Campbell Soup served up as most reputable company in 2018
- Campbell Soup was named the most reputable company in the Reputation Institute’s annual USRepTrak 100, an annual study of corporate reputation in the U.S. The New Jersey-based brand jumped 30 spots this year, according to an article about the ranking in Forbes.
- The firm credits initiatives under the leadership of CEO Denise Morrison, who came on board at Campbell Soup in 2011. Since then, the company has focused on corporate social responsibility, affordability, natural ingredients and transparency, as well as expanding its portfolio into new categories to keep up with changing demands.
- According to Forbes, to determine the ranking, the institute surveyed more than 52,000 individuals during the first two months of the year. Companies are considered if they have revenue of $3 billion-plus and brand familiarity with at least 30% of the U.S. population.
With Campbell Soup's rapid climb to the top of the ranking, it indicates a successful marriage of iconic history and forward-thinking initiatives. It also shows that this strategy can resonate with consumers.
Campbell Soup’s favorability can be traced to a number of factors. For starters, the nearly-150-year-old company is able to leverage its longevity with millennials who tend to strongly connect with nostalgia-centric campaigns, according to Lauren Friedman, Global Social Business Enablement at Adobe. It's also no surprise that many of the initiatives that Campbell Soup has focused on in recent years resonate with younger consumers.
The company has gone all in on transparency with its “What’s In My Food” database, which catalogues ingredients in its products. This level of transparency is critical in the effort to earn consumer trust. A survey by Label Insight found 94% of respondents are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. In addition, 78% said they trust a brand more if it offers product transparency.
This effort will become even more favorable for Campbell Soup as it works to remove artificial colors and flavors from nearly all of its North American products this year. Nielsen research shows half of all consumers believe the absence of undesirable ingredients is more important than inclusion of beneficial ingredients.
Campbell also is riding the snacking and healthy eating trends with its acquisitions of snacking giant Snyder’s-Lance – which will give the company a significant presence in the fast-growing $89 billion snacking space – as well as Bolthouse Farms and Garden Fresh.
While Campbell Soup was atop the rankings, Kellogg, Hershey and J.M. Smucker also made the top 10. Even though these companies have faced changing consumer tastes and watched as sales lagged, they have all made efforts to reposition their company through acquisitions. Hershey, for example, recently purchased Amplify Snack Brands, parent company of SkinnyPop, for $1.6 billion, its largest-ever acquisition.
It's apparent that even though many Big Food companies are struggling, they remain well-respected among consumers who are cognizant of their iconic brands. These companies could consider underscoring this perception among long-time consumers while working to build or enhance this reputation among younger shoppers, such as millennials, who are not be as brand loyal.
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