Food trend forecast according to Campbell Soup

by Monica Watrous
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Bison
A new variety of Campbell's Chunky Maxx soup features bison.
 
CAMDEN, N.J. — To tap into today’s trends, the chefs at the Campbell Soup Co. resurrected a 101-year-old soup recipe. The company earlier this year launched a limited-edition Campbell’s Beefsteak Tomato Soup created by John Thompson Dorrance, inventor of condensed soup and president of the company from 1914 to 1930. The soup, made with tomatoes from southern New Jersey Farms, may be the first of several products developed to reflect the company’s culinary heritage.

“We’re so proud of that, and there’s so much inspiration to do more with John Dorrance’s recipes,” said Thomas Griffiths, certified master chef and vice president of Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute.

Griffiths is working with a company archivist to bring to life more of the Campbell Soup Co.’s toothsome history. Another icon of the Camden-based business is Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin, who began baking bread to feed her family during the Great Depression. 

Campbell
Earlier this year, Campbell Soup launched a limited-edition Campbell's Beefsteak Tomato Soup developed to reflect the company's cul
 
“I have the Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm cookbook on my desk,” Griffiths said.

Culinary heritage was one of six trends in Campbell Soup’s fifth annual trends report. Other trends include feel-good treats, botanical flavors, limited edition innovation and specialty meats.

Some of these trends may already be spotted in Campbell Soup’s portfolio. For example, a new variety of Campbell’s Chunky Maxx soup features bison.

 

“We’ll have more to come, other really interesting meats in our foods, in our soups,” Griffiths said. “People really love them.” 

Trends featured in previous reports continue to evolve and expand, Griffiths said.

“I’d love to think we’re actually moving trends forward and that we’ve become a really important industry leader in the trends at this point, having five years of doing this,” he said.

In an interview with Food Business News, a sister publication to MEAT+POULTRY, Griffiths discussed the latest trends and how Campbell Soup’s chefs are translating them in product development.

Campbell
Thomas Griffiths, certified master chef and vice president of Campbell's Culinary & Baking Institute
 

Can you give examples of recent Campbell Soup’s product launches that fit these trends or trends from previous reports?

Griffiths: Last year we talked about Southeast Asia … we’re trying all kinds of Southeast Asian fruits and vegetables and ingredients to put in swirl bread. We spoke about pandan last year and hibiscus, ginger, matcha, turmeric … we’re so excited to start putting these not only in our beverages but in salad dressings for Bolthouse and even some of the Garden Fresh hummus, which has really bold flavors.

For a company as big as Campbell Soup, is it a challenge to source some of these more exotic ingredients, such as bison or hibiscus?

Griffiths: Yes. Or quinoa or some of the vegetables in the Well Yes! soup line that came out two years ago. I work closely with procurement. I go to carrot farms or Vidalia onion farms and meet with the farmers and learn about what they’re growing and learn about better flavors. When it does come to our chefs … we try to make it as authentic as possible, and it takes about a year or a year and a half to build that volume where the farmers can grow these for us.

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