What the hell? Even people who make CANNED SOUP are hurting. [Bloomberg]

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  1. jstonemo says:

    Yes, their sales dropped but they still made a profit. Companies get into trouble when they anticipate pie-in-the-sky returns and when they don’t happen, they are shocked by it.

    Kind of like when people use credit cards with the anticipation of being able to pay it back at a future date but when the layoff comes, things start to hurt. I speak from experience.

  2. Vanilla5 says:

    Well, I for one have stopped buying canned soup and just make my own. I generally still use tomato soup or chicken broth as a base, but can spend a total of $6 for ingredients and make soup that will yield 8 or 9 servings (lunch for my roommate and I for 4 days) instead of spending $6 on soup that will yield maybe 3.5 servings – and doesn’t taste as awesome as mine.

    Just sayin.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @Vanilla5: You forgot to mention just how easy making your own home made soup is. Especially if you have a slow cooker.

      • Vanilla5 says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: It seriously is. If you can cut up some veggies and have an idea of what you like (and are willing to try), you can make some damn good soup.

        And I like that it’s kind of an adjustable thing – if you put too much of one thing in (like salt or broth), you can usually counteract it with something else (like water or brown rice or extra veggies).

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Vanilla5: How do you get chicken broth for $6? To make A LOT of soup I have to spend at least $10 in broth.

      • formatc says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Buy whole chickens. Cook or freeze the meat and turn the carcass into stock. You end up with meat and stock cheaper than if you bought them individually. It’s also easy, better than store bought stock, and ripping apart a dead chicken is crazy fun.

        • ColoradoShark says:

          @formatc: Umm, “ripping apart a dead chicken is crazy fun”??!! Did that disturb anyone else? I’ll agree with the crazy part….

          • edwardso says:

            @ColoradoShark: I think it’s cathartic, I do it almost weekly now that we make our own dog food

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              @edwardso: If you stew the thing for about 2-1/2 hours or so, it practically falls apart on its own. If you stew it in eight cups of fresh water with its own weight of leeks, with a chopped onion, salt and pepper, and a bay leaf added at the beginning, and a couple cut-up carrots and a handful or two of barley for the last 45 minutes, you have the world’s most beautiful soup, and a solid refutation to those who think the British Isles never contributed anything worthwhile to culinary history.

          • floraposte says:

            @ColoradoShark: I was just going to cavil at the “dead” bit.

      • Vanilla5 says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’ll usually get the Walmart brand which is pretty cheap. And I add water to it. So say I’m using 3 (12oz) cans of broth (which runs me about $2.50 or so), I’ll be using at least 2 cans of water. I don’t rely on the chicken broth for all the seasoning. I’ll use adobo, rosemary, bay leaves, sea salt, garlic, etc. so I don’t have to rely on too much broth.

        I also like to use powdered bullion which is very inexpensive (at least where ever my roommate gets it, it is – like $1.50) and goes quite a long way in flavor.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Chicken broth: Cut up a couple carrots, an onion, and some celery; saute for a while in the bottom of a stock pot until they start to brown, add a few pounds of cheap chicken (seriously whatever is cheapest). Skim the foam when it rises to the top. Simmer about 2-1/2 hours. Strain and reserve the meat (the vegetables have given their all). Clarify the broth with a beaten egg white (stir in and cook gently until it gathers the solids, then strain again). Six quarts or more of good stock, um, I think last time I did this it cost me about four dollars and I did it on the stovetop while answering help desk tickets at home. If I used my crock pot, I could have made it into the office.

      • Joyce Godsey says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: WTF????? 10 dollars on BROTH? which is basically chicken bathwater.
        Buy a $5 chicken, roast it (350 – 1 hour). strip the meat off. put the carcass, an onion, a carrot, celery stalk, in a gallon of water. bring to a boil, then simmer it until the bones fall apart. remove bones and vegetables. voila you have stock.

        if you have to START a recipe with a can of soup or stock, it’s not a good recipe. it’s a recipe someone who makes can goods made up.

        • Vanilla5 says:

          @Joyce Godsey: Well, on the flipside, my roommate is 90% vegetarian so if I make it and leave the chicken meat in it, she won’t eat it – and I’ll be left to eat a whole lotta chicken by myself, which I’m not eager to do. So starting off with a can of chicken stock actually works best in my situation.

          And, yes, she’ll eat something with chicken stock in it (although she prefers vegetable stock) – but will shy away from it if it actually has the meat itself in it.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            @Vanilla5: PM me, and I’ll give you a recipe for vegetarian “chicken” stock that tastes so much like real chicken stock it fooled my grandmother. If you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back. :D

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              @speedwell, avatar of snark: Yeah, I was a total vegan until, goddammit, I turned up diabetic and had to go low-carb. Meat, bleah. But my blood sugar now tests well within normal range… though I cry at night for rice and pasta. :(

        • failurate says:

          @Joyce Godsey: Around here, a whole chicken will cost close to $10. Yet, you can buy a whole fried (in parts) or rotissiried chicken for less than $6.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          @Joyce Godsey: or you could just put a bunch of chickens in a jacuzzi. give them little hairnets too!

