“Recession-proof” food brands are scrambling

Kraft, V8 and Campbell among companies trying to adapt to new spending and eating habits

Conventional wisdom has long held that popular packaged food brands such as Kraft, V8 and Campbell are virtually recession-proof. But even these companies are scrambling to adapt to changing spending and eating habits, reports the Wall Street Journal. In the last quarter of 2008, consumer spending on food fell by an inