Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Campbell Soup CEO blasts rival Progresso


*Corrects blog post from Tuesday to show General Mills’ “World Recipes” soups are ”ready-to-serve” not “ready-to-drink”.  

conant1It is not every day that CEOs truly speak their minds about their rivals in public, so we thought we would share.

During Campbell Soup Co’s annual meeting yesterday with analysts and investors, CEO Douglas Conant fielded a question from an analyst about the company’s marketing messaging. The analyst said rival Progresso Soup owner General Mills Inc had recently said it felt that the entire soup category was over-emphasizing the message of convenience and health in its marketing and under-emphasizing taste.

Being the category leader, of course Conant took it to heart.

“This Progresso thing is a joke, I’m sorry,” Conant said. “If there was such an opportunity to talk about taste, why aren’t they talking about it? Why aren’t they growing? Why aren’t they performing? They haven’t innovated, they haven’t carried a convincing message. They’ve lost share, they’ve lost their way, they’re not relevant with the retailer in a significant way in the category. They ought to follow some of their own advice.”