Don’t Cry Over Spilled Soup!

As cold and flu season is fast approaching, it would be fair to assume that soup consumption will rise, not so says the largest soup maker, Campbell’s who has experienced declining consumption of its canned soups. According to research overall canned soup, consumption is down 13 percent and more individuals prefer fresh soups offered at supermarkets and restaurants. In a recent article Campbell’s announced it is will be closing two of their plants to cut cost, which will result in cutting more than 700 jobs. Campbell’s largest and highest production costing plant in California will be the closing in July of 2013 and their spice plant in New Jersey will be transferred to the company’s other spice plant in Milwaukee in March 2013.


In order to maintain competitive advantage over their competitors Campbell’s has decided to freshen up their image to lure younger consumers by introducing new soup flavors and sauces, such as, coconut curry with chicken & shiitake mushrooms and tomato roasted garlic bacon bisque and change from the iconic steel can design to offering their new products in pouches. In addition, Campbell’s has taken notice of the growing culture of consumers who seek healthier and fresher foods; thus, Campbell’s has embarked upon the fresh packaged food category by recently purchasing Bolthouse Farms for 1.55 billion dollars. Clearly, Campbell’s operations management strategy is geared towards low cost production, minimizing cost by eliminating products that are not returning good profits and maintaining competitive advantage over it competitors (supermarkets and restaurants offering fresh soup) with the purchase of fresh packaged food company Bolthouse Farms.

Check Out Campbell’s Article

Campbell’s is the world’s largest soup maker that has 19,900 employees globally. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for August 2012 was at 8.1% still considerably high. 700+ Campbell’s soup employees will be joining the others in the unemployment line starting as early as March 2013. What is your take on soup giants’ operations management approach?


8 thoughts on “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Soup!

  1. It’s definitely a good thing. It’s hard to believe that Campbell’s is doing so poorly, because when I think of, not just canned soup, but soup in general, Campbell’s comes to mind first. With help from some of the top athletes in the NFL helping market the Chunky soup, I would’ve thought they would stay on top. Makes sense to get rid of something that’s only declining in return and replace it with something more geared to what people want. As far as switching from a can to a pouch, don’t know if that’s going to do much, but we’ll see. Good post.

  2. I know that I as a consumer, am more likely to go for the fresh hot soup offered at grocery stores versus the canned soup option. It was a smart move for Cambell’s to purchase Bolthouse Farms because individuals today are more conscious of the ingredients in their food. If people see that Campbell’s is using natural ingredients they will be more inclined to purchase their products. As for offering the soup in pouches, I agree with nlopez above me… I’m not sure if I would be inclined to eat my soup out of a bag.

  3. Wow, I never knew Campbell’s was in such position. When I think of canned soup, Campbell’s is the first that comes to mind because it’s been in the industry for so long. I think the company has to do what it has to do to generate more sales. It’s good that their marketing team is keeping up with the trends and making adjustments and changes.

  4. I think that Campbell’s operations management approach is a very smart move on their part, considering that tastes have dramatically changed since it was founded in 1869. People are a lot more health-conscious now and looking for the freshest ingredients in the foods they consume. Like others, I’m not sure if buying soup in a pouch sounds appetizing to me, but the introduction of more interesting and hearty soup flavors is a great way to attract a more diverse audience.

    Overall, Campbell’s definitely has the potential to increase consumption of their soups by changing the perception of their brand. Luckily, their brand has always evoked a feeling of old-fashioned, homemade food, and they will be able to rely on this as they adjust their products.

  5. I found this post to be very interesting and somewhat shocking. I completely understand why people look for healthier and fresher options when it comes to eating. But I would also think that with todays economic climate you would see more people saving a couple extra bucks and buy the canned products rather than fresher more expensive food items. It also looks like Campbell’s will have a chance to improve by marketing towards a younger consumers which is very important. Even though rebranding and changing the image of their products might be expensive, it is something that Campbell’s should seriously consider.

  6. Campbell’s move towards cutting cost by condensing operations is a right direction for the company. The company introduction to new flavors will attract new consumers and revitalize their sales. The downfall of this condensing of operations is 700+ people need to look for new jobs in this already tough economy. The only thing that concerns me is that how come Campbell didn’t think about reviving their sales in the earlier years or start serving fresh soup at groceries stores. By doing this Campbell’s might have increased sales and could have saved those jobs that will lost in 2013.

  7. Do you think one of the reasons that sales do not peak during seasonal sickness is that canned soup is generally a nonperishable food and can keep on shelves for a while? While for that and many other reasons (like many others commented, that Campbell’s is the first thing you imagine when you think soup) canned food has always been a staple, people are favoring fresher foods. This could me trend towards healthier foods as well, as a possible response to the average American’s ever increasing weight.

    Campbell’s approach to cost cutting seems wise in my opinion. The average can of Campbell’s costs between $1-$2 and is a good option to eat cheaply. Attempting to move into the low cost market even more will give them a good niche to stay in while expanding to more interesting flavors broadens their interest base.

  8. The fact that consumers are becoming more health conscious has a huge impact on Campbells. We now want fresh food not something in a can that is pact full of preservatives. The fact that soup can sit on our self forever is no longer an appealing factor. Offering more unconventional flavors might increase their sales but will not address the problem faced from the competition that is offering fresh made soup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *