Old Favorites Take a New Twist

Discussion
Apr 05, 2010

By Bernice
Hurst
, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

Campbell has decided to – cautiously – update some of the recipes
on its cans in line with American’s more refined gourmet tastes.

In a recent
article, the Wall Street Journal explains, “America’s
increasingly sophisticated palate, influenced by TV cooking shows, celebrity
chefs and gourmet ingredients, presents a problem. Food companies need to
figure out how to update their recipes to entice today’s more ambitious cooks
to use products that might otherwise sit on the shelf for months. The recipes
must make cooks feel like they’re doing more than just adding eggs to a mix,
but not use so many ingredients to require a special trip to the store. If
they get too trendy, they risk alienating their core consumers.”

One new dish, Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomatoes, will start appearing in August.

Jane
Freiman, who oversees the Campbell’s HQ test kitchen, says that it “pushes
gently…We are looking for familiar, with a twist.” Campbell’s
development team believes customers want simple, reliable, recipes without
too many “unfamiliar ingredients or techniques.”

It is estimated that 85 to 95 percent of cream-of-mushroom soup sales
are used for cooking each year with some 30 million used between Thanksgiving
and Christmas to make the Green Bean Casserole recipe created in 1955.

The move
comes as Campbell reported American sales of its soups fell 8 percent in the fourth
quarter.

While other manufacturers agonize in the same way over formulas that strike
the right balance, Hellmann’s has an entire website devoted to its Real Food
Project. Designed to help mothers produce every day and special occasion
meals for their family consisting of “simple, delicious” foods,
an assortment of recipes, tips and videos is presented by chef Bobby Flay.
A combination of celebrities and real people explain what they consider to
be real food and how mayonnaise can be used to create it.

One way and another,
cooks are being encouraged to get into their kitchens and add a twist to what
they find on supermarket shelves, flavoring their meals with a sense of achievement.

Discussion Questions: Are consumers ready for trendy new recipes on cans?
Will it encourage them to be more adventurous and buy other ingredients that
may not be in their store cupboards?

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17 Comments on "Old Favorites Take a New Twist"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Sure, they are ready for new recipes, as long as Lipton Onion Soup keeps on reminding me how to make their dip.

J. Peter Deeb
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Anything that brands like Campbell and Hellmann’s can do to help cooks is a plus in today’s time-starved environment. Simple, hopefully healthy, alternatives to fast food that are easy to make and taste good should be welcomed by modern families. Cooking duties vary by household but the need for simple, healthier meals is universal. Reaching those cooks is a challenge and websites are an obvious tool for brands.

This can help brands regain some of the foodservice dollars that have moved away from them over the years.

Kevin Graff
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Significant consumer trends, such as being ‘time-starved’, please ‘do it for me’ and even ‘urbanism,’ are all served by companies doing exactly what Campbell and Hellman’s are talking about. Make the customer’s life easier and more interesting and you win.

But please … don’t ever serve me that green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup! I will take some of the onion dip though!

Dick Seesel
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Of course, this is a smart move on Campbell’s part — there is only so much green bean casserole that one person can eat! Clearly, most Americans’ palates are much more adventurous than even 20 years ago, for a variety of reasons, and “old-line” brands like Campbell need to maintain their relevance. In fact, Campbell has a website (like Hellman’s) dedicated to recipes but can probably take it a step further…cellphone app, anyone?

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

This makes a lot of sense, and why not go on and partner on cross promotions with other brands (by featuring them in the recipes)?

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
11 years 1 month ago

I don’t think the focus should be on gourmet but healthy and quick. Most families are trying to eat healthier but still need to do it on an already busy schedule.

Roger Saunders
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

A good number of dynamics play into this move being productive and useful. Consumers are challenged by “time poverty”; there is a sense of “home/family centricity” that the recession has brought on; dining out is down and variety in home meals should step up; and consumers are still going to seek out the ‘new and different.’

