Campbell’s V8 is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but that’s notthe only milestone that Douglas Conant, president and chief executive officer of the simple meals, juice and baked snacks maker, is hopeful it will reach.
“V8 is well on its way to becoming our next billion-dollar brand,” he told SN. “The idea is to leverage its very strong credentials in ways that are good-tasting and satisfying to consumers.”
In that vein, Campbell’s will introduce a line of ready-to-serve soups that contain a full serving of vegetables and leverage both the V8 and Campbell’s brands.
A new line of Campbell’s Select Harvest ready-to-serve soups is also on the horizon.
Conant is hopeful that these and other meal solutions will appeal to consumers struggling to scale the economic landscape.
A bowl of Campbell’s Condensed Soup costs about 52 cents, he said, and other products like its Prego Italian Sauces and Pace Mexican salsa can be used to make meals that, on a per-person basis, cost less than a gallon of gas.
Given at-home dining trends, Campbell’s Swanson broth line is also positioned for continued growth. Sales of these products have increased year-over-year since 2000, and a new line is planned for the coming year.
“We’re working with a few of our retail partners to provide a full complement of recipes for value-priced simple meals,” noted Conant. “They will particularly resonate with consumers in the current economic climate.”
Higher commodity prices have forced Campbell’s to do some adjusting of its own.
“In some cases we have increased the price of our products to retailers, and in all cases we’ve looked for ways to reduce operating and input costs,” he said. “To be clear, however, we have not compromised the quality of our products.”
Nor is Campbell’s limiting the services made available to retailers. In fact, it recently began sharing consumer insights with its trading partners during workshops focused on simple meal solutions.
“We’ve covered topics about operational decisions such as section size and location, signage colors and other things to help shoppers more easily find simple meal solutions,” said Conant.
Among the products marketed to shoppers as part of the format could be a greater variety of natural and organic soups.
Earlier this month, Campbell’s acquired the natural and organic Wolfgang Puck Soup business.
“We expect the impact of this acquisition to be very positive on our total soup portfolio,” said Conant. “While we currently have a small number of items in the segment, we expect to greatly increase our presence in this channel.”
— JULIE GALLAGHER