Business Strategy and Outlook| Erin Lash, CFA |
To say CEO Mark Clouse’s three-year tenure heading up Campbell Soup has been fraught with change might be considered an understatement. Since January 2019, Campbell has parted ways with its fresh business and the bulk of its international operations and worked to steady its core meals, beverages, and snacking arms, while navigating a global pandemic. But we don’t attribute its recent performance (14% consumption growth on a three-year stack basis) as merely a byproduct of heightened consumer stock-ups of essential fare since March 2020. Rather, we think management’s strategic agenda--anchored in funneling additional investment across its operations--fueled by its pursuit of extracting inefficiencies has set Campbell on a sound course. And while much consternation rightly centers on how the business is poised to emerge in a post-COVID-19 world, we think the steps that had been underway to steady the business and to juice its sales trajectory before the pandemic should serve as a springboard against a more normalized demand environment.