VISIONARY: CAMPBELL SOUP CO.
All along, Campbell Soup Co. has served up organic growth through new products and line extensions. As its consumers' lives have revved up, so has the company's pace of innovation.
Mary Gregg, director, Campbell North America Packaging, Campbell Soup Co. Global Research & Development, tells Packaging Digest how the company plans to stay relevant—and essential—to the world at large through product and packaging innovation.
Q. What advice do you have for the next generation of packaging professionals?
A: Whenever I offer advice, I remind people that to be a good developer you need to have a good, solid foundation-it's the cost of entry. Then you have to build on that foundation and know your stuff technically. I also believe an entrepreneurial spirit is essential, whether you are at a start-up or at a big company. That mindset helps you to make connections internally, through external partners or through things that you read and apply to help drive collaboration.
Q. What consumer trend(s) will have the most impact on how products are packaged in the future and why?
A: We are already seeing one of the most significant trends: consumer-driven innovation. It's no longer a one-size-fits-all approach where a consumer is defined by a demographic. Instead, you have to dive in and understand consumer needs. The needs drive the insights, which in turn drive the solutions. Our most recent example at Campbell is packaging our new line of Campbell's Go soups in microwavable pouches. Pouches are a relevant format for younger consumers; they are easy to use and their look is fresh and different compared to other packages in the soup aisle.
Another great example comes from our Pepperidge Farm division, where they added a new re-seal feature to Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Cracker chips born from a simple consumer insight-people wanted an easy and convenient way to re-close the bag. They were able to do this in such a way that the re-closure is built right into the bag in a first-of-its-kind closure that provides a benefit to the consumer and to our brand because it maintains the brand image.
Q. How do you motivate your team in packaging R&D/operations/design/QA/logistics?
A: We are investing in our packaging function and that is helping us to create more innovative solutions for consumers that go beyond what's inside the package alone.
One of the most motivating things for our team is that they have the opportunity to cross-train on different brands, experience different technologies and work on different parts of the business. This broadens their skills and expands their horizons. We give people responsibility and ownership for their projects and related expertise. We empower our people—giving them the opportunity to proactively take on leadership opportunities—something we expect and encourage.
We also try to bring in new people with varied backgrounds who have experiences that complement the skill sets that we already have to bring in different perspectives so that we can learn from each other and positively influence everyone else.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
While best known for its "M'm! M'm! Good!" soups, Campbell owns many other popular brands, including V8, Pepperidge Farm, Swanson and Pace. They all, however, share a common campaign for developing convenient and functional packaging.
2002 - Campbell creates one of the biggest packaging developments to hit the soup section in years. Campbell's Soup at Hand (later renamed to Soup On the Go) sippable, portable soup-in-a-cup fits neatly into a car's cupholder and no spoon or other utensil is required.
2008 - Campbell creates a new single-serve 12-oz PET bottle for several of its V8 and V8 V-Fusion juices so they can be dispensed in approximately 15,000 vending machines across the U.S.
2010 - A redesigned club-store container for Pace salsa moves from a single 64-oz polypropylene jug to a new 38-oz multi-layer, hot-filled PET jar that is sold in a "dog bone" double pack. The smaller jars provide consumers greater convenience and usage flexibility, while the barrier design helps maintain product quality.
Campbell is one of the first consumer goods companies to use neuroscience to measure consumers' emotional responses to evaluate options for new designs of its iconic red-and-white soup can label.
2011 - Campbell's new line of Slow Kettle Style premium soups debut in reclosable round plastic tubs with heating instructions that recommend stove heating or microwaving in a separate bowl. Soon after the launch, though, consumers ask for a container that lets them heat the soup in a microwave in the container, and the company develops microwave-safe packaging and begins shipping it to stores in 2012 along with two new varieties.
2012 - Campbell designs its new Go Soup line with Millennials in mind. The standup retort pouches offer features that appeal to this demographic, including high-quality graphics, microwavability and portability. The development earns a Silver Award in the 2013 DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation competition.
The Seal Tab re-close feature on Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Cracker Chips bags also wins a Silver in the 2013 DuPont Awards program. The packaging features a large and visible re-close tab with a pressure-sensitive adhesive system incorporated into the film lamination.
The company's new line of Skillet Sauces is packed in a foil-based retortable stand-up pouch that the consumer simply tears open to use and pours into a skillet.
With a compact design that allows 25 percent more product to be shipped in the same space as before, laminated bags for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Breads reduce the use of materials by 65 percent, and have a reclosable pressure-sensitive seal for easy opening and reclosing. The package wins a 2012 DuPont Award for Packaging Innovation and an AmeriStar award from the Institute of Packaging Professionals.
New single-serve 6.75-oz V8 V-Fusion juice drink boxes are sold in eight packs and feature vibrant colors and playful images of dinosaurs.
2013 - Campbell is named to the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World in a ranking by Corporate Knights, a media and investment research company, for (among other reasons) the redesign of plastic product packaging that saved more than 1.2 million pounds of plastic in fiscal 2012.