Coffee, tea, or chicken noodle?
Yesterday's news about Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB ) teaming up with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR ) to put out instant soups that can be made in Keurig brewers isn't a surprise. The chatter's been out there for some time.
Deciding to team up with Campbell is even less of a surprise. The consumer food giant may have turned heads last year when it offered up its V8 V-Fusion line of veggie beverages as SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA ) syrups, but it's telling of the extents that Campbell is willing to go to in order to get its products consumed through unlikely channels.
If you can have a V8 out of your carbonated beverage maker, why can't your coffeemaker feed you?
When Campbell's Fresh-Brewed Soup becomes available in K-Cup packs next year -- in three flavors including its signature chicken noodle sans the actual chicken chunks -- it will make sense. It won't seem as silly as it does right now.
Keurig's single-cup brewers continue to grow in popularity, and brewing coffee-bean water isn't all that different than heating up soup. Cynics will argue that microwaves are both effective and plentiful. It's not as if K-Cup soups will be superior to other forms of instant soup, especially since packets containing the dried pasta or veggie garnish will be added after the brewing process is complete.
There will also be the fear that switching out K-Cup packs may find coffee grains in your soup or broth in your joe. However, at the end of the day, it does make the Keurig system that much more functional. No one is going to buy a Keurig machine solely because it can make a cup of soup. However, it will be one more reason to own one. It will improve the value proposition. It will force other food companies to play nice with Green Mountain in this new category, just as they have warmed up to both Green Mountain and SodaStream as the category killers in their fields.
Coffee, tea, or soup? Sure, that's a ridiculous-sounding notion now, but Green Mountain knows what it's doing.
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