The soup company announced its intentions Aug. 30, as part of an overall plan to sell its Campbell Fresh businesses and Campbell International division. The company reorganized in 2015, appointing then Bolthouse Farms president Jeff Dunn as the new president of the fresh division, which also included Campbell’s refrigerated soup and Garden Fresh Farms, a salsa, hummus and dip company.
Dunn, credited with innovative marketing ideas for boosting snack carrot sales, left Campbell’s in 2016 to head juice company Juicero.
“Campbell’s board of directors considered a full slate of strategic options, including optimizing the portfolio, divesting businesses, splitting the company, and pursuing a sale,” Keith McLoughlin, interim President and CEO, said in an Aug. 30 news release. “The board concluded that, at this time, the best path forward to drive shareholder value is to focus the company on two core businesses in the North American market with a proven consumer packaged goods business model.”
McLoughlin said the company was “moving with a sense of urgency” to finish changes in fiscal year 2019.
Fiscal 2018 net sales of fresh businesses totaled about $2.1 billion. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, according to the release. Campbell, Camden, N.J., acquired Bolthouse for $1.5 billion.
At the time of Campbell’s Bolthouse purchase, Dunn credited the soup company’s interest in “Eat ‘em Like Junk Food,” a Bolthouse baby peeled carrot snack pack promotion aimed at boosting consumption, especially among young consumers.
“Our fresh packaged (products) were absolutely at the center of the deal,” Dunn said in July 2012. “We are reviewing those right now and plan to do some additional things with the (Eat ‘em Like Junk Food) campaign later this year, but we aren’t ready to talk about that publicly yet.”
The companies hailed the Bolthouse purchase as a sign of a growing consumer health/fitness trend, but during a call with investors Aug. 30, McLoughlin said a focus on mergers and acquisitions led to problems.
“It’s abundantly clear to me that the company is in need of greater focus and discipline,” McLoughlin said during the call, according to CNN Money.