Campbell Soup to exit the GMA

by Eric Schroeder
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 Campbell
Campbell Soup will withdraw from the GMA at the end of the year.
 
CAMDEN, N.J. — In a move the company said is not driven by financials but instead by “our purpose and principles,” Camden-based Campbell Soup Co. on July 19 said it will withdraw from the Grocery Manufacturers Association at the end of the year.

Denise
Denise M. Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup

“As we continue to evolve as a purpose-driven company, many of our beliefs have diverged from the rest of the food industry and from our trade association,” Denise M. Morrison, president and CEO, said during a July 19 corporate analyst meeting.

Over the past several years, Morrison said Campbell Soup has taken ownership of its company purpose and has made the phrase “Real food that matters for life’s moments” a fabric of who it is. The company’s purpose continues to be the single most important change in Campbell Soup’s culture in the past few years, she said, and has fundamentally changed the way the company thinks, talks and acts about its food.

Campbell 
Campbell Soup has made the phrase "Real food that matters for life's moments" a fabric of who it is.
 
“It’s created an enterprise understanding that the future of food is rooted in health and well-being, and it’s changed the way we make decisions and allocate resources,” Morrison said.

Morrison said Campbell Soup has taken important steps to be a leader in transparency, including the launch of whatsinmyfood.com, and continues to believe that transparency is the single most important ingredient in the recipe for earning consumer trust, especially with new generations who demand to know where their food comes from and how it's grown.

 Campbell
Campbell Soup has taken important steps to be a leader in transparency, including the launch of whatsinmyfood.com
 
“Our purpose has led us to take principled positions about the most pressing issues facing the food industry,” she explained. “One of the problems with having principles is you have to live by them. And as a result, at times, we find ourselves with philosophical differences with many of our peers in the food industry on important issues. For example, viewing GMOs through the lens of our purpose caused us to think very differently about transparency, and we changed our position on GMO labeling. It was a popular decision in the eyes of consumers and customers. Another recent issue is the delay in the implementation of FDA’s new Nutrition Facts Panel. While the FDA has agreed to delay implementation, we're continuing to strive to meet the original deadline of July 2018.” 

In addition to announcing the company’s withdrawal from the GMA, Morrison said Campbell Soup is partnering with the Sage Project to raise the bar on food transparency. Through the use of design and technology, Sage has developed a new food data platform with reimagined food labels to allow consumers to locate the information they need about the food they eat, Morrison said.

 Campbell
Campbell Soup supports GMO labeling.
 
“Transparency doesn’t mean much if the consumer can’t understand what they’re looking at,” she said. “We believe that food data should be open, accessible across digital platforms and most of all, easy to understand. Sage’s technology creates the labels we’ve always wanted for our food: smart, simple, personalized and interactive.

“This represents a quantum leap forward in giving consumers the information they are demanding about their food. Sage’s customizable digital lens includes meaningful information about calories, nutrition, product attributes and where the food was made.”

 Campbell
Campbell Soup and Sage will initiate their transparency efforts with the company's Well yes! soup line.
 
Morrison said Campbell Soup and Sage will initiate their transparency efforts with the company’s Well Yes! soup line and will gradually expand the program over the next two years to tell the “real food stories of our brands.”

“Campbell is the first major food company to embrace the platform because we believe it delivers the information consumers are increasingly demanding,” Morrison said. “This commitment to transparency is matched by our investments to make our food better and healthier. As previously discussed, we’re investing $50 million over the next few years to make the kind of food that consumers are looking for, the kind of food that we’re proud to serve at our own tables.”  

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READER COMMENTS (1)

By Gary Blumenthakl 7/21/2017 9:29:34 AM
Campbell's stock is down nearly 20% on the year and so Morrison is trying the non-science based psuedo moral superiority Hail Mary route for marketing. Her soup could end up like Chipotle's burritos - fundamentally dishonest.