Campbell: convenience and health top priorities

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Marketing, Campbell

Wellness, convenience, quality and organics are the key areas that
leading soup maker Campbell is focusing on, the firm told
FoodNavigator-USA.com, as it reports better than expected third
quarter results.

The company today posted a 6 percent increase in third quarter net sales up to $1.8m, prompting it to increase its financial forecasts for the year.

And the next quarter will in fact be a crucial indication of the success of the firm's health and wellness policy, as it launches a range of reformulated low-sodium soups onto the US market.

An initiative announced in February this year, Campbell was able to slash the salt content of its soups by up to 45 percent through the use of an all-natural sea salt that undergoes a particular evaporation and crystallization process.

The company, which is said to have an exclusive deal with the salt supplier for five years, this month introduced the first products in its reformulated soup range at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) show in Chicago.

"Wellness is a critical component of our corporate strategy and our portfolio is well positioned to meet consumer demand for convenient, high quality, nutritious food,"​ said the firm's president and chief executive officer Douglas Conant.

Campbell also announced plans to reduce sodium in its V8 100 percent vegetable juice by next year from the current level of 590mg per serving to 480mg- the level set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for foods to qualify as 'healthy'.

And despite a certain level of consumer skepticism when it comes to the idea of vegetable juice, the product is already performing well, said Campbell's director of brand communications John Faulkner.

Another important factor in boosting sales was the firm's recent image revamp in grocery stores for its ready to serve convenience soups.

According to research conducted in recent years, the soup section in grocery stores is the second hardest aisle to navigate, after the cough and cold section.

In response, Campbell came up with a new gravity-feed shelving system that it terms IQ Maximizer​, and that is now in over 1,300 stores.

"We wanted to make convenience more convenient to shop,"​ Faulkner told FoodNavigator-USA.com.

"We simply put the soups in an order and presentation that made sense to consumers. This fundamentally helped turn our soup business around,"​ he added.

The company is also focusing on premium products, with the recent introduction of its Select Gold Label soups already boosting sales in the company's ready-to-serve category.

According to Conant, an "exceptionally strong"​ performance from the company's soups in the US was a primary reason for its recent "outstanding quarter."

"Our strategy to direct our marketing spending toward better communicating the quality, convenience and value of our soups and away from heavy promotional activity worked very well," he said, adding that Campbell's "continued emphasis on innovation and more effective marketing programs, including advertising, is working."

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