Soup boils down to M'm! M'm! Money! at the world's #1 soup maker Campbell Soup. The company's most popular selections among its extensive soup portfolio in the US include chicken noodle, tomato, and cream of mushroom. Campbell also makes many other simple foods, snacks, and beverages, including SpaghettiOs canned pasta, Pace picante sauce, V8 beverages, Aussie favorite Arnott's biscuits, and Pepperidge Farm baked goods (including those popular tiny Goldfish crackers). Newer products for the soup company include Garden Fresh Gourmet salsas and dips, and Bolthouse Farms carrots and organic baby foods. Campbell sells its products worldwide.
The company principal brands, including Arnott's, Bolthouse Farms, Campbell's, Goldfish, Kjeldsens, Pace, Pepperidge Farm, Plum Organics, Prego, Swanson, and V8, are protected by trademark law in the major markets where they are used. In addition, some of the company's products are sold under brands that have been licensed from third parties.
Campbell operates in three segments: Americas Simple Meals and Beverages, Global Biscuits and Snacks, and Campbell Fresh.
Americas Simple Meals and Beverages (55% of the company's total revenue in fiscal 2016) includes the retail and food service businesses in the US, Canada, and Latin America.
Global Biscuits and Snacks segment (32%) includes Pepperidge Farm cookies, crackers, bakery and frozen products in US retail, Arnott’s biscuits in Australia and Asia Pacific, and Kelsen cookies globally. The segment also includes the simple meals and shelf-stable beverages business.
Campbell Fresh segment (13%) includes Bolthouse Farms fresh carrots, carrot ingredients, refrigerated beverages and refrigerated salad dressings, Garden Fresh Gourmet salsa, hummus, dips and tortilla chips, and the US refrigerated soup business.
The company operates more than 25 manufacturing facilities in the US and elsewhere. The US is Campbell's largest market, accounting for 81% of its sales in FY2016. Australia accounted for 7% of sales, while other countries contributed the rest. Campbell has executive offices in Norwalk, Connecticut; Bakersfield, Santa Monica, and Emeryville, California; East Brunswick, New Jersey; Toronto, Canada; Nørre Snede, Denmark; Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia; and North Strathfield, Australia.
Sales and Marketing
Campbell's established simple meals, snacks and healthy beverages businesses are concentrated in slower-growing center-store categories in traditional mass and grocery channels. The company's businesses are largely concentrated in the traditional retail grocery trade. In recent years, alternative retail grocery channels, such as dollar stores, drug stores, club stores and Internet-based retailers, have increased their market share. This trend towards alternative channels is expected to continue in the future.
Wal-Mart is Campbell's largest customer, accounting for 20% of sales in FY2016. Its five other largest customers accounted for another 40% of its sales during the year.
Campbell has been decreasing its advertising spend in recent years, though it pledged to spend a larger percentage of its marketing efforts on digital marketing and e-commerce channels while decreasing its television spend in 2016. Overall, the company spent $397 million on advertising in FY2016, up from $385 million in fiscal 2015, and $411 million in fiscal 2014.
In fiscal 2016, the company’s net revenue decreased by 1% to $7.96 billion due to a decrease in revenue from the Americas Simple Meals and Beverages segment and Global Biscuits and Snacks segment.
The revenue from the Americas Simple Meals and Beverages segment dropped due to declines in soup and V8 beverages driven by marketing execution issues on Campbell's Chunky soups, partially offset by gains in Prego pasta sauces, Plum products, and Pace Mexican sauces.
Global Biscuits and Snacks revenue declined due to a 4% negative impact from currency translation.
In fiscal 2016, Campbell's net income decreased by 18.5% to $563 million due to lower net sales, an increase in other expenses (related to a non-cash impairment charge of $141 million on the intangible assets of the Bolthouse Farms carrot and carrot ingredients reporting unit) and higher administrative expenses (related to increased losses on pension and postretirement benefit mark-to-market adjustments; higher costs from the implementation of the new organizational structure and cost savings initiatives; inflation and higher incentive compensation costs).
In fiscal 2016, the company’s operating cash inflow increased by 24% to $1.46 billion compared to $1.18 billion in fiscal 2015, primarily due to higher cash earnings and lower working capital requirements (primarily inventories).
Campbell in 2015 took a number of steps to strengthen its established business lines, launching more than 200 new products during the year to meet consumers’ changing tastes, preferences, and needs. The company spent $124 million on research and development activities relating to new products and the improvement and maintenance of existing products in fiscal 2016, up from $117 million in in fiscal 2015, and $122 million in 2014.
In its American soup and simple meals business, the company expects to improve performance by enhancing product quality and elevating its marketing and brand-building efforts. It also looks to introduce new soup and simple meal products responsive to consumers’ desire for indulgent or premium foods; their increasing appetite for ethnic and regional cuisines; and their growing interest in quick and easy home-cooking solutions. To this end in late 2015, the company leveraged its partnership with top US coffee brewer brand Keurig Green Mountain by launching its new line of Campbell's K-Cup Soups. Addressing changing consumer tastes, the company has also been reducing the salt and preservatives content of its foods across some of its best-selling brands, including its iconic tomato soup, along with V8, Healthy Request, Chunky, and Goldfish products. Challenged in quality and sales by rival General Mills' Progresso-brand soups, Campbell has enhanced the taste of its products by adding more vegetables to its vegetable soup and making its cream soups creamier.
For its shelf-stable beverage business, the company will target health-conscious adults with its V8 branded beverages and households with children with its V8 Splash branded beverages. Pepperidge Farm will remain focused on building the Goldfish cracker brand, maintaining the momentum of its fresh bakery portfolio, and revitalizing its adult savory crackers business. The company will also continue its efforts to reinvigorate its businesses in Australia, focusing on Arnott's biscuits.
Beyond the US, Campbell hopes to boost its production and sales presence abroad, moving into fast-growing markets in Asia and Latin America through acquisitions and strategic alliances. With China having one of the world's highest rates of per-capita soup consumption, Campbell has been focusing its efforts on the Guangdong province and Shanghai.
The company is also focusing on boosting its global biscuits and snacks brands in Asia.
Campbell has targeted long-term organic net sales growth of 1% to 3%.
It has also taken steps to close and/or sell unproductive operations. In fiscal 2014, the company and its joint venture partner Swire Pacific Limited restructured manufacturing and streamline operations for the joint venture's soup and broth business in China, closing its soup production plant in Xiamen. That year Campbell also closed plants in Aiken, South Carolina, and Villagran, Mexico.
The company also continues to selectively acquire food companies that complement its product lines.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In June 2015, Campbell continued its plan to diversify beyond soup into "faster-growing categories" by buying salsa maker Garden Fresh Gourmet for $231 million. Garden Fresh Gourmet, which is also a top maker of hummus, dips, and tortilla chips, generated $100 million in net sales in 2014.
The descendants of John Dorrance, the inventor of condensed soup and founder of the company, own approximately 42% of Campbell.