Slurp

Campbell's make-or-break Millennial soup moment

Friday, September 4, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks |
_When the Campbell Soup delivery arrives_

When the Campbell Soup delivery arrives

Cream of Mushroom Mondays... followed by Tomato Bisque Tuesdays. Campbell was feeling like Souperman back in March after people started stocking up on its pantry classics. The pandemic sales jump was driven by Millennials buying soup, "a trend that many believed was not possible," according to Campbell's CEO. Now, he believes in his shelf.

  • +1%: The quarterly sales growth Campbell posted in March. Sounds underwhelming — actually fantastic for a company whose soup sales have fallen 8 of the past 9 years.
  • +17%: Campbell's wild June quarter growth. People hoarded its pantry products including: Snyder's pretzels, Goldfish crackers, and Pop Secret popcorn (claaassic Netflix lineup).
  • +12%: What Campbell just reported for its latest quarter. Sales of soups, Prego sauces, and V8 juices soared 19%. Despite those tasty numbers...

Campbell stock fell 7% Thursday... That's because demand for its products is slowing after the months-long surge. Campbell’s CEO hasn't lost hope: soups and broths are still being used to cook "more modern" dishes (think: Chicken Noodle + cauliflower rice). But are cauli recipes enough to hold onto the Millennial shoppers gained during the pandemic?

THE TAKEAWAY

Customer retention is hard... especially when your customer growth was fueled by pandemic panic. Campbell is expecting its sales slowdown to continue as we return to a lifestyle that doesn't involve can-hoarding. Young people are eating out more often and eating fresher foods — more frequent grocery trips, less once-a-month hoarding splurges. Campbell hasn't done much Millennial-friendly culinary innovation to retain its new cohort of Soupers.