Campbell Soup was founded in 1869 by Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson in Camden, New Jersey; where for over 140 years their headquarters has been located. With a company mission statement of: “Nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day…[Campbell] inspires to produce high-quality, wholesome products that are trusted the world over and to make a positive difference in the world we live in” (Campbell 2012). Campbell Soup Company has continued to grow and flourish throughout the years. Campbell is now an international company with production facilities in 16 countries, employing approximately 17,700 employees worldwide; Campbell products are sold in more than 120 countries around the globe.1 According to a report released by Campbell’s, “Campbell Soup Company is the world’s leading soup maker and a global manufacturer of high quality, branded foods. [Their] $8 billion portfolio is focused in three core areas: (1) Simple meals, (2) Baked snacks, (3) Healthy Beverages” (Campbell’s 2012).
In 2008 Campbell published its first corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, entitled “Nourishing People’s Lives”. The report describes the company’s strategies, policies, and programs to honor its responsibilities to its communities, consumers, and employees; as well as to advance sustainable business practices. Campbell’s continued to build upon these with their 2011 strategic plan which rests on four key pillars: (1) Nourishing Our Planet, (2) Nourishing Our Consumers, (3) Nourishing Our Neighbors, and (4) Nourishing Our Employees. Nourishing Our Planet encompasses Campbell’s commitment to finding ways to reduce their corporate environmental footprint through addressing areas such as energy, carbon intensity, water conservation, waste management, sustainable packaging, and sustainable agriculture. By the year 2020, Campbell’s goal is to “Cut the environmental footprint of our product portfolio in half (water and greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions/tonne product produced)” (Campbell’s 2012).
Working under the Nourishing Our Consumers pillar, Campbell’s is continuing to develop new products that will be healthier, and has adjusted its products line to include low-calorie and lower sodium soups such as Select Harvest and Healthy Request soups. Keeping their customers’ health in mind will help insure that Campbell soup will continue to be the consumer’s #1 choice. Campbell’s Soup Company has further diversified its products by acquiring companies such as Pace, Prego, and Swanson, to name a few; and by doing this, they increase the stability of the Campbell company. With the Nourishing Our Neighbors campaign, the Campbell Soup Company continues to demonstrate their belief in giving back to its neighbors. Campbell’s provides financial support to organizations serving local communities through a range of programs including: The Campbell Soup Foundation, Dollars for Doers, Disaster Relief Campaigns, and Labels for Education, along with many others.
Examining Nourishing our Employees reveals that Campbell Soup realizes its long term success depends on its employees. With this in mind, Campbell Soup has tried to create a working environment in which their employees feel that employee safety is a top priority. Campbell’s leadership also wants their employees to feel secure in the stability of the company. As a company, Campbell’s strives to encourage innovation, reward results, and embody Campbell values within their employee population.
A company as large as Campbell’s surely cannot sustain growth without continually searching for better and faster ways to make their world renowned products. From its beginnings, Campbell’s leadership has invested great amounts of treasure and manpower into ventures that they felt would benefit the company. For example, in 1897, a scientist working for Campbell’s invented condensed soup. As published in a blog entitled, “History of Campbell’s Soup” by Leopoldo Costa, the scientist found that by eliminating the water in the canned soup, costs were lowered for packaging, shipping, and storage. Costa reveals, “This made it possible to offer a 10 ½-ounce can of Campbell’s condensed soup for a dime, versus more than 30 cents for a typical 32-ounce can of soup” (Costa), making the Campbell company very competitive in the canned food business.
To meet the growing needs of Campbell’s customers the company began building production facilities—first in America, and later internationally, when their products went global. This allowed their products to reach the four corners of the earth; but growing bigger and farther can only get a company through the initial spurt of growth, while to stay competitive and viable the company must find an edge over a market which is flooded with knockoffs and copies. For Campbell’s this edge was marketing techniques and technology. Starting in 2003 the company began investing millions into their production facilities. The two year project accomplished much, but most importantly, updated equipment, manufacturing practices and working methods. All parts of production were updated from sauce blending, pasteurization, filling, and packaging.
Large parts of the production line were automated, allowing Campbell Soup to manufacture their products endlessly around the clock. For a large company such as Campbell’s, it is increasingly important to stay on top of all facets of business and production, as these areas are the heart of their business. Without a product, the company cannot make money. Large sums of money are invested in purchasing raw materials and new equipment so that the company can continue to deliver high quality goods quickly and efficiently. As profits continue to flow in, the company must remain confident that the infrastructure is reliable and up to date.
The product lines offered by the Campbell Soup Company in the North American marketplace include household names such as V-8 Vegetable juice; Prego Italian sauces;
Pepperidge Farm breads and cookies; Swanson’s broth, stock, and chicken; Pace sauces; Campbell’s North American Foodservice; Bolthouse Farms beverages, carrot products, and dressings; and of course, Campbell’s Soups. This diversification allows Campbell’s to enjoy market share in several distinct categories. Yet for the most part, these product lines are interrelated in the fact that, with the exception of the Pepperidge Farm line, the Campbell’s family of products are vegetable, soup, or stock based.
Mass-media advertising, representing leading brands, is a strategy employed at Campbell’s. From print advertising, to television commercials, and even the iconic red and white design of the Campbell’s Soup label, the Campbell Company invests greatly in order to keep their brands at the forefront of the consumer’s conscience. Efforts to try and anticipate future trends in the very fickle consumer foods market are as important, if not more important, than the massive advertising campaigns. An article entitled “Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation; Gordon McGovern: Driving Campbell’s Packaging Innovation,” published in Management Review, reveals just how much attention is being paid by Campbell’s to staying ahead of the curve in the realm of consumer packaging.
In this interview, Mr. McGovern reveals three-fold increases of the number of employees working in the container packaging area of Campbell’s. Mr. McGovern gives insight on the expansion from a packaging department where “all of the work was focused on cans” (Akagi) to a department which gives attention to several different packaging mediums. Campbell’s recognizes that every one of its products depends on its packaging as a first line attraction to potential customers. Anticipating consumer trends in packaging convenience, cost, and the modern awareness of potential ecological impacts while balancing the company’s need to deliver consistent, reliable, and safe products is one of the goals within the company. Campbell’s realizes that ultimately the success or failure of their products depends largely upon packaging.
Brand recognition is definitely one of Campbell’s strengths, but reliance upon the branding alone provides an unsustainable platform for the company. Efforts must be constantly made to grow the market share for their products. In 2010, Campbell’s had 24,000 gravity-fed shelving systems installed in stores nationwide, with plans to increase secondary displays by over 15,000 by 2012. These displays use “biometric and ethnographic research” (Campbell Outlines) in their design and installation. Douglas R. Conant is quoted in “Campbell Outlines Growth Plans for U.S. Condensed Soup Business,” published in Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, stating: “We are going to fire up our important condensed soup business and step up the competitive posture of our ready-to-serve products to accelerate both our top- and bottom-line growth” (Campbell Outlines).
Focusing on a simple meal replacement concept, Campbell’s designed a new advertising campaign “to position soup and dishes made with soup as a simple meal” (Campbell Outlines). With this strategy, the company is attempting to strengthen its share of the soup market through an appeal toward helping to ease the burden of mealtime preparation on working families. In addition, Campbell’s is working to showcase their partnership with American farmers as they promote the fact that the vegetables used in their soups are produced domestically. Along with these promotions, Campbell’s redesigned many of their soup labels during the same time period, but kept the classic labels unrevised on its Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom, and Tomato varieties.5 In an effort to respond to the evolving health consciousness of Campbell’s North American market, the company underwent a massive, decade-long sodium reduction revamping of its product lines.
As this process reached fruition, the company once again adjusted its efforts to meet the demands of the marketplace, this time changing the recipes to “create some taste adventure” (Campbell: Simmering). The Campbell Soup Company is an American icon, and its prepackaged convenience foods continue to be competitive in their respective categories. With consumer demands constantly reshaping themselves, especially in the competitive convenience food market, companies such as Campbell’s are forced to anticipate and adapt necessary changes to its product lines. Without “investments in improving product quality, packaging, marketing, and creating a company characterized by innovation” (Campbell: Simmering), even a company which has been around for nearly 140 years, such has Campbell’s, will become stagnant and lose its relevance.
- “Campbell Outlines Growth Plans for U.S. Condensed Soup Business.” Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week 6 Mar. 2010: 4009+.
- General OneFile. Web. 8 May 2013.
- The Campbell Soup Company. CSC Brands, L.P., 14 May 2013. Web. 15 May 2013.
- Campbell’s 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. CSC Brands, L.P., 2012. Web. 19 May 2013.
- “Campbells Grocery Products Production, United Kingdom.” Article. Food Processing-Technology. Net Resources International, 2012. Web. 14 May 2013.
- Costa, Leopoldo. “History of Campbell’s Soup.” Stravaganza. Blogspot.com, 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 14 May 2013.
- Eisner, Alan, Dan Baugher, and Helaine Korn. “Campbell: Is the Soup Still Simmering?” Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies 18.5 (2012): 65+. General OneFile. Web. 8 May 2013. F
- ood Processing. Campbell’s Soup Plant. Auto-Assembly Cans. Prod. clipcafe. 2012. N.p., 2012. youtube upload.
- McGovern, Gordon. “Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation; Gordon McGovern: Driving Campbell’s Packaging Innovation.” Management Review 78.2 (1989): 11+. General OneFile. Web. 8 May 2013.