Campbell's Stone Soup

Campbell Walks Away from Tired Food Fights 

Campbell Soup is walking away from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and tired old food fights. Campbell’s aim is to become the leading health and well-being food company. And in light of this intention, said CEO Denise Morrison, the GMA no longer represents her company’s interests:

This is not a financial decision. It’s a decision driven by our purpose and our principles.

Real food has become a non-negotiable demand by consumers. Campbell is listening.

GMA: Leading the Fight for “Big Food” on Labeling

If you want to point to a big food trade association, GMA is it. The group represents the biggest brands in the food industry. Founded in 1908, it’s headquartered on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

GMA has been at the forefront of a number of fights over food labeling. Perhaps most notable is the fight over GMO labeling. In 2013, GMA petitioned the FDA for permission to label products with GMO ingredients as “natural.” GMA took a leading role in the messy fight over national standards for disclosing GMO ingredients on all food products.

And so, GMA’s tactics in fighting GMO labeling became a core reason for Campbell to leave the group. GMA used new GMO labeling rules as an pretext for winning an indefinite delay in new standards for the Nutrition Facts label.

A Strategic Imperative

“Consumers, not brands are in control today,” reports Supermarket News. “Consumers are rejecting processed foods and old-school brands.”

A brand could hardly be more old-school than Campbell’s Soup. So the company is making acquisitions and innovating at a feverish pace. It’s hiring talent from Amazon to lead a new e-commerce division. It made a $10 million investment in Chef’d and a $32 million investment in Habit. They are two innovative meal kit startups focused on health. The full list of recent acquisitions is quite a bit longer.

To be sure, strategic juggernauts like this one are risky. But if you want to learn about consumer preferences regarding food and health, watch this story unfold.

Click here for more from Organic Authority, here for more from Quartz, and here for more from Food Dive.

Campbell’s Stone Soup, photograph © Theresa Thompson / flickr

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July 27, 2017

One Response to “Campbell Walks Away from Tired Food Fights ”

  1. July 27, 2017 at 6:48 am, Joe Gitchell said:

    This will be fascinating, Ted. There are real parallels to the efforts of the large incumbent tobacco/nicotine companies as they race to meet consumer demands for products that do not burn.