Campbell Soup Co. -- which has put soup in see-through tubs and sipping cups -- is now shoving it in a pouch as the marketer embraces innovations and new packaging in search of a turnaround.
The new microwavable pouches will be sold under the name, Campbell's Go! Soup, and will launch in up to six flavors ranging from Coconut Curry with Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms to Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas. The flavors, which are a mouthful even to say, are aimed at younger consumers.
CEO Denise Morrison previewed the launch at an investor conference while providing an update on plans to revive the U.S. soup business, which has been in decline for a while. Campbell reported domestic soup sales down 2% last quarter. The new strategy,first announced in July, seeks to reverse Campbell's overemphasis on sodium reduction and its failure to reach out to young shoppers, who increasingly skip the soup aisle for other simple meals, such as frozen foods.
Speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference today, Ms. Morrison framed the new approach as one that "requires moving from a high dependence on line extensions to more disruptive innovation, new and differentiated products, packaging and category segments that create new pathways for growth." At the same time, Campbell is sticking by its plan to pour an additional $100 million this year into brand-building, research and development, and product launches.
In total, Campbell plans more than 50 new soup and simple meal products this year, up from 27 last year, Ms. Morrison said. Other new offerings include Campbell's Gourmet Bisques, which will be packaged in small boxes and include flavors such as Thai Tomato Coconut. The bisques will be positioned as a starter course for dinner or as an accompaniment. In fiscal 2013, Campbell will introduce skillet sauces -- also in a pouch -- marketed as to be put over meat or other protein for a quick meal.
Pouches and boxes aside, the can will remain at the company's core. "When we talk about our U.S. soup strategy, we talk about first celebrate the can, then expand soup beyond the can, and then expand them to the greater simple-meals arena," Ms. Morrison said.