Campbell’s thinks Goldfish can save it from soup

Just keep reaching into that bag for another five years.
Just keep reaching into that bag for another five years.
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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You’d think a soup company looking to branch out would be betting the farm on oyster crackers. But Campbell’s is convinced Goldfish are the next big thing.

The American soup giant reported strong earnings today, led by a 14% sales jump in the company’s global baking and snacking business. The company owns Pepperidge Farm, which makes, among other goodies, Goldfish. Sales of the popular, fish-shaped crackers grew by 5% this quarter, adding to a decade of solid growth.

Campbell’s, which has been losing steam in canned soup sales, raved about the decades-old snack on its earnings call; it thinks the humble orange cracker can shake its image as the American toddler’s best friend to find more customers—namely American teens. Hence its recent move into Goldfish Puffs, a variation of the snack “designed to reach the teens who still love Goldfish, even though their moms may mistakenly think they’ve outgrown them,” the company told investors ahead of the snack’s launch last summer.

As part of that endeavor, Campbell’s is also toiling with an online Goldfish game and Goldfish mac and cheese featuring fish-shaped pasta. It’s something of a desperate play, considering that its simple meals division (which include its soups) now accounts for less than half of the company’s sales; snacks and baked goods have grown to nearly 30% of its business in 2013. “We have plans to drive Goldfish with aggressive promotional activity, increased customer supported merchandising and accelerated channel expansion,” the company recently said.