Campbell Soup used Agile development to more quickly develop and release its Pepperidge Farm's Epic Crunch Goldfish, a crunchy and flavor-packed snack intended to target older children, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Agile is a project management technique that brings together workers from different parts of a business, like IT, manufacturing and sales, to complete a project in a faster and more efficient way. It's most commonly used in software development. Campbell Soup, which has used the approach for about a year, managed to whittle down product launch time from approximately two years to nine months.
Campbell plans to continue to use the method to launch new products, which could mean faster response time to changing consumer needs and market demand, the Journal reported.
This new innovation approach will help Campbell Soup "drive profitable growth and use speed and powerful insights" as a competitive advantage, according to a presentation at the company's investor day last month.
While Agile development has typically reigned among tech giants such as Microsoft, AT&T or IBM, it may help other kinds of companies that are trying to adapt to changing markets, according to an Agile coach's blog post on ART + marketing.
"It helps large companies to streamline their processes and respond when they see changes happening," Maria Matarelli wrote in the article.
In the food and beverage industry, which sees rapid change in trends and tastes, many CPG brands feel they can no longer afford to take years to develop and release new products. The common top-heavy operational structure has its limitations.
While Agile is commonly used for software and programming — which runs on easily changed coding — there is more going on behind the scenes for businesses like food manufacturing. According to California software company Planet Together, which brings traditional programming approaches to the manufacturing industry, this can be a drawback. While Agile keeps developers in close touch with consumers and the supply chain, it also is difficult to set the point where the project is completely finished, as well as plan for and track output.
Manufacturers may find taking a more streamlined approach across functions can fuel efficiency and creativity, something Tyson Foods hopes to achieve with its innovation lab. Many other big food makers — including Kraft Heinz, General Mills and Chobani — are using business incubators and accelerators — as well as M&A — to capture the mindset of startups.
So far, Campbell Soup's new strategy is shaping up to be a good investment, with the company reporting a 12% increase in net sales for the latest quarter, compared to the same period last year.
Campbell Soup plans to continue working with Agile for its new product development, In his Investor Day presentation, Craig Slavtcheff, the company's vice president and head of R&D, laid out the company's plan to use this method to reinvigorate its soup portfolio. The division is one of the company's top priorities, but sales fell 4% in the last year, according to Nielsen statistics reported by CNBC. According to the plan shared at Investor Day, the company plans to boost the soup R&D budget by 50%, use non-traditional consumer input and co-creation with retailers, do in-market testing, leverage external partners and bring innovations in to the marketplace in half the time as traditional development.