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Campbell’s Learns Lesson About Fresh Produce The Hard Way

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, May 22, 2018

Virtually nobody in the produce industry understood why Campbell Soup Company paid $1.55 billion for a carrot company back in 2012. After all, Campbell’s had been in the produce and fresh food space before, owning a mushroom company and Marie’s refrigerated salad dressings.

Now Campbell CEO Denise Morrison, who orchestrated the acquisition and the move into fresh foods, has abruptly left the company amidst issues with both sales and profitability.

If so many people weren’t losing so much money, one would be tempted to laugh. The Wall Street Journal headlined the story, Campbell CEO Departs After Bet On Fresh Food Falls Short, but the “money line” for the produce industry is this:

Ms. Morrison has said it was hard to push a traditional, century-old company to take risks like the Bolthouse Farms purchase. But that deal didn’t pay off as she hoped. Fresh foods have proved hard to source and manage when weather affects produce harvests.

Can you imagine? They found out that weather affects produce harvests and that produce can be hard to source and manage after they spent $1.55 billion!

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