While the pandemic has delivered a silver lining of sorts to the soup business, will at-home cooking fatigue keep it shining going forward?
Campbell Soup Co. hopes so.
If there’s one key figure amid the myriad statistics the company highlighted last week during its Investor Day presentation, it’s this: 53% of the U.S. workforce will work remotely in 2022—per a prediction from research and consulting firm Gartner.
“This is good news, especially for a category like soup,” said Chris Foley, Campbell executive vice president and president of meals and beverages.
“The eating-at-home trend has grown and has also evolved. One key insight we are seeing is that consumers want to reduce the amount of time preparing meals even more.”
That’s because “they're fatigued from cooking at home and prepping complicated meals,” Foley added.
From fiscal 2015 to 2019, Campbell’s soup sales posted a compound annual growth rate of minus 2%. Since then, growth has been up 6%.
Traditional Campbell condensed soup—with 150 years of history—gained more than 5 million new millennial households from March of 2020 through Oct. 17.
Drawing on its art-world roots dating to Andy Warhol’s 1960’s soup cans series, the brand dialed into the digital art world this year with its first non-fungible token initiative.
It involved 100 art pieces created by street-style artist and illustrator Sophia Chang, with proceeds from sales of the artwork benefiting Feeding America.
One key to connecting with younger generations is Campbell’s increasing dependence on digital and social media platforms, where it directs 65% of its advertising—a figure it expects to increase.
As for at-home dining, the Chunky brand has been positioned as “the soup that eats like a meal” with a messaging focus on protein and satiation—particularly at lunch.
In the wellness space, Well Yes! is positioned for lunch with Power Bowl meals. According to Foley, the brand gained 14% more millennial buyers versus a year ago.
Acquired in 2017, Pacific remains the #1 brand in organic soups and broths. It will expand into premium dinner/cooking sauces in 2022, along with potential new Campbell premium sauces or those obtained through mergers or acquisitions.
Campbell’s Prego remains #1 in the Italian sauce subcategory, and its Pace #2 in Mexican sauces.