Smart move.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
11 years 1 month ago

The most significant ingredient in preparing a recipe is the preparer’s time. To this extent, the economy may be encouraging more people to seek savings by injecting their personal time into recipe preparation. Some will find this enjoyable and sustain the trend, but others will only do it as long as they must. I think it is still too early to tell where it will all lead.

As far as soup sales compared to last year, people forget that January 2009 was one of the coldest January’s on record. Maybe that is why soup sales were less this year.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Brands like Campbell have a couple of great things going for them. The consumer trusts them and they make their job easier.

Show the consumer how you can be even more helpful and not cost them a lot of money and sales are going to go up. We are now a society that was not raised on just meat and potatoes but also Mexican, Chinese and Indian food. We are ready for a new taste out of our own kitchens. Just make it easy to do.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

I’m with Mel. We may have grown up on tomato and chicken noodle, but our society now embraces flavors from China and India. Bring it on!

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 1 month ago

As long as I get my green been casserole once in a while, Campbell can add new recipes to their labels. I think consumers would welcome it. Their commercials in Canada are now touting the reduction of sodium in their products so they may be heading towards a healthy living type of campaign. As soon as you put the words sun-dried in anything, consumers think healthy.

Lee Peterson
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

It’s a great idea and long overdue. The core notion of “simple, delicious foods” is excellent. It’d also be a great idea to review existing ingredients and look for ‘health hot spots’ — as in poor health — and re-do those as well.

Maybe it’s time for a “Campbell’s Soup Kitchen” to hit retail, no??

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
11 years 1 month ago

Finally – making new consumer connections between package and usage at home for quick and healthy meals. Brands are the trusted starting point – show me how to make it taste great, simply, nutritiously.

Many home cooks want this information, often – flaunt it! Make it legible and easy to read. Take us directly to website for similar product recipes. Update the recipes, allow us to opt in for mobile recipes as we shop, work with retailers, yes, now is the time to work with your best customers.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

I remember reading a satirical site (lileks.com) where a section is devoted to cookbooks/recipes of the past and their attempts at “exotic” foods. One was a dish (beef Mexicana) where “the only spice that makes this dish remotely Mexican is optional,” which is to say consumers – then or now – are ready to embrace what they THINK are sophisticated dishes. We probably won’t see a haggis w/goat cheese on arugula salad anytime soon, but as long as it helps the Cream-of-Broccoli find a good home, I guess an upgrading of recipes is worth it.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 1 month ago
What? No more mock-apple pie made with RITZ Crackers? Will it become uncool to use Lipton’s dried onion soup mix to flavor my pot roast as my mother taught me fifty years ago? Oh, and don’t abandon the French’s canned French fried onions (now also in cheddar flavor!) to top off those green bean casseroles! I get goosebumps. I recently wore out my decades-old wok (actually, I just got tired of it) and got a new electric one from Breville. Works great, and during the shopping process I was struck once again by the proliferation of kitchenware available out there. I’m downright dangerous in Williams-Sonoma, store or website. Steadily-growing cookware sales still reflect our desire to prepare meals at home. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) food manufacturers keep an eye on this long-term trend and regularly adjust their recipe recommendations accordingly. The practice is not new. However, there’s PR value in announcing bold, new, trendy recipes on product labels. Consumers are not only demonstrating their readiness for “trendy new recipes,” but through their kitchenware purchases are… Read more »
Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

It’s the simple things in life that can bring the best joy. Spicing up an old favorite or giving new life to a product that the consumer trusts and relies on, can provide an outlet for the desire for something different and a willingness to experiment. What’s the worse that can happen? A whole new market is opened!

Justin Time
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Recipes on the back of cans, boxes, and other packaging have been the norm for decades. If you Google, “Ann Page”, you are bound to find someone either requesting or sharing a time tested recipe from the box of a Great A&P Ann Page product, cherished by a family member who was handed down their Mom’s collection of recipes.

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