Yesterday, our CEO Denise Morrison presented four interconnected emerging growth platforms that hold the greatest promise for Campbell to more than 500 analysts at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference. Front and center was how we’re using strategic foresight to define the future of real food.
Denise described a series of powerful forces that have fundamentally altered the food industry—what she has repeatedly called seismic shifts. They include transformative demographic shifts …. with baby boomers giving way to Millennials and Gen Z; a renewed focus on health and well-being; the lightening-fast pace of technological advancements of what Klaus Schwab has called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
And these shifts include socio-economic forces with a shrinking middle class in mature markets and a burgeoning one in developing markets.
“Guided by our Purpose and our strategic imperatives, we set out to identify clear and compelling growth opportunities. We gathered and synthesized marketplace, consumer, culinary, and technology trends, along with cultural and ethnographic information. We conducted extensive interviews with futurists, academics, chefs, designers, nutritionists, and anthropologists. This is not the way we used to do things at Campbell. But it’s the way we must do things in the future.”
We evaluated many scenarios and numerous futures. In the end, for truly compelling growth platforms emerged:
E-commerce will transform the food industry—just as it’s transformed the apparel and entertainment industries. Today’s diverse e-commerce ecosystem includes delivery services, click-and-collect options and subscription-based meal services. The virtual and real worlds are blending together, creating a new landscape for consumer engagement. Consumer expectations are shifting from centralized locations and platforms to diverse omni-channel experiences.
This is a game-changer for consumers, food makers, distributors and retailers alike. One of the ways we are going to compete and thrive in this new environment is to evolve our supply chain. As consumers shop in new ways, retailers look for increasing customization and new channels continue to emerge, we will develop a network of four distribution centers, separate from our current warehouses, to give us a more agile and flexible distribution system.
“This constitutes a new architecture—an always-on shopping environment that provides consumers with instant and omnipresent gratification and will be free of inconvenience and delays. Shopping for and preparing meals will be flexible, fully automated, and even anticipatory.”
The jam-packed nature of life is changing the way consumers eat. The lines between snacks and meals are blurring. In fact, more than half of all U.S. eating occasions are now snacks and Denise called the $89 billion U.S. snacking market a “tremendous growth opportunity.”
Today, more than two-thirds of all snacks are of the “mindless munching” variety — purchased to satisfy cravings. The snacks of tomorrow will be more deliberate, with a specific purpose; they will be more accessible, affordable and high-quality; and they will be customizable and offer functional benefits.
We’re focused on dialing up the functional benefits of our existing snacks, while also selecting the real food ingredients that can address specific needs, such as endurance, mood and energy management.
At the end of the day, our goal is to create entirely new snacking platforms that understand how consumers are eating while staying true to our Purpose.
We’re all different shapes, sizes, ages, and genders, and we all have different lifestyles. The next frontier in nutrition will be about personalizing diets for each consumer’s physiology, lifestyle and health goals. This foresight inspired us to fund a new startup company called Habit—founded and led by Neil Grimmer, the entrepreneur who also created our Plum Organics business. The Habit team is 5 weeks into a launch in the Greater San Francisco area—and there’s already a waiting list.
At Campbell, Our Purpose—Real Food That Matters for Life’s Moments—and our Real Food Philosophy are closely linked to the Limitless Local movement.
Limitless Local embraces smaller, regional farming and food production models that foster new narratives around quality, community and place. Consumers desire fresh, high-quality food that’s produced in a transparent way. They crave an authentic story that brings them inside where, how and by whom their food is made.
We’re doing local in a variety of ways with brands like 1915 by Bolthouse Farms, Well Yes! soup, Prego Farmers’ Market and a project where a passionate team of employees recreated a small batch of Dr. John Dorrance’s 1915 recipe for Beefsteak Tomato Soup using local New Jersey beefsteak tomatoes.
Pursuing these four growth platforms demands fresh thinking
This requires an ecosystem of innovative partners and requires us to pursue new models of innovation, including thoughtful M&A in faster-growing spaces; leveraging strategic suppliers to bolster our own R&D efforts; expanding our footprint in venture capital through the Acre Venture Fund; pursuing innovation incubators and accelerators; and launching startups.
If you look closely at the 148-year history of Campbell…