Campbell Soup pushes further into pouches

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Jim Johnson Pouches are becoming a presence on store shelves for Campbell's Soup Co., which has been best known for its red and white cans.

Miami — Campbell Soup Co. is easily identified by consumers with its iconic red-and-white labeled metal soup can. The company packages the vast majority of its products in rigid containers.

But Campbell’s also has room for pouches in its wide portfolio of products, and their use is only going to grow over time, said Andrew Gordon, the company’s senior manager of packaging innovation.

“We are, by volume, a rigid packaging company. But every day we try to challenge that ... becoming more agnostic about the packaging that we use,” he said at the recent Global Pouch Forum in Miami.

“The can is very important to our business,” Gordon said. But he also added this: “The pouch is very important to our business.”

Campbell Soup is much more than a soup-in-a-can company, with products such as sauces and ready-to-eat meals, and, yes, even soup now packaged in pouches.

Even those iconic Goldfish crackers are migrating from paper packaging to a resealable plastic stand-up pouch.

“Pouches are definitely going to grow at Campbell Soup,” Gordon said.

The company’s purchase of Plum Organics, which helped set the trend for packaging baby food in pouches, is adding to that growth. The company has even launched a line of Plum Organics soup in pouches.

As Campbell becomes more agnostic about its packaging choice, the impact of the pouch around the world continues to expand.

“The global pouch market is obviously growing,” Gordon said. “Pouch demand will be on the rise.

“Consumers drive the change and we want to challenge that status quo,” he said. The company, he said, wants to be consumer centric when making packaging choices.

“Pouches are going to continue to grow at Campbell’s soup,” said Gordon, calling them sustainable. “Consumers like them,” he said. “They are very familiar with them.”

Pouches, with improvements to packaging equipment over time, also have become more cost-effective compared with other packaging options. “We’re now being able to knock on that door of rigid packaging,” he said, in terms of efficiency.

“I’m here to tell you that rigid is going to continue to innovate and I’m a big part of that. But I’m also here to promote and aggressively push the development of flexible packaging for Campbell’s as well,” he said.