  3. catskyfire says:

    Aside from the people who enjoy making soup, have good storage for it, and so on, here’s a comment for why Campbell’s is having problems.

    Stuff that tastes like crap doesn’t sell well.

    I used to love Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Then they added carrots (cheaper than adding chicken.) Then it became Campbell’s carrot tasting chickenesque soup. Bleh.

    Go back to making a good solid product, and people will buy.

    • kmn842 says:

      @catskyfire: Amen. I’m so sick of companies blaming poor performance on the economy when in reality it is their poor decisions to cheapen their products that has gotten them in this situation. People are no longer willing to remain brand loyal and are rethinking all purchasing decisions. When re-evaluated, a lot of the crap that people have been putting up with simply doesn’t look so desirable anymore, and now they are realizing that there are other options out there.

      People had been lulled into complacency with the boom and just kind of accepted things the way they were because they had other concerns (like what color shoes to buy this week!). Now that money is the #1 concern for a lot of people, that which used to be good enough no longer is.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @catskyfire: Oh, heck, nobody ever raised on real chicken soup would touch that Campbell’s crap. A real Campbell would have made cock-a-leekie soup, anyway. :D (See Vanilla5’s thread for the recipe.)

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Stuff that tastes like crap doesn’t sell well.

      @catskyfire: Yepper!
      I used to love their Chunky soups. Then they decided that it didn’t have to taste so good. Eventually I couldn’t even force myself to eat it. The last time I tried it the meat was so dry it was inedible.

      *sigh*

  4. shepd says:

    This doesn’t come as a surprise at all.

    Campbell’s finally started to offer soup around here at a price low enough that grocers mark up the “popular” flavours to “just” 57 cents. I’m thinking it’s normal because it’s remained that price since just Christmas. The less popular flavours are still extremely expensive, however (as high as about $1.79).

    The middle of last year, I would stock up with 50 – 100 cans (Yes, I have an entire corner of the basement filled with cans) each time there was a 50 cent sale. I filled an entire cart once. The “normal” price was $1.39. For chicken noodle soup. W-T-F?

    It is absolutely no wonder Campbell’s had a rough quarter with pricing that high. The next one will be better since their staple products are no longer priced as specialty items that you only purchase when you want something “nice” (LOL, soup… “nice”). At the 50 cent mark soup can again be a staple item.

    I expect the same thing to happen to Chef Boyaredee (Or whoever owns them, Heniz?). $2.19 is *way*, *way*, WAY too much for a can of Beefaroni, but it was last year’s normal price. The normal price is still hovering around $1.79 or so. It’s another product that, when on sale for $1 or less a can, I’d buy 50 or so cans.

    • larrymac808 says:

      @shepd: $2.19! Wow. Chef B products are regularly on sale at Kroger around here at “10 for $10″, or even as low as 88 cents each. Incidentally, the brand is in the vast ConAgra stable.

      • Vanilla5 says:

        @larrymac808: Yeah, it hovers around that price here too.

        And I used to love Chef B products but when I got older I could really start tasting the metal from the can and that just makes me queezy. I think my mom could tell and would counteract it with some spices or something.

      • shepd says:

        @larrymac808:

        Yeah, I know, it’s crazy. I think I’ll snap some photos next time I’m about. And I’m not shopping in particularly upscale places. Walmart, the local no-frills style store, and the major local grocery stores. $2.19 was the highest it got to, and it stayed there at least a month.

        Here, try this place:

        [www.grocerygateway.com]

        Online grocery shopping. Some of the prices aren’t too far off (some…). Here’s a postal code that’s local to me: N2L 3W8. Yes, it’s $CDN. Remember our dollar was on par for a while, although it’s slipped to 80 cents on the US dollar. The difference doesn’t work out, though, since wages in Canada tend to be lower (dollar to dollar, not even doing the conversion).

        It’s getting bad enough Food Banks are starting to feel the crunch.

        [www.cbc.ca]

        Beefaroni was just on sale locally at the no-frills store for $0.95, which give-or-take matches your price. But the sales were rare until this month (If they weren’t rare I wouldn’t have 30 or so cans still in the basement! It’s not like I am in love with the stuff or something, I just won’t pay over $1 for a can of crap.)

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @larrymac808: Yeah, but Chef Boyardee isn’t kosher anymore. Not that it every had the kosher label but it used to be all beef. Now it has pork in it.

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      @shepd: I use the Campbells cream of chicken or mushroom quite a bit in cooking and they are always $1.79-~2.99 here. Walmart tends to be far cheaper than Albertsons/Safeway though.

