Campbell will see if nostalgia pays off with 101-year-old tomato soup recipe

Dive Brief:

  • A 101-year-old recipe for tomato soup will be the basis for a new Campbell Soup offering, which will be sold at select Cracker Barrel locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 2017, according to Fortune
  • The company is sticking as close as possible to the 1915 beefsteak tomato soup recipe created by former company president Dr. John Dorrance. This includes using local New Jersey tomatoes and modern cooking methods that mirror antique practices.
  • Campbell has made a commitment to becoming what it calls, “more real,” and has even created a “real food index” that tracks the usage of artificial colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup found in the company’s various soups, sauces and drinks. Currently, the company rates itself at 80% and plans to reach 85% by the end of 2016.

Dive Insight:

A movement toward fresher foods that are devoid of artificial ingredients is on the rise, and established brands like Campbell are experimenting with recipes by reinventing their products, creating healthy, better-for-you food.

According to Mintel, 20% of new packaged food and beverage products contained labels announcing “no additives or preservatives” in 2015, an increase of more than 7% from the year before. 

While going back to the basics and promoting a nostalgic feel might seem like a great marketing tool, the end result isn't always a hit. Consumers can be fickle and have grown accustomed to the way products should taste. Even though they may say they want healthier options, many would rather companies stay away from change.

That could be why companies that do make changes don’t always announce them. For example, earlier this year Kraft Heinz revealed that it had quietly stripped its signature Mac & Cheese dinners of artificial flavors, preservatives and dyes that had been a part of the recipe for almost 80 years, substituting those with spices such as paprika, turmeric, and annatto to maintain its cheesy orange color. It sold approximately the same 50 million boxes in the three-month period that it had before the switch .

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Corporate Marketing
Top image credit: E4024