Campbell Soup: Snacks Strong, Condensed Soup & Broth Feel Private-Label Squeeze

From soups to snacks, 10 of what Campbell Soup Co. considers its “key brands” managed to maintain or grow their market share in the company’s fiscal year that ended on Thursday, compared to pre-pandemic performance.

Seven of the 10 brands are in the snacks category—with Snack Factory and Kettle scoring the highest share increases.

In meals and beverages, Q4 consumption increased 8% year over year and 22% versus 2019—gains that president and CEO Mark Clouse attributed in part to “the strengthening position we have built with new consumers through the pandemic, especially with new millennial consumers.” He was speaking on an earnings call with financial analysts.

Soft spots were seen in condensed soup and broth, with pressure coming from private-label brands despite “pricing actions” on Campbell’s part.



Consumers who have been trading down in the soups aisle “tend to be our baby boomer consumers, who historically are a bit more sensitive to price gaps and also very likely to trade back over time,” Clouse noted.

Summarizing Campbell’s financials, Morningstar director of consumer sector equity research Erin Lash wrote that “We never anticipated that consumers would continue to digest the rash of price hikes across the grocery store without a bit of indigestion—nor did we posit promotions were a thing of the past.”

Since broth has been particularly susceptible to private-label competitors, there is more innovation in the pipeline to better differentiate Campbell’s Swanson brand.

Its ingredients and packaging will be upgraded to convey “taste superiority, quality and value,” said Clouse.

Also in the works is the launch of Swanson Quick Cups—one-cup servings of broth catering to a wide range of recipe usage occasions.

“This smaller size offering delivers convenience for smaller households and further delivers value by reducing waste," Clouse added. "Through improved quality and a robust lineup of offerings for our consumers, our focus will be on winning this holiday season.”

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