Campbell Soup Company is the world's leading maker of canned soup with its familar red and white labels found in millions of households across the U.S.. In addition to soup, the company produces spaghetti sauce, crackers, cookies, tomato juice and salsa.
The company's brands include Campbell's, Arnott's, Prego, Swanson, Pace, V8, Bolthouse Farms and Pepperidge Farm. International brands include Erasco soups in Germany, Liebig soups in France, and Arnott biscuit and snacks in Asia. Products are sold in 120 countries worldwide.
Campbell uses almost a million miles of noodles in its Chicken Noodle soup each year, enough to circle the equator more than 40 times. Tomato, Cream of Chicken and Chicken Noodle are the most popular soups made by Campbell and Americans eat about 2.5 billion bowls of these three soups a year.
The North American soup business has nearly 7,000 employees and 11 production facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Pepperidge Farm has almost 5,000 employees and more than 3,500 independent distributors, and operates nine production facilities in the U.S. The International Division has 12 production facilities and about 6,000 employees in 16 countries.
The company reported revenues of $7.7 billion in fiscal 2011, about the same as the previous year, and net income of $774 million. U.S. soup sales were down 2% in fiscal 2011.
In September, Campbell Soup announced it will close a plant in Sacramento which currently produces soups, sauces and beverages. Built in 1947, the Sacramento plant is the oldest in Campbell's U.S. network and has the highest production costs on a per-case basis. The plant has approximately 700 full-time employees. Campbell will close the facility in phases, with plans to cease operations by July 2013. The company plans to shift the majority of Sacramento's production of soups, sauces and beverages to its remaining three thermal plants in Maxton, NC; Napoleon, OH; and Paris, TX.
The company will also close a spice plant in South Plainfield, NJ. Campbell currently operates two spice plants that supply ingredients to its U.S. thermal plants. Opened in 1964, the South Plainfield plant employs 27 people. The company will close the facility by March 2013. Campbell will consolidate spice production at its larger Milwaukee plant.
Campbell bought Bolthouse Farms, a maker of natural beverages and salad dressings, in August for $1.55 billion.
In 1869, two men - a fruit merchant named Joseph Campbell and an icebox manufacturer named Abraham Anderson - shook hands in Camden, NJ, to form a new business. Originally called the Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company, the business produced canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments, and minced meats. In 1897, a major milestone occurred when Arthur Dorrance, the general manager of the company, reluctantly hired his 24-year-old nephew to join the company. Dr. John T. Dorrance, a chemist who had trained in Europe, was so determined to join Campbell that he agreed to pay for laboratory equipment out of his own pocket and accept a token salary of just $7.50 per week.
Dr. Dorrance quickly made his mark on history with the invention of condensed soup in 1897. By eliminating the water in canned soup, he lowered the costs for packaging, shipping, and storage. This made it possible to offer a 10-ounce can of Campbell's condensed soup for a dime, versus more than 30 cents for a typical 32-ounce can of soup. The idea became so hot with Americans that in 1922, the company formally adopted "Soup" as its middle name.
In 1915, the Franco-American Food Company was acquired and the Franco-American brand is continued for spaghetti and pasta products. Campbell's introduced Tomato Soup in 1897, Cream of Chicken and Chicken Noodle soup in 1934.
Advertising helped trumpet the benefits of soup to consumers and contributed to the success. In 1904, the cherubic Campbell Kids were introduced in a series of trolley car advertisements, as a way to appeal to working mothers. Around this same time, the first magazine print ad boasted 21 varieties, each selling for a dime. In the 1930's, Campbell entered into radio sponsorship, using the familiar "M'm! M'm! Good!" jingle to captivate listeners. When television made its way to American homes in the 1950's, Campbell introduced TV commercials, and some 40 years later, the Campbell Kids were found dancing to rap songs on the small screen. Today, Campbell remains one of the leading advertisers in the US.
In 1898, a company executive named Herberton Williams attended the traditional football game between Ivy League rivals Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. For Williams, the game was nearly as exciting as Cornell's brilliant new red and white uniforms. Unable to shake the striking image they made on the football field that day, he convinced the company to adopt the colors as their own by changing the labels on cans of Campbell's Soups.
Campbell introduced Chunky Soup line in 1970.
In 2008, Campbell sold its Godiva brand of chocolates to Yildiz Holding Co. of Turkey for $850 million.
Health and Protection
Updated November 2, 2012