Campbell Soup bases revamp on biometrics

18 February 2010

CAMDEN: Campbell Soup is to launch a wide-ranging overhaul of its products, based on the findings from a two-year research project.

The firm will make changes to around 60% of its iconic condensed soup range, and hopes to boost sales by 2% over the next two years as a result of the revamp.

Campbell currently generates around $1bn (€730m; £640m) of its annual sales from the range.

Biometrics were incorporated as part of the research process, conducted with the assistance of Boston-based Innerscope Research.

Around 40 study participants were fitted with eye-level video cameras, and vests adapted to measure variables such as skin moisture and heart rates, as they shopped for soup.

Subjects were found to be overwhelmed by the choice offered by stores, and therefore showed little biometric response when selecting a product.

The large logo situated at the top of Campbell displays, as well as its bright red colour, was seen as contributing to this situation.

As part of the overhaul, some packaging will be made "more contemporary", with the graphics on the soup tins also set to be modified.

In addition, Campbell intends to rebrand most of its soup varieties into four categories, each coded with a different colour.

However, packaging for the firm's three most-popular varieties – tomato, chicken noodle and cream of mushroom – will remain unchanged.

Marketing messages are to be overhauled, to reposition soup as providing a "simple meal".

Campbell said in a statement: "The company ... intends to better leverage its scale in its US soup marketing efforts and is developing an overarching ad campaign designed to create stronger linkage across its soup brands."

In stores, Campbell also plans to revamp its shelf displays, with biometric research again being used to inform the changes.

All 24,000 of the US retailers carrying the current system will be converted over the next year.

As part of the overhaul, Campbell will introduce new "Canvertables", incorporating smaller versions of its shelf system, to be displayed throughout stores.

The soups themselves are to become less salty, with overall sodium levels in the 23-strong condensed range to be cut by up to 45%.

Douglas R Conant, Campbell's president and ceo, added: "We are going to fire up our important condensed soup business and step up the competitive posture of our ready-to-serve products to accelerate both our top- and bottom-line growth.

"Our new marketing efforts will further position soup as a key part of a healthy, well-balanced simple meal and help consumers make more informed choices."

Campbell Soup also announced that it expects revenue to increase by 2.5–3.5% during 2010, slightly below its previous forecast.

The firm announces its fiscal second quarter results next Monday.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Campbell Soup Company; additional content by Warc staff