  5. cmdrsass says:

    Campbells is just about the worst soup you can find in an average grocery store, both in terms of quality and taste. There is now much more variety in the soup aisle today for better soups that don’t cost much more. I don’t find this news surprising.

    If you’re really worried about cost, making your own soup is fun and easy!

  6. redskull says:

    I can’t believe I’m doing it, but lately I’ve been making my own soup as well. My choices were A: Buy the higher end Campbell’s soups for over $3 a can (Cheezus Campbell’s, I just want to eat the soup, not buy it dinner and spend the night back at it’s apartment), B: By the store brand that looks & tastes like mop water, or C: buy some cans of broth and some fresh vegetables and make my own.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @redskull: Save the bones from your chicken wings and you don’t even have to buy broth.

      We save tops of carrots, gnarly bits of celery, ends of onions (and skins, gives lovely color), and then chicken bits and bones from EVERYTHING chicken we eat, whether I roast a chicken or we order chicken wings with our pizza, and voila — stock. I actually have more stock than I can keep up with!

      (We also usually add some jarred garlic and some salt, pepper, and herbs, but that cost is negligible.)

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: We keep a metal bowl in the freezer and just toss in trimmings for stock. Makes it easy to save up enough for stock and keeps useful scraps from being compost-ready before their time!

      • Vanilla5 says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: Question – can you can stock? Does it keep well? The Walmart brand isn’t terribly expensive, but my roommate and I use it a whooole lot (which makes it expensive after a while). But if there was a way to get around that without it going back, I sure as heck would.

        • Vanilla5 says:

          without it going bad, that is.

          • JulesNoctambule says:

            @Vanilla5: Two words: Freezer bags. Just pour and freeze, or freeze it in ice cube trays and store the cubes for easy portioning.

            • JulesNoctambule says:

              @JulesNoctambule: And the missing half of that comment should be that I’ve found freezing stock instead of canning it makes a better-tasting stock.

              In other news, why is my keyboard enter-happy today?

          • Parapraxis says:

            @Vanilla5:

            you can, but be careful- screw it up and you’ll get botulism.

            I don’t think it’s as bad of a problem with stock, though, since most of the canned fruits got it from being in contact with dirt, which harbored the Clostridium botulinum spores in the first place.

            I guess if your stock doesn’t contain dirt, you should be okay…

          • Joyce Godsey says:

            @Vanilla5: you can recan stock, but that’s too much work. just freeze it. if you open a container you won’t finish. put the extra in the freezer. in any sort of plastic container or bag. when i MAKE stock from chicken bones they contain gelatin, so when it cools and firms, i use muffin tin to make single servings in the freezer. then i move them into a permanent container in the freezer.

            You can FREEZE any can good that you have opened and not finished. if you end up with portions of canned vegetables etc.. you can combine them into a larger container in the freezer, and turn it into soups.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @Vanilla5: We freeze it in gladware, keeps quite a long time.

          @JulesNoctambule: We do something similar, a heavy-duty tupperware freezer container sits in one corner of the freezer for scraps.

          (And remember, stock n00bs, lots of vegetables that are a little too gnarly to EAT can still go in stock.)

    • Joyce Godsey says:

      @redskull: totally agree, they have raised the price of their product until people are wasting their money buying it.

  7. HeyApples says:

    I used to be a huge fan of their CHUNKY soup brand, but as some alluded to earlier, they are using too many carrots as filler ingredients.

    Turns out there are a lot of good things to eat besides carrot soup.

  8. cmdrsass says:

    By the way, if anyone is looking for a good way to get started making your own soup base, here is a great article from Good Housekeeping with the recipe plus 7 different variations: [www.goodhousekeeping.com]

  9. Parapraxis says:

    psst… here’s a secret:

    Better Than Bouillion.

    More compact than buying liquid stock, and tastier than the dry cubes.

    That, a bag of frozen vegetables, leftover meat, and a bay leaf will last you. Use some cornstarch to thicken to taste.

    I cook a LOT, so I have one of each of their flavors. (beef, chicken, turkey, vegetarian), and no one in my house has complained of being bored yet…

    • Parapraxis says:

      @Parapraxis: man, that sounded like an ad. It shouldn’t have. I just got tired of keeping cans of stock in my pantry, and the smell of rendering fat really bugged my family, so I’ve been pretty happy with this alternative.*

      *Definitely not an ad.**

      **Brought to you by Brawndo.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Parapraxis: No good Hungarian home cook would fuss around with broth. Use good, clean water, half braise the meat in onions and fat before you add the water, and put the vegetables in the soup instead of in the strainer, and you save time AND money AND nutrition.

