- Campbell has discontinued its Campbell's K-Cup single-serve soups which could be made on Keurig brewing devices, FoodNavigator-USA first reported yesterday.
- "The launch of Campbell’s Fresh Brewed Soup for the Keurig machine was initially enthusiastically received by retail customers, consumers and K-Cup fans. However, over time, the product has not performed to our expectations so we made the difficult decision to discontinue it from stores in April," Megan Haney, Campbell Soup Co's senior manager of communications, confirmed in an emailed statement to Food Dive.
- "We will continue to focus our innovation efforts on our core soup portfolio," Haney said.
Consumer demands for convenience led to the growth of single-serve pod-based technology like the K-Cup. Food manufacturers found ways to be a part of the Keurig craze. However, Campbell may have had factors working against it that prevented this experiment from meeting expectations.
First is timing, as there were about two years between the announcement of Campbell and Keurig's partnership for the K-Cup soup line in 2013 and the actual debut of the product this past September. A lot changed in that time, particularly in regards to the demand for K-Cup products and Keurig brewers.
In fiscal year 2013, Keurig reported a 16% increase in revenue, including an 18% rise in K-Cup sales. By Q4 fiscal 2015, the quarter Campbell's K-Cups debuted, Keurig reported a 13% decrease in net sales, including a 9% dip in revenue from K-Cups.
If Campbell's K-Cups had been released closer to the initial announcement of the partnership, Campbell may have found a more favorable entry point into the single-serve soup market. However, because the product launch came after Keurig and K-Cup sales were already in decline, Campbell may have missed its shot.
That's not to say that single-serve packaging isn't still a viable option for manufacturers. Environmental backlash aside, individual portions of foods and beverages are still desirable for on-the-go consumers. But manufacturers may want to invest the additional time and resources into finding more sustainable packaging options.
Campbell has been looking for ways to turn around canned soup sales, from using better-for-you ingredients and flavor innovations to packaging and marketing, including its "real" families campaign last year. Not all of these strategies have worked to Campbell's liking, hence the company's reasnoing for discontinuing K-Cups and instead focusing on the core soup portfolio.