Last updated on August 16th, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Campbell Soup Co. President and CEO Denise Morrison outlined the company’s progress on its new innovation program during a presentation at the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Fla., in late February.
Last July, Morrison charted a new direction for Campbell based on three growth strategies: stabilize and then profitably grow North America soup and simple meals; expand the company’s international presence; and continue to drive growth in healthy beverages and baked snacks.
Campbell is making investments to fund a new innovation process, accelerate innovation across its portfolio and reinvigorate consumer-focused marketing efforts to restore top-line growth and position the company for future success.
“Powered by a relentless focus on the consumer and a radically different approach to innovation, we are extending our product platforms into new mealtime occasions and packaging formats, and responding directly to new consumer expectations,” said Morrison. “We are focused on rebuilding relationships with our existing consumers and establishing connections to new ones. Simply put, our mission is to reinvent our products and our company for a new era.”
Campbell is creating new products and product platforms based on its consumer insights and aligned with what Morrison described as the New American Family—nontraditional, multi-generational, single-parent and multi-cultural.
“Consumers today crave novelty, bolder flavors and foods that help them feel alive, engaged and connected,” said Morrison. “No company is connected to consumers’ lives quite like Campbell, and we are well positioned to respond to the opportunities that the changing consumer landscape will present over the next decade.”
Propelled by consumer insights, Campbell’s revamped innovation process is designed to drive increased product development. The company has invested in breakthrough innovation teams that operate as autonomous work groups consisting of experts in consumer insights, culinary, product development, marketing and packaging.
These nimble, cross-functional innovation teams are initially focused on three specific platforms in the U.S. Simple Meals business: soup beyond the can; meals beyond soup; and new meal-maker products.
Morrison highlighted several innovations that will hit the market early in the company’s next fiscal year, including:
“Campbell’s Go! Soup” will launch with five to six varieties of pouch soups in a broad range of distinctive global flavors, such as Coconut Curry and Moroccan Chicken.
The company will extend the “Campbell’s Go!” platform with a line of simple meal solutions that are designed to appeal to younger consumers and will include contemporary packaging and graphics.
A new line of “Campbell’s Skillet Sauces” will offer consumers fast and contemporary dinner solutions in three easy steps.
A new line of bold aseptically-packaged soups called “Campbell’s Gourmet Bisques” will include varieties like Thai Tomato Coconut and Tomato Roasted Garlic Bacon.
A broadened range of soups, stews, chilis and chowders under the “Campbell’s Slow Kettle” brand that has attracted Millennials and affluent consumers since its launch will grow.
“These new consumer propositions are just the beginning,” Morrison said. “Our revamped innovation process is designed to enable us to better understand and respond to the drivers of consumer choice, and we’re highly encouraged by the initial ideas that we’ll be bringing to market in the coming season.”
Morrison also described efforts in other parts of the business, including Healthy Beverages and Global Baked Snacks. Campbell plans to introduce new products to drive continued growth across its Healthy Beverages and Baked Snacks categories, two areas that have strong records of successful, consumer-driven innovation and growth. The company will continue to roll out “V8 V-Fusion + Energy” drinks and, later this year, will introduce “V8 V-Fusion” Sparkling beverages in slim cans and “V8 V-Fusion” Kids beverages in juice boxes, as well as a number of new “Pepperidge Farm” products.
Morrison concluded, “We’re in the midst of a strategic turnaround, and we’ve made a solid start in advancing the growth strategies we announced last July. Our early efforts give you a sense of the company we’re building under our new leadership team. It’s a company focused outward on consumers and seeking new ways to grow our business around the world. One that’s more innovative, balanced and agile. A company that draws inspiration from its past, but is focused on its future.”