of years ago, were bright spots, Morrison said. In addition to a “spring innovation suite” of 47 new products, Bolthouse also is getting its first major investments by Campbell's in advertising the brand. “We’re pleased,” the CEO said, “with the market share volume trends and brand awareness” for Bolthouse.

But this year and in the end, Morrison will be judged by whether she has been able to move the needle on US soup purchases. She did a good job of that a couple of years ago but those gains have fizzled. “We have no illusions about the challenges that we are facing,” Morrison said, but insisted, “We have the right long-term strategy.”

Comments

Bob Hecking United States says:

DUMB!  Campbell Soup Company is just plain dumb.  There are over 56,600,000 websites addressing "Soup Stains"  And to state that economic hard times are reducing sales is another dumb statement...Total nutrition in a can for @ $2.00...show me one other venue that can deliver the same nutrition for the same value...Does Campbell Soup ever advertise that Soup has vitamins, vegetables, protein, fiber and relatively low calories?  NO.  And everybody else has realized food has to be convenient....sloppy food in microwavable bag....still sloppy!  How about a Soup Shake that can be warmed up and eaten through a straw....We tried to help poor Campbell Soup..."but they don't take ideas from the outside"  Great products poor leadership-Bob Hecking Vision Marketing & Technologies.
  

May 22, 2014 10:07 AM #

Geoffrey United States says:

I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

Here is my web page - clash of clans android hack ( Geoffrey - clashofclansgameronline.blogspot.com/.../...s.html )

May 22, 2014 09:38 PM #

vender meu consórcio Brazil says:

Very cool, good job advertising

May 26, 2014 01:32 PM #

Comments are closed

elsewhere on brandchannel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
brandcameo2014 Product Placement Awards
Apple loses its crown to a new #1
Coca-ColaIt's the Journey That Matters:
Coca-Cola Opens Up With Story-Based Web Refresh
debateJoin the Debate
Is product placement a waste of money?
Arthur Chinski and Joshua Mizrahi
Model Behavior? Brands Beware
U.S. Legal Changes Impact Use of Brand Ambassadors
paperCorporate Citizenship in Canada
Fresh thinking from Interbrand
Sheryl Connelly
Sheryl Connelly

Meet Ford's Resident Futurist
MetaluxuryMeta-Luxury
Brands and the pursuit of excellence

Advertisements