Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Lifestyles

September 7, 2012

Soup's On: Campbell Soup looks beyond iconic cans

(Continued)

But executives say with younger consumers, a can just doesn't convey freshness. So the new Go soups come in white pouches featuring colorful fonts and photos of expressive, young faces. The Skillet sauces are meant to be a bit more sophisticated; they come in black pouches designed to evoke the chalkboard menus at sidewalk cafes.

But the new looks come with a price. A can of Chunky soup costs about $2.30 and has a shelf-life of about two years; the new pouches will cost about $3 and are good for about half that time.

HEATING UP SALES

Campbell is counting on its new soups to keep its brand relevant. While the company makes other products like Pepperidge Farm baked goods and V8 vegetable juices, soups account for half its revenue.

Still, executives remain cautiously optimistic about the fate of the new lineup. When the company reported its quarterly results earlier this week, Campbell executives said they expect sales growth in fiscal 2013. But that increase is expected to come from Campbell's recent acquisition of a premium juice company, not from its soups, broths and sauces unit.

In the latest quarter, the Camden, N.J.-based company's profit increased 27 percent as soup sales rose for the first time in two years. But that was partly the result of grocers running promotions and stocking up on low inventories as Campbell prepares to raise prices.

The company was also up against an easy comparison; in the year-ago period, soup sales had fallen by 9 percent and the results were weighed down by restructuring charges.

As for the new products that are expected to be widely available at stores later this month, CEO Denise Morrison said the company should have a better read on how they'll fare after its fiscal first quarter.

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