Most investors recognize Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB ) as a grocery store staple, producing snacks and beverages that customers around the globe can enjoy at home or on the go. However, this consumer packaged goods company is reshaping its brands based on current market trends.
Campbell recently added Plum Organics, Bolthouse Farms, and The Kelsen Group to its brand portfolio, adding combined annualized sales of approximately $1 billion for all three companies. Each of these acquisitions represent a platform for Campbell to position itself better against competitors such as Treehouse Foods (NYSE: THS ) and B&G Foods (NYSE: BGS ) .
3 growth acquisitions
Campbell acquired Plum Organics, which currently is the No. 2 brand in the $2 billion dollar food category. Plum Organics produces organic baby food products, and strategically places Campbell to expand its platform to millennial parents.
With the purchase of Bolthouse Farms, Campbell positions itself in the $12 billion packaged fresh foods category, a category growing by 6.5% a year. Current revenue for Bolthouse is around $756 million, and the company adds fresh beverages, baby carrots, and gourmet salad dressing to Campbell's brand mix. Campbell saw a 4% decline in the U.S. beverage market last quarter, primarily due to volume and mix. Bolthouse Farms, matched with the previously existing V8 line, positions Campbell to revamp the beverage industry, which is currently flooded with new competitors.
With the addition of The Kelson Group, a maker of quality baked snacks, Campbell is ready to expand its reach in China and Hong Kong. The Kelson Group, a snack company that has $180 million in sales worldwide, derives 33% of its sales from the Chinese and Hong Kong markets. Campbell also hopes to generate sales in the $60 billion global sweets biscuit market.
Strengthening core products
Campbell recently dove into the $200 billion dollar dinner market with a revamped product lineup, including Skillet Sauces, Slow Cooker Sauces, and the launch of a new product line of gourmet specialty soups directly targeted at the Millennial generation.
This push into the dinner market as well as the organic foods line has helped Campbell once again become relevant to a population that is obsessed with their food.
CEO Denise Morrison recently stated that "together, the actions under our dual mandate are reshaping our brand portfolio and shifting our center of gravity for a greater growth trajectory in the long term."
In the company's recent fourth quarter results, sales increased 13%, fueled by big gains in the U.S. soup category, as well as in the global baking and snacking category. With lagging sales in the beverage category of the company, Campbell hopes that Bolthouse Farms, along with a new launch of V8 V-Fusion Refreshers, will boost sales.
Strategically aligning brand portfolios
Treehouse Foods is a Campbell competitor that produces private-label canned soups, skillet dinners, and other grocery store goods. It is best known for its non-dairy creamers and pickles, and is also making key acquisitions that help to push its products into the outskirts of the grocery store aisle. The company recently acquired Associated Brands and Cains Foods. Shares are up 38% for the year, with strong growth potential for the future.
B&G Foods also made four key acquisitions to better leverage its brand in the health conscious consumer space. Pirate Brands, New York Style, Old London, and TrueNorth were key acquisitions within the last 24 months that have bolstered B&G's holdings with low-fat, gluten-free choices for food-sensitive shoppers. Rickland Orchards, whose annualized net sales exceeds $50.0 million dollars, was the latest acquisition in a quartet of healthy living brands that specializes in Greek yogurt coated granola bars and bites.
The bottom line
With Campbell aligning its new business model with current market trends as well as expanding strategically into emerging markets, the company is a great stock for any investor.
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