Campbell Soup started canning soup in 1869, and today is widely recognized as the category leader with its iconic red-and-white label. Yet in 2012, it boldly moved in a new packaging direction—a stand-up retort pouch—for its new Millennial-favored Go Soups.
Shortly after the launch, Mary Gregg, who is now the company’s global director, Next Generation Packaging, Research and Development, explained to Packaging Digest readers, “Campbell Soup is thinking outside the can to find ways to appeal to a whole new consumer. Our Go Soups have flavors that appeal to Millennials like Spicy Corizo & Pulled Chicken with Black Beans, and Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Guoda. These soups are packaged in convenient, microwavable pouches and are perfect for time-crunched 20-somethings.”
Adding a retort pouch to its lineup definitely created a new frame of reference for the company and its soups. It’s this type of innovative thinking that Gregg instills in her team, which is focused on long-range packaging development. She also leads the Packaging Community of Practice at Campbell, an employee group that concentrates on driving excellence for the packaging department globally.
During her 23-year career at Campbell, Gregg has worked on or led packaging efforts for every business unit in the company, including soups, simple meals, beverages and foodservice products.
The Michigan State School of Packaging grad also leads outside the company. She is a steering committee member of the PMMI Packaging Management Council, which is comprised of packaging development leaders across the Consumer Product Group who are focused on promoting best practices in packaging research and development management.
As part of our continuing coverage of the Leading Ladies of Packaging, Gregg shares advice for others who aspire to packaging leadership.
What advice do you have for other people (female or male) who aspire to be a captain of packaging?
Gregg: It is imperative to build a solid technical foundation as a developer and to get established as technical leader early in a career as it is the cost of entry. From there, skills can be built that round out other areas of leadership.
I also believe an entrepreneurial spirit is essential, whether you are with a start-up or at a big company. That mindset helps make connections to drive innovation and also can work to inspire the teams that you lead to greater achievements.
Lastly, follow your passion as it is important to enjoy the journey.