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Snacking Giant Continues To Surprise, Delight Consumers


LAS VEGAS – Campbell Snacks has a 21 brands within its portfolio. During her presentation Tuesday at Groceryshop 2022, EVP and president Val Oswalt explained that this dynamic is the company’s biggest advantage within the snack industry.

“When we talk to our consumers about elevating snacking, they tell us, ‘We want something unexpected,’ something that’s surprising, something that evokes a feeling and something that fulfills a need-state,” she said.

“When we think about snacking – not only filling that need-state, but also creating the multi-sensorial experience for them – they open it up and they smell this amazing flavor. They feel this incredible chip, they taste it. It’s creating this holistic multi-sensorial experience. Every product fulfills that expectation. And for us, that’s what snacking is all about.”

The talk by Oswalt is among more than 200 being given by top executives during Groceryshop, a massive CPG and grocery event that wraps up its four-day run Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort. 

Within its 21 brands, Campbell has eight power names. Oswalt explained how she and the company use scale and resource allocation for all products. She also said the company’s reputation for taking unexpected risks stems from the confidence of a “safe environment.”

“We need to create a really safe environment where people trust one another and aren’t afraid to fail. And when you do, you fail fast,” she said. “We talk about having that growth mindset, which means that a challenge or a failure is really an opportunity to grow and learn to do better next time.”

That sense of trial and error has helped the company grow its wide portfolio. 

“We hold the team to a very high bar, no matter the product,” Oswalt said. “Although we like to surprise and delight our consumers, we certainly want to make sure it tastes amazing. 

“Some of my favorite days are when we’re doing our testings…we work collaboratively with customer companies like McCormick’s to come up with incredible ideas. An example of an unexpected flavor was Goldfish Old Bay…it sold out in eight days from the McCormick website. It was definitely a hit.

“We always want to make sure that we’re delivering something unique to the consumer, unique to the category.”

Prior to the interview, Campbell showed a video of its brand offerings that also highlighted a previous marketing strategy using a social media video platform. The viral campaign on TikTok garnered more than 10 billion views within 78 hours, according to Oswalt. TikTok named it the 2021 Culture Driver of the Year. 

Oswalt highlighted this effort as a way Campbell has used unconventional thinking and up-and-coming outlets to promote itself. 

“In the beginning of the pandemic, when kids shifted to online learning, Goldfish is one of our greatest drive periods for back to school,” she explained. “A lot of things were disrupted. And that was a pretty significant change in consumer behavior. As a team, we stepped back and thought about how we can shift from the kid to the kid at heart.”

Campbell Snacks turned its focus to the broader family. The company found that 40 percent of Goldfish’s consumption was by adults. And they were most commonly eaten by the handful.

It then took this onto one of the fastest growing social media platforms and created a viral sensation with NBA basketball stars trying to fit as many Goldfish into one hand as they could. Viewers were asked to do the same. 

“We took this new insight, we appealed to a whole new audience and we made something fun and engaging and consumers just absolutely loved it,” Oswalt said.

For more information, visit campbellsoupcompany.com/our-food/campbell-snacks.

About the author

Jack R. Jordan

Content Creator

Jordan joined The Shelby Report in May 2022 after over a year in the newspaper industry. A native of Marietta, Georgia, he studied writing and communications at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He spends too much time in the grocery store trying to find recipe ingredients, so he looks forward to covering the industry.

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