Campbell soup has a long, rich history and can still be found on.your grocer shelved.
The Campbell Soup Company, also known as Campbell’s, is an American producer of canned soups and related products. Campbell’s products are sold in 120 countries around the world. It is headquartered in Camden, New Jersey. Campbell’s divides itself into three divisions: the simple meals division, which consists largely of soups both condensed and ready-to-serve, the baked snacks division, which consists of Pepperidge Farm, and the health beverage division, which includes V8 juices. Campbell’s runs a program for schools, Labels for Education.
The company was started in 1869 by Joseph A. Campbell, a fruit merchant from Bridgeton, New Jersey, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer from South Jersey. They produced canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments, and minced meats.
In 1876, Anderson left the partnership and the company became the “Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company”.
Campbell reorganized into “Joseph Campbell & Co.” in 1896. In 1897, John T. Dorrance, a nephew of the general manager Arthur Dorrance, began working for the company at a wage of $7.50 a week. Dorrance, a chemist with degrees from MIT and Göttingen University, Germany, developed a commercially viable method for condensing soup by halving the quantity of its heaviest ingredient: water. He went on to become president of the company from 1914 to 1930, eventually buying out the Campbell family.
In 1898, Herberton Williams, a Campbell’s executive, convinced the company to adopt a carnelian red and bright white color scheme, because he was taken by the crisp carnelian red color of the Cornell University football team’s uniforms. To this day, the layout of the can, with its red and white design and the metallic gold medal seal from the 1900 Paris Exhibition, has changed very little, with the exception of the French phrase on the top of the gold seal that said “Exposition-Universelle-Internationale” which was changed to the English name of the exhibition as “Paris International Exposition”.
Campbell Soup became one of the largest food companies in the world under the leadership of William Beverly Murphy. He was elected executive vice president of Campbell Soup in 1949 and was President and CEO from 1953 to 1972. While at Campbell’s Soup Company, he took the corporation public and increased its brand portfolio to include Pepperidge Farm’s breads, cookies, and crackers, Franco-American’s gravies and pastas, V8 vegetable juices, Swanson broths, and Godiva’s chocolates. David Johnson was President and CEO from 1990 until 1997.
Campbell Soup invested heavily in advertising since its inception, and many of its promotional campaigns have proven value in the Americana collectible advertising market. Perhaps best known are the “Campbell Kids” designed by illustrator Grace Drayton. Ronald Reagan was a spokesman for V8 when Campbell’s acquired the brand in 1948.
In addition to collectible advertising, the company has also had notable commercial sponsorships. Among these was Orson Welles’s The Campbell Playhouse, which had previously been The Mercury Theatre on the Air. After the program’s adaptation of The War of the Worlds became a sensation for accidentally starting a mass panic due to its realism, Campbell’s took over as sponsor of the radio theater program in December 1938.
In the UK and Ireland, Campbell Soup was rebranded as Batchelors Condensed Soup (UK) and Erin (Ireland) in March 2008, when the license to use the brand name expired. Premier Foods, St. Albans, Hertfordshire bought the Campbell Soup Company in the UK and Ireland, for £450m ($830m) in 2006, but was licensed to use the brand only until 2008. Under this agreement, the US-based Campbell Soup Company continued to produce Campbell’s Condensed Soup but could not sell the product in the UK for a further five years.
Campbell’s continues to be a major part of Camden, New Jersey, regularly participating in charity events in the community. In 2009, Campbell’s completed the building of a new and expanded headquarters in the city.
In January 2010, Campbell’s Canadian subsidiary began selling a line of soups that are certified by the Islamic Society of North America as being halal (prepared in accordance with Islamic law). Although Campbell does not have any plans to sell its halal soups in the United States, the move has drawn criticism from anti-Muslim critics in the United States. Blogger Pamela Geller called for a boycott of the company.
In July 2011, Campbell’s Soup decided to once again sell its product in the UK after being absent since 2008. Symingtons began manufacturing the brand under license by Symingtons. The new line-up comprised twelve cup soups, five simmer soups designed to be cooked in a pot of water, four savoury rice lines, and four savoury pasta and sauce packets. The new range will not be sold in cans, but instead sold in packets and boxes. Later in 2011, the canned varieties have also returned to supermarket shelves with refreshed labels and new lines.
In 2012, Campbell announced plans to buy Bolthouse Farms, a maker of juices, salad dressings and baby carrots, for $1.55 billion. Analysts saw this as an attempt to reach younger, more affluent consumers.
In June 2013, Campbell acquired the Danish multinational baked goods company Kelsen Group for an undisclosed amount. Kelsen has an 85-country distribution network and is seen as providing Campbell with opportunities for international expansion, particularly into China and other Asian markets.
In June 2015, Campbell Soup acquired salsa maker Garden Fresh Gourmet for a fee of $231 million as it looked to expand into the fresh and organic packaged foods business.