IW 50 Best: Campbell Soup's 'Simple' Strategy for Healthy Growth

Health and wellness trends provide 'mmm mmm good' opportunity for food and beverage maker.

First Lady Michelle Obama told a group of children gathered at Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 20 that her Let's Move campaign to fight childhood obesity is working with companies to provide kids with healthier food options.

Building on a nationwide movement toward health and wellness, Campbell Soup Co. has increased investments in healthier foods and beverages. The company plans to launch new V8 products, introduce baked-snack brands to new markets and launch new marketing campaign for its soups, the company said July 12.

Campbell, the 27th-ranked IW 50 Best Manufacturing Company, will introduce three new varieties of teas and V8 V-Fusion vegetable/fruit juice drinks by adding new varieties such as Concord grape raspberry. The company also will add new V8 products, including sweet carrot juice and lower-sodium spicy hot V8 juice along with a more contemporary package design.

V8 accounts for $1 billion in annual retail sales for the company, which posted $7.6 billion in revenues in 2009. Campbell estimates the U.S. healthy beverages market generates sales of $34 billion annually. The company expects further growth in the healthy beverages sector.

"An increasing number of people are turning to beverages as a way to get more vegetables into their diets," said Sean Connolly, president of Campbell USA, in a July 12 statement. "As this focus on health and wellness continues, Campbell's beverage portfolio remains well positioned."

In the baked snacks category the company will increase marketing of its Goldfish and Shapes crackers to the Asia-Pacific region, bolster R&D investments to develop new products, grow its fresh breads with a focus on health and wellness, and introduce existing brands to new markets.

The company also will enhance ingredients to its condensed soup line, including further sodium reductions.

Campbell plans to step up marketing efforts on its ready-to-serve soups in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France and Germany. Other marketing plans include efforts to grow the fresh soup category and expand distribution in restaurants, schools and other out-of-home locations.

The company plans to spend "well above" $100 million for its new soups marketing campaign.

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