Campbell Takes Actions to Reshape Portfolio and Outlines Fiscal 2018 Priorities

Campbell Soup Company outlined its strategies to drive growth in a rapidly-changing food landscape at its annual investor day. Led by President and CEO Denise Morrison, the company declared its goal to be the leading health and well-being food company. Executives detailed plans to strengthen Campbell’s core business and expand into faster-growing spaces through four strategic imperatives:

  1. Building greater trust with consumers through real food, transparency and sustainability;
  2. Accelerating digital marketing and e-commerce efforts;
  3. Continuing to diversify Campbell’s portfolio in fresh foods and health and well-being; and
  4. Increasing its presence in the faster-growing snacking category.

Morrison said, “In the last six years, we’ve made significant progress activating our Purpose, ‘Real Food that Matters for Life’s Moments,’ and transforming our portfolio toward faster-growing spaces. Our intention has been to move Campbell in the direction of health and well-being. We are committed to accelerating those efforts and strive to be the leading health and well-being food company because we recognize that real food and healthier food is better for our consumers and better for our business.”

Today, Campbell has approximately $1 billion in annual net sales from fresh products and its portfolio provides nearly 15 billion servings of vegetables and more than 2.4 million tons of whole grains to consumers annually. The company’s organic portfolio is in the top 10 in the industry and growing at double digits.

In response to changing consumer needs around health and well-being, Campbell has taken deliberate steps to reshape its portfolio through internal innovation, changes to its recipes and a series of acquisitions, including Bolthouse Farms, Plum Organics, and Garden Fresh Gourmet, as well as the pending acquisition of Pacific Foods, a leading producer of organic broth and soup.

Morrison said, “Campbell‘s goal to lead in health and well-being is attainable, but we will need to redouble our efforts by extending the real food credentials of our current brands and adding more brands that resonate with consumers; improving our rate of innovation; and increasing our distribution capabilities in new channels. Some of this we can build ourselves, but in other instances we will have to leverage external development.”

Ed Carolan, President – Campbell Fresh, discussed the division’s portfolio role to accelerate CPG sales growth and expand into new categories, as he outlined plans to return the division to growth through a combination of increased beverage capacity, improved customer service levels, more effective agricultural strategies and higher levels of marketing, with continued focus on innovation and quality standards.

Building Trust Through Real Food, Transparency and Sustainability

Campbell unveiled an agreement with The Sage Project to partner on digital disclosure of ingredients using Sage’s food data platform. Combining technology with design, Sage is creating online food labels for the digital world, making information about calories, nutrition, ingredients and attributes open, accessible and easy for consumers to understand. Campbell’s Well Yes! soup varieties are the first products to bring The Sage Project’s SKU level transparency to Campbell’s platforms.

These efforts complement Campbell’s commitment to its real food philosophy with an ongoing investment of $50 million over the next several years in the core business to evolve its products to more closely align with consumer wants and needs.

Mark Alexander, President – Americas Simple Meals and Beverages, outlined steps to reinvent the center store with the division’s focus on making real food available to more people. Campbell plans to complete the transition of all soups in the US and Canada to non-BPA lined cans for the upcoming soup season and expects to convert to chicken with no antibiotics for all soups in its portfolio by the end of the calendar year.

Accelerating Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Efforts

Alexander also highlighted Campbell’s plans to accelerate the company’s digital and e-commerce capabilities by forming an e-commerce unit in North America. Campbell has a goal of generating $300 million in e-commerce sales over the next five years.

Alexander said, “We’re investing in digital and e-commerce across the enterprise with a goal of building industry-leading capabilities and relationships that will drive innovation in this space.”

To support these efforts, the company announced it has hired Shakeel Farooque as Vice President and Head of Digital and E-Commerce to lead the unit. Farooque’s background is in retail, where he leveraged data to understand consumer behaviors and build omni-channel capabilities for Kohl’s, eBay and Amazon, Inc. The company also outlined its plans to partner with leading e-commerce companies, such as the recently announced $10 million investment and strategic partnership with online meal kit company Chef’d, and steps it is taking to create a more flexible distribution system to serve e-commerce channels.

Broadening the Lens of the Faster-Growing Snacking Category

Luca Mignini, President – Global Biscuits and Snacks, highlighted Campbell’s opportunities in the increasingly attractive area of snacking, as 90 percent of consumers snack multiple times a day and more than 50 percent of all US eating occasions are snacks.1

Mignini outlined the division’s growth plans in fiscal 2018 to expand the division’s footprint: drive the snacking portfolio in US Biscuit and Bakery and Australia; and pursue expansion in developing markets.

Carlos Abrams-Rivera, President – US Biscuits and Bakery, discussed Campbell’s opportunity to leverage brands across the Campbell portfolio to penetrate snacking occasions beyond its core cracker and biscuit business, which includes icon brands Goldfish crackers, Milano cookies, Kelsen biscuits and Arnott’s baked snacks. He outlined Campbell’s goal to make snacks with real food ingredients accessible to all consumers and an enterprise-wide snacking strategy designed to accelerate the company’s efforts.

Campbell anticipates adding approximately $200 million in sales across its three divisions over the next five years by broadening its snacking business beyond cookies and baked snacks to include soup, mini meals and fresh snacks, with a focus on mindful kids snacking.

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