Skip to comments.Campbell Soup sees boon in tight budgets
Posted on 12/06/2008 8:17:23 PM PST by Coleus
Judging by Dayna Neumann's pantry, the latest U.S. recession may become a boon for the Campbell Soup Co., just as the last two economic contractions did. Neumann's family, in Louisville, Ky., is bracing "for a rough road ahead," says the 32-year-old working mother. After her 30-year-old husband, Nick, substituted $1.75 Campbell Chunky soup for restaurant lunches in September, she started buying as many as 15 cans at a time.
The appeal of a cheap meal may be good news for sales at the world's largest soup maker, which says it sells to 85 percent of U.S. households. Its shares have already become an outlier in these hard times, outperforming the other 11 companies in the Standard & Poor's Packaged Foods Index in the past three months. The recession will make 2009 "the year of condensed soup, driven by the backdrop of severe economic pressure on the consumer," wrote Mitchell Pinheiro, a Philadelphia-based analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. In its 139-year existence, Campbell Soup has survived 28 recessions, two world wars and the Great Depression. The Camden-based food giant may outdistance General Mills Inc., maker of Progresso soup, in shipments in 2009, says Terry Bivens, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst in New York.
Campbell Soup is "acknowledged as a way to weather a recession," says Edgar Roesch, a Soleil Securities Corp. analyst in New York who rates the shares "buy." Campbell's U.S. soup sales accelerated by 6 percent in the fiscal 12 months ended July 2001, a period that included part a recession running from March through November of that year, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. Soup sales rose 7 percent in the year ended July 1990 and 5 percent in the next 12 months, overlapping the contraction from July 1990 through March 1991.
As the economy becomes more sluggish in 2008, the company's soup sales in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have climbed 12 percent to 14 percent since late August, according to Alton Stump, an analyst at Longbow Research in Independence, Ohio, who polled managers at 50 locations. He has a "neutral" rating on Campbell's stock. "There will not be a recession in eating," said Harry Balzer, who has studied U.S. eating habits for more than 30 years for NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. "There will only be winners and losers."
Fifty-seven percent of households are serving leftovers for dinner, according to Balzer, versus a historic mean of 55 percent. U.S. workers took an average of 42 homemade meals to work in the 12 months through February, the most since 1995, he said. Campbell controls about 70 percent of the $5 billion-a-year U.S. soup market and is offering two-cans-for-$1 deals to maintain the lead.
Sales of the iconic red-and-white cans of condensed soup, which must be mixed with water, advanced 6 percent in the quarter ended Aug. 3, the company said. Ready-to-serve varieties increased 5 percent as Americans ate at home more, it said. Measured by shipments to retailers, Campbell's volume will increase an estimated 3.5 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2009, said JPMorgan's Bivens. He projects decelerating shipments for General Mills, cereal maker Kellogg Co. and Sara Lee Corp., which sells Jimmy Dean sausages and frozen desserts.
Over the past five years, Campbell has lost ground to Progresso in sales of soup that's ready to eat from the can. To reverse that trend, Campbell Chief Executive Officer Douglas Conant spent $115 million on research and development in the last fiscal year, up 12 percent from the previous two. His increased investment led to the introduction of pop-top lids, microwavable soups and, more recently, varieties with less salt and fewer chemical additives. He declined to comment. The company has also recently published newspaper ads that say Progresso chicken noodle contains flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate while Campbell's Select Harvest doesn't.
"They've gone on the offensive in the ready-to-serve segment," said Roesch, the Soleil Securities analyst. "They've been waiting until they had a product that in some ways is superior." Jo-Lynne Shane in Philadelphia serves Campbell's Chicken & Stars soup to her three children and makes casseroles with Cream of Mushroom. The 36-year-old homemaker, who contributes to the Silicon Valley Moms blog that offers how-to-spend-less advice, stopped making chicken Marsala and other costly dishes after her husband, Paul, urged her to spend less on groceries. "My husband was bugging me to cut back," Shane said. "He said he could even stand tuna casserole once a month."
of course it is cheap.
Interesting, not least because I was just doing some back-of-the-envelope what-if analysis on soup in my own food budget the other day. Concluded immediately that it’s a good gig or Campbell’s and their ilk.
One word: SPAM
Let's hope not, champ.
People just don’t understand how badly America is getting screwed. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The government should require Campbell’s to help bail out the auto industry!
My favorites are plain old Tomato and the Chicken w/Rice
Hot soup, some garlic bread, maybe some scrambled eggs... Good cold-weather winter grub.
You mean massive financial manipulation and the destruction of banks due to CRA lawsuits by community organaizers and his moles making hundreds of millions at Fannie and Freddie? They then unleashed the virus into the bank system while their hedge funds buddings (naked shorting and buy credit default swaps) went down the list wiping out company after company. Followed by a crescendo to hit in October.
The people at Enron and Worldcom did far less than O’s cronies did at Fannie & Freddie plus Rubin at Citi.
This is a coup.
sounds good to me.. I like the chicken noodle the best, next is chicken with rice.
Tomato made with milk, yum.
Sometimes with half a tuna salad sandwich and some Fritos.
LOL! I’ve had it twice this week.
During the summer I eat a lot lighter - more salads, fresh fruits, juice, ice tea with honey.
But during the winter, when it’s cold and damp/snowy, I load up on carbs. Pastas, soups, pizzas, etc.
Almost time for me to get ready to make lasagna. We’re talking major planning and work here, cause I never make fewer than 3 lasagnas at once, and usually five or six!
it’s great stuff, made with NJ water!
If Campbell sees a boom, imagine how well Purina is going to do! Mmmmmmm.... dog food!
Last night I was ‘forced’ to use Pringles Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips with the Tomato soup.
Now I’m hungry.....lol
Did you have to tell me that? grrrrr.....
Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two p
ennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,
Beautiful, beauti—FUL SOUP!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Did you have to tell me that? grrrrr..... >>
why do you think it’s yellow?