Hoping to give a Keurig brewer the best of "broth" worlds, Campbell Soup (CPB -1.68%) is teaming up with Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR.DL) to put out a new line of soups that come in the form of a K-Cup with a separate noodle packet.
Campbell's Fresh-Brewed Soup comes in Homestyle Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix and Southwest Style Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix varieties, and each one packs no more than 70 calories per serving.
The process is simple. A Campbell's broth pod is placed in the same K-Cup slot as Keurig's signature K-Cups. Noodle packets are emptied into a mug that welcomes in the Keurig-brewed broth. That's when spoon-wielding soup fans just stir in the contents and start slurping. The traditional chicken noodle packet consists of just noodles, carrot pieces, and spices. Those looking for more of a kick can turn to the Southwest brew, which features roasted corn, red peppers, cumin, and a hint of chili powder that perk up the noodles. There are no artificial flavors or colors in either brew.
If this sounds familiar it's because this isn't news. Campbell Soup and Keurig announced that they would be teaming up to roll out instant soups that can be made in Keurig brewers more than two years ago. It pointed to a 2014 debut at the time for Campbell's Fresh-Brewed Soup in three varieties. It's a flavor short and a year late, but it's finally here.
A lot has happened since the partnership was originally announced. Keurig Green Mountain stock has taken a beating. The market didn't take to its restrictive Keurig 2.0 platform, and the delay of the ballyhooed Keurig Kold hasn't helped. The stock shed nearly a third of its value last month after posting dreadful quarterly results. Net sales posted a 5% year-over-year decline. Adding insult to caffeinated injury, Keurig also hosed down its guidance.
Keurig needs a catalyst, and broth brews could be just the ticket to sway Ramen-munching millennials into springing for a Keurig single-cup brewer. It's no longer an investment about coffee. As long as the product is good -- and that means that broth bits don't wind up in java servings and vice versa -- the machine is now a source of sustenance beyond warm coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. It took a long time to get this right, but with the cool fall and cold winter months ahead it's the right product at the right time for a company that can't afford to get things wrong again.