CAMDEN, N.J. — The Campbell Soup Co. in January plans to launch Well Yes, a new soup line that will feature such ingredients as kale and quinoa. The new soup will seek to invigorate sales in the company’s Americas Simple Meals and Beverages segment, which reported a 3 percent drop in sales in the third quarter ended May 1.
|Mark Alexander, president of Americas Simple Meals and Beverage for Campbell.|
“We have work to do on soup and beverages,” said Mark R. Alexander, president, Americas Simple Meals and Beverages, in a July 20 investors’ day call. “Sales of ready-to-serve soups have not met our expectations, and we’ve seen declines on our V8 brand.”
A group of women who work at Campbell Soup Co. came up with the idea for Well Yes ready-to-serve soup.
“They love soup, of course, and they work here but felt the category lacked a product specifically for them, a brand that stood for something they could connect with and one that used ingredients they wanted more of like kale, quinoa and lean protein,” Alexander said. “So they created a soup that they wanted to buy and one that would disrupt the soup aisle, but they didn’t do it alone. They invited a group of consumers who felt the same way. Together they co-created the brand.”
The group worked with company chefs, product developers and marketers to create the soup.
“And they worked fast,” Alexander said. “This platform had been slated for a fiscal 2018 launch, but they created a compelling idea and challenged the way that we traditionally launch products, and we accelerated our plans and are bringing it to market six months early. Well Yes will launch in January 2017 and feature popular soup recipes with a decidedly contemporary twist.”
The name Well Yes fits with a company “yes, yes” list. Campbell is saying yes to more vegetables and yes to more whole grains, said Denise M. Morrison, president and CEO of Camden-based Campbell Soup Co.
Alexander gave updates on other soup brands. In the premium segment, Slow Kettle grew 10 percent in retail sales over the past year.
“Built around a promise of patience, not preservatives, Slow Kettle features restaurant-inspired recipes and clean ingredients,” Alexander said. “This emerging brand has attracted new consumers, strong repeat purchase rates and has great potential. We will strengthen awareness of Slow Kettle through dedicated support as part of our portfolio advertising campaign.”
Campbell also will expand distribution of Campbell’s organic soup, which launched in August 2015.
A new integrated marketing campaign for Chunky brand soup will seek to connect with men in a new way.
“The role of men in American family life is shifting,’” Alexander said. “Modern males are no longer constrained by traditional definitions, and our Chunky men are no different. During the past year we’ve developed a deeper understanding of our Chunky fans. Between their jobs, families and personal interests, they feel they are juggling more responsibilities than ever. They work hard and are proud of their achievements whether it’s on the sidelines of a peewee football game or the aisles of a grocery store.
“Our new advertising campaign reflects this reality and recognizes the everyman for everything he does with adulation usually reserved for NFL stars.”
Advertising and in-store marketing for condensed soup will highlight such examples as the pairing of a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich or the comfort of a chicken noodle soup. The campaign will focus on cooking and one-dish dinners.
Turning to shelf-stable juices, Campbell Soup started selling a V8 Protein line of shakes in September 2014 and then discontinued the line a little more than a year later.
“However, these drinks strayed from our key point of difference, vegetable goodness, and played in highly competitive new spaces,” Alexander said. “As a result they largely haven’t worked. Moving forward we will stabilize the brand by refocusing on our unique vegetable positioning.”
Campbell Soup under its V8 brand will continue to support Veggie Blends and address declines in V-Fusion and Splash.
“Lastly, we will continue to grow V8 +Energy and particularly the new sparkling energy range,” he said. “This brand continues to perform strongly as consumers, especially young parents, choose our blends of pleasant natural juices and green tea over stronger artificial tasting energy drinks. We will invest in building distribution, in-store activation and targeted digital and mainstream advertising to capitalize on the brand’s strong double-digit growth.”
Plum Organics, a line of organic baby food, grew 25 percent over the past year and delivered $119 million in retail sales, he said.
"Plum is a brand loved by millennial parents,” Alexander said. “It connects with them personally and meaningfully through vibrant digital communities of parents and parenting experts.”
Within Americas Simple Meals and Beverages, Campbell has a plan with four priorities, he said. One is to improve performance in soup and beverage categories while continuing to drive growth in Simple Meals. The second priority is to connect with consumers to build relevance and drive demand. The third one is to expand availability across multiple retail channels, and the fourth one is to drive margin expansion.