Speaking with analysts following the release of the company’s Q4 results, Denise Morrison, CEO, president and director of Campbell, said that the ‘exceptional’ performance of the Chunky range was driven “by the launch of new varieties and our decision to return the brand's marketing focus to its core consumer, males with a big appetite for NFL football and satisfying soup”.
In line with this strategy, the company this week added three new ‘pub-inspired’ soups to its Chunky lineup: Philly-Style Cheesesteak, Spicy Chicken Quesadilla and Hearty Cheeseburger.
On top of these new additions, Campbell’s has revamped and improved recipes for three fan favorites: New England Clam Chowder, Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef & Beef with Country Vegetable.
“Ready-to-serve [soup] sales rose by 9%, driven by volume gains in Chunky canned soup, which benefited from new varieties, increased promotional activity and the return to NFL advertising,” said B. Craig Owens, CFO.
Soup in a K-Cup
The company also announced Wednesday that it would also be working with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., makers of the Keurig coffee brewer brand, to launch Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup K-Cups.
“This innovative partnership is a win for consumers and for both companies, and represents another important step as Campbell expands into higher-growth spaces,” said Morrison. “Campbell is connecting with consumers in new and exciting ways. We expect this delicious Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup to provide consumers with a flavorful, convenient soup that fits their lives today.”
Brian Kelley, President and CEO of GMCR, added that the union of Campbell’s soup with the speed and convenience of the Keurig technology will provide new consumption occasions and positions both companies to better meet the growing snacking needs of consumers in the US.
Morrison told analysts that she was ‘encouraged’ by the company’s performance, with US soup at the center of the growth, delivering 5% sales growth this year. This was achieved “by optimizing the drivers of demand and accelerating consumer-focused innovations”, she added.
“We grew our iconic Campbell's condensed soup, a $1.1 billion business, with a wide array of offerings that appeal to a broad range of consumers, particularly children, families and baby boomers. We enhanced the taste of our soups, positioned them more distinctively in the marketplace and improved in-store execution. We rebalanced and optimized advertising and consumer promotion behind our core brands. We accelerated innovation, launching 38 new soups during the year; and yes, we had some help from the weather.”
Powerful goldfish, weak beverages
The company announced that its global baking and snacking delivered sales growth of 4% for the year, which reflected the strong growth of the Pepperidge Farm business - Goldfish cracker sales rose 6%. Campbell also strengthened growth in its Pepperidge Farm cookie business by strengthening the marketing behind its Milano brand and introducing new products like its Pepperidge Farm Dessert Shop cookies.
It wasn’t all good news, however, with ‘disappointing’ performance for the company’s US beverages and North America foodservice businesses.
“Sales in U.S. Beverages were down 4% for the year, reflecting declines in our V8 vegetable juice and V8 V-Fusion juice and juice beverages,” said Morrison. “Shelf-stable juices have faced intensified competition from the proliferation of specialty beverages, including the dynamic growth of packaged fresh juices. We are focused on improving our shelf-stable 100% juice business, anchored by V8, which has unmatched credentials in vegetable nutrition.”
“To reinvigorate growth, we are introducing new products like V8 V-Fusion Refreshers, a lighter fruit and vegetable beverage, and we will continue to expand V8 V-Fusion + Energy and V8 Splash, which delivered its seventh consecutive year of growth.”
‘Sacks for Soups’
In addition to the new launches and the revamped recipes in its Chunky range, Campbell announced that Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers linebacker and Super Bowl XLV champion, has been selected as the newest ‘Mama’s Boy’. The ‘Mama’s Boy’ campaign was created by Y&R New York
Matthews is known for his big plays during the game and this season Campbell will partner with him to support local communities with the “Sacks for Soup” program. According to the company, each time Matthews sacks an opposing team’s quarterback during the 2013 NFL regular season, Campbell will donate 1,000 cans of soup to a local food bank in the opposing team’s city and 1,000 cans to a food bank in Green Bay, Wis.