Home cooking boosts Campbell’s broth sales

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014 12:00 am

NEW YORK (AP) — When people take an interest in cooking, broth sales apparently get a bump.

Campbell Soup has been struggling to boost sluggish sales of its famous condensed and ready-to-eat canned soups. But there is a bright spot in its U.S. soup division: broth.

The company on Friday reported a higher quarterly profit as U.S. soup sales rose 5 percent. The bump was largely a quirk of the calendar, however; Thanksgiving fell later in the year, meaning the higher shipments associated with the holidays were pushed back to its fiscal second quarter.

In fact, Campbell said consumer purchases for its soup division were actually down 1percent in the period. People bought more of its Swanson broth, but that was offset by declines in purchases of its condensed and ready-to-eat soups.

In a call with analysts, Campbell CEO Denise Morrison noted that the growth in broths is being driven by “an increase in homemade soup behavior” and people cooking more with broth in general.

Mark Alexander, president of Campbell North America, added that people often buy broth to make homemade soup but start using it for other purposes over time. That could include boiling vegetables or making stir fries.

“Broth is for people for whom cooking is a big deal,” Alexander said, noting that Campbell targets a customer it refers to as a “passionate kitchen master.”

The strategy of catering to people’s desire for both convenience and homemade meals can been seen in other parts of Campbell’s portfolio. The company’s new “Skillet” sauces, for instance, are positioned as a way to make a quick homemade dinner. All people have to do is add vegetables and meat to the sauces.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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