- Campbell is stopping production of its V8 Protein line of shakes and bars just over a year after its debut. The company will instead shift focus back to its core V8 business and the expansion of V8 Blends and +Energy.
- V8 Protein was meant to turn around sales declines for Campbell's shelf-stable juices and the consistently disappointing performance of its U.S. Beverages unit.
- "Our key learning was that these shakes and bars were not differentiated enough to succeed in a crowded and competitive space," Campbell president and CEO Denise Morrison said on an earnings call last month.
Developing products based on trends is never a guarantee for success. General Mills found this out recently after pulling its gluten-free Chex oatmeal line due to weak demand, even though gluten-free products have become increasingly popular in recent years. The same goes for protein in Campbell's discontinued line, as high-protein foods are in demand among consumers.
But where Campbell may have gone wrong is not necessarily due to the trending ingredient. It's instead about how the company went about using protein in its V8 line. Morrison concluded that the products "were not differentiated enough to succeed" in these categories, which are now overly saturated with protein-based foods and beverages.
The products' flavors left something to be desired. Chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate raspberry were the only shake varieties available at a time when consumers demand more exotic flavors. Manufacturers, particularly startups, are finding new and exciting protein ingredients; Campbell went with milk, soy, and pea proteins. Campbell's V8 Protein line wasn't able to stand out or capitalize on consumers' protein preferences.