Campbell reports 30 percent drop in first-quarter profits

Campbell Soup has reported disappointing earnings as first-quarter profits dropped 30 percent on a decline in sales of soup and juice products.

Erin Lash, senior equity analyst at Morningstar, chalked up part of the blame to a late Thanksgiving this year. But the drop also continues a trend of several years as the Camden company struggles to maintain growth against all the other new options on grocery store shelves, she said.

“The frozen food case is stocked with different meal varieties,” she pointed out. “Dinner mixes, pasta, that sort of thing. So the competitive environment has grown beyond the traditional soup competitive set.”

Campbell has had trouble keeping up with changing tastes. Lash said younger consumers want to take part in food preparation, which has led the company to create items such as a line of skillet sauces.

“You’ve seen an increased emphasis on bringing new products to market that resonate with consumers but obviously that’s something that takes time,” she said.

In response to the news, Campbell’s stock fell 6 percent Tuesday.

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