NORWALK, CT -- Campbell Soup Co. has its sights set on acquiring companies that would ramp up its global baking and snacking business, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Campbell chief executive Denise Morrison told reporters during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the company's new innovation center at its Pepperidge Farm headquarters here that it is exploring purchasing competitors both in the U.S. and abroad.
Morrison did not elaborate on the details of the strategy. However, she previously said that the company's priorities include reinvigorating its sluggish soup business, continuing to grow its baking and snacking division -- its second-largest business following its namesake soup and simple meals division --and finding ways to expand internationally.
Irene Chang Britt, who became president of the baking and snack foods business last month, said that she is working to expand the Campbell brand overseas, with an aim to boost its third ranked position behind Kellogg and Kraft Foods.
Campbell's main snacking brands include Pepperidge Farm, the maker of Goldfish crackers and Milano cookies, and Arnott's, maker of Tim Tams biscuits that are popular in Australia. Sales in the division hit $2.2 billion in fiscal 2012, offsetting slower sales in the soup business.
A global upswing in the snacking trend supports Campbell's mission. Its canned soups, however, have proven to be a tougher sell in some countries, like Russia, where consumers' favor for homemade soups prompted the company to exit the market in 2011.
Campbell's said the addition of its just-opened $30 million Pepperidge Farm innovation center will help the company to accelerate the rate of new product development across its in its global baking and snacking portfolio. The new facility allows the company to pilot new products on site on a scaled-down production line rather than in a full-size plant away from headquarters.
Campbell is also expanding its beverage business. In July, the Camden, NJ-based company announced plans to acquire Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 billion in cash. The acquisition of Bolthouse will provide Campbell with a substantial presence and new platform for expansion in the rapidly growing $12-billion market for packaged fresh foods. Bolthouse's premium refrigerated beverages will complement Campbell's V8 beverage business and create one of the industry's largest "healthy" beverage platforms, with annual sales of approximately $1.2 billion. | SEE STORY