The $1.55 billion acquisition of Bolthouse Farms from Madison Dearborn Partners, L.L.C. was a defining moment in the past year for Campbell Soup Co., and the company hopes other future growth will come through efforts in simple meals, international strength and success in healthy beverages and baked snacks.
The Bolthouse Farms acquisition was announced in July and finalized in August. It will provide the Camden, N.J.-based company with a presence in the market for packaged fresh foods. Bolthouse’s refrigerated beverages will complement the V8 business, and the acquired fresh carrot products will provide opportunities in healthy snacking.
“We have acquired a terrific business that is a good strategic fit with Campbell’s existing portfolio and growth strategies,” said Denise Morrison, president and chief executive officer.
Campbell in September detailed steps designed to improve its U.S. supply chain cost structure and increase asset utilization across its U.S. thermal plant network.
The company will close a Sacramento, Calif., plant that produces soups, sauces and beverages and shift the majority of that production to thermal plants in Maxton, N.C., Napoleon, Ohio, and Paris, Texas. Campbell also will close a South Plainfield, N.J., spice plant and consolidate spice production at its Milwaukee plant.
Campbell also has named three growth strategies to ensure global strength: stabilizing and profitably growing North American soup and simple meals, expanding the company’s international presence, and continuing to drive growth in healthy beverages and baked snacks.
“Over time, we have become relatively slow to respond effectively to consumer change in the U.S.,” Craig Owens, senior vice-president and chief financial officer, said at a consumer conference in June. “We have not chased as hard and as innovatively as we should have in our U.S. Soup business against new consumers and against the millenials as they have moved into establishing households. We probably haven’t been as focused on demographically one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. consumer base, the Hispanic consumer.”
To help grow simple meals, the company plans to refresh the Chunky and Select Harvest lines and move toward new convenient packaging formats. Additionally, in 2013 the company plans to launch Campbell’s Go!, a line of products with global cuisines and flavors.
In global efforts, the company is expanding soup and beverage distribution in Latin America, introducing Pepperidge Farm cookies in France, exporting soup, beverage and biscuit items into Dubai for distribution throughout the Middle East, and exporting Arnott’s biscuits to more than 70 countries.
With beverages and snacks, the company is continuing to focus on the successful V8 Splash and V8 V-Fusion launches. The company is expanding its offerings for children and adding new flavors to the V8 line.
The company also opened a new 34,000-square-foot Pepperidge Farm innovation center that represents a $30 million investment to drive growth in baked snacks and increase innovation.