    • bohemian says:

      @Parapraxis: I was going to post just that. Better than Bullion or jars of soup base from Sams or Costco are much cheaper than canned bullion is. I think the jar of chicken soup base was about $2.99 and it is a huge food service sized jar.

      I quit buying canned soup after I figured out I could make my own that tastes way better.

      That same concept seems to go for most prepared foods. Once you figure out that you can make something far better with the right recipe you can’t believe you ever bought that overpriced swill from the store. This goes for salad dressing, soup, pasta sauce and pretty much most sauces. Heck even ice cream.

  10. Joyce Godsey says:

    that’s their own goddam fault. canned soup used to be poor person’s food. but they have cranked the prices to the point where you paying 1.60-2.50 for a CAN of soup which is mostly sodium and thickeners. that’s crazy. the contents of the soup should cost LESS than making scratch soup. it doesn’t. I can make that soup for a quarter of the price. I hope they either wise up or go under.

    • Taint_Too_Proud_To_Beg says:

      @Joyce Godsey: I can make a big pot of homemade cream of tomato soup for slightly more than Campbells and get 4-5 bowls of delicious soup with no fillers or additives, and a lot more flavor because I use onions, garlic, make a roux, etc.

  11. Corporate_guy says:

    That is what happens when you sell a 50 cent can of soup for 2 bucks.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a good one – use this “shredded chicken master receipe” from Better Homes & Gardens.

    http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chicken/shredded-chicken-master-recipe/

    Not only do you have shredded chicken to freeze or use for other recipes, but you’ll have a yummy soup base. I just add a cup or two of store brand soup mix. There are also master recipes for pork and beef on the site. All hail the slow cooker!

  13. legwork says:

    Profiteering?

    Like so many others, Campbells was partying on the fat of careless purchasing habits and ratcheted their prices and their own spending to match.

    Time to adjust, boo hoo.

  14. MaytagRepairman says:

    Yeah I know you can make your own stock but I still buy it in quantity at Costco or on sale at regular stores. The lower the sodium the better. I never use more than 2 boxes. If I need more liquid I will water it down. There is plenty of fresh veggies to not care. BTW I don’t like the Walmart stock.

    I have a large pot and make enough soup at a time for 2-3 days for me and my wife. If we eat a single meal at Subway we spend $13-$14 and I spend 3 hours a day commuting so I don’t care that I am spending the extra money for the store-bought convenience of broth.

    To go along with it buy a loaf of sourdough from the grocery store bakery. Butter it up, sprinkle some garlic power, and toast it under the oven broiler.

  15. catnapped says:

    Of course, lest we not forget that when gas prices were skyrocketing last year, every month you’d hear “oh gas prices going up, gotta raise the prices”. Once that trend reversed, now we hear “eh, gas prices aren’t that much of a factor” and prices on the products haven’t budged (that’s assuming they haven’t still gone up further). Legwork is onto something–they start expecting those profit margins as normal and don’t plan on giving any of it back.

  16. TerribleDecade says:

    How could they?! They have the most stable stock, barring a minuscule chance of botulism.

  17. Meathamper says:

    OH NOES! If Campbell goes under, how will college students survive?

  18. InThrees says:

    I never buy canned soup unless the price is REALLY attractive, and it almost never is. (The only other time I would buy it is when I’m jonesing for a childhood memory, like chicken and rice soup with toast… which I haven’t done in at least a few years.)

    Campbell’s Soup isn’t really a good deal, compared to frozen or buying meat, veggies, and making like 2 gallons of real soup with about the same sodium content as one can of theirs.

  19. Bye says:

    Campbell’s needs to add more MSG and high fructose corn syrup to their soups so my system will totally freak out and I won’t notice how bad the soups actually taste.

  20. wildhare says:

    Let me say this about the Campbells vs. Progresso wars, I took a week to eat every available “Harvest” brand campbell soup, the kind that’s supposed to be “natural” and then the Progresso Traditional soups, with similar recipes in each. One comparison:

    Italian Wedding: despite the MSG Progresso wins hands down, more noodles as compared to Campbells dinky little pasta dots, and the meat balls are bigger and taste better. There is more to the Progresso soup and it is at least $.60 cheaper.

    Across all of the soups I noted that Campbells is far more watery, less substance like carrots, chicken or noodles/rice. Progresso is much meatier and overall more cheaply priced.

    So what if it contains less than 2% of MSG.

    • wildhare says:

      @wildhare11: Correction: “Healthy Request” and to top it off, with Italian Wedding one serving (half the can) is 120 cals 25 fat in Campbell’s, and only 100 cals 35 fat in Progresso.

  21. howie_in_az says:

    I find all of their products (at least the vegetarian-friendly ones) to be very, very salty. Plus the store brand soups, especially the tomato soups, are almost always a gazillion for $1 or something equally crazy.

  22. bluewyvern says:

    Oh, no. Stephen Colbert will be so mad.