Campbell Soup Co. is closing its lone Canadian factory in Toronto and shifting production to three existing facilities in the U.S., a symbolic victory for efforts to bolster domestic manufacturing.
The move will result in 380 job cuts in Canada, with factories in North Carolina, Ohio and Texas picking up the slack, Campbell said on Jan. 24.
But it won’t translate to many new U.S. jobs. Existing workers will handle the increased soup volume, meaning employment gains will be “minimal,” according to Thomas Hushen, a company spokesman.
“This is not about politics or geography -- this was a business decision based on the realities of the market and the limitations of the Toronto facility,” he said. “It is the oldest plant in the Campbell network and, due to its age and size, cannot be retrofit in a competitively viable way.”
Campbell, based in Camden, N.J., has been cutting costs as it grapples with a prolonged sales slump. Consumers have increasingly turned away from canned soup, which they often perceive as overly processed. Campbell -- the maker of Goldfish crackers, in addition to its signature soup -- agreed last month to buy chip-and-pretzel producer Snyder’s-Lance Inc. for about $4.9 billion as salty snacks have shown strong growth.
Campbell is already more U.S.-focused than many food giants, generating more than 80% of its revenue in its home country. Though the jobs impact of the latest move will be small, it fits with President Donald Trump’s push to foster domestic manufacturing.
Campbell CEO Denise Morrison was a member of Trump’s manufacturing council and was present during an early meeting when he complimented the company’s soup. Morrison was later part of an exodus of executives who resigned from the council, which was then disbanded.
The company said it will continue to make soups and broths tailored to Canadian tastes.
By Craig Giammona