Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Campbell anticipates that the acquisition will not have a material impact on its business results in fiscal 2009.
The acquisition of the Wolfgang Puck business and the trademark licensing agreement support Campbell's commitment to wellness and extend the company's offerings in the growing organic and natural segment of the market. According to industry estimates, full-year 2007 sales for organic wet soup in the U.S. were $150 million, with a compound annual growth rate of 23% from 2003 to 2007.
Campbell currently offers several organic products, including "Campbell's" tomato juice, "V8" vegetable juice, "Prego" pasta sauce, "Pace" salsa, and varieties of "Swanson" broth.
Douglas R. Conant, Campbell's president and chief executive officer, said, "We intend to strengthen and grow our business by pursuing strategic acquisitions and partnerships that complement our focus on our core categories of simple meals, baked snacks and healthy beverages. As the world's leading soup company, Campbell must expand its role in the organic segment of the market. Combining Wolfgang's brand and reputation with Campbell's distribution and marketing capabilities creates the opportunity for significant growth."
Introduced in 1997, Wolfgang Puck offers three main product lines -- its original "red label" ready-to-serve soups, organic and natural "green label" ready-to-serve soups, and natural and organic stocks and broths. The Wolfgang Puck portfolio of soup products has current net sales of approximately $22 million. The products are currently available in a number of retail locations across the United States.
"The Wolfgang Puck brand fits nicely with our focus on simple meals and offers a solid path to extend our wellness offerings. What makes Wolfgang Puck attractive to Campbell is its association with gourmet, chef-inspired recipes and its strong and growing presence in the organic and natural segment of the market," said Denise Morrison, President, Campbell's North America Soup, Sauces and Beverages. "In addition to its organic and natural credentials, Wolfgang Puck products are positioned as a high-quality premium brand, with the potential to be extended into premium soup offerings."
Campbell plans to operate the Wolfgang Puck business as a distinct brand within its Campbell USA portfolio and to leverage its existing distribution capabilities to expand the availability of Wolfgang Puck products. Under Campbell, the Wolfgang Puck brand will have a dedicated integrated business team and will be able to draw upon the resources within the Campbell USA business.
"I've always believed in providing the best-tasting, quality products, using the freshest all-natural and organic ingredients, and I'm proud we were one of the first organic soups in the market offering restaurant-quality taste," said chef Wolfgang Puck. "As a leader in the soup category and food industry, Campbell Soup Company is an ideal partner for continuing to grow the Wolfgang Puck brand in the soup aisle and allowing even more consumers the opportunity to eat well."
From the July 7, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash