The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Campbell Soup sees stronger broth sales as interest in cooking grows

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - When people take an interest in cooking, broth sales apparently get a bump.

Campbell Soup has been struggling to boost sluggish sales of its famous condensed and ready-to-eat canned soups. But there is a bright spot in its U.S. soup division: broth.

The company on Friday reported a higher quarterly profit as U.S. soup sales rose 5 per cent. The bump was largely a quirk of the calendar, however; Thanksgiving fell later in the year, meaning the higher shipments associated with the holidays were pushed back to its fiscal second quarter.

In fact, Campbell said consumer purchases for its soup division were actually down 1 per cent in the period. People bought more of its Swanson broth, but that was offset by declines in purchases of its condensed and ready-to-eat soups.

In a call with analysts, Campbell CEO Denise Morrison noted that the growth in broths is being driven by "an increase in homemade soup behaviour" and people cooking more with broth in general.

Mark Alexander, president of Campbell North America, added in a phone interview that people often buy broth to make homemade soup, but start using it for other purposes over time. That could include boiling vegetables or making stir fries.

"Broth is for people for whom cooking is a big deal," Alexander said, noting that Campbell targets a customer it refers to as a "passionate kitchen master."

The growing interest in cooking is why Campbell recently introduced a line of flavoured broths, which let people make homemade dishes while greatly reducing the amount of work they have to do in the kitchen.

The strategy of catering to people's desire for both convenience and homemade meals can been seen in other parts of Campbell's portfolio. The company's new "Skillet" sauces, for instance, are positioned as a way to make a quick homemade dinner. All people have to do is add some vegetables and meat to the sauces, which come in flavours such as Green Thai Curry and Creamy Chipotle.

The packages are intended to appeal particularly to people in their 20s and 30s, a group referred to as Millennials by marketers. As Campbell's head of innovation Darren Serrao explained in 2012, "Their definition of cooking is different. Assembly is cooking."

Last fall, Campbell even introduced a "Why I Cook" marketing campaign for Swanson to encourage people to use broth in a variety of ways.

What the growth in broth and cooking means for canned soups isn't clear.

The latest quarter's 5 per cent sales increase for the soup division includes a 4 per cent increase for condensed soups, flat sales for ready-to-serve soups and a 21 per cent increase for broth.

But those results are a bit skewed by the timing of Thanksgiving. Results for the first half of the company's fiscal year paint a better picture of the trend:

—Sales of condensed soups are down 1 per cent.

—Sales of ready-to-serve soups such as Chunky are down 5 per cent.

—Broth sales are up 10 per cent.

__________

Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kenney lashes out at Manitoba's “campaign of fear” on immigration

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support a proposed ban on tanning beds for youth under 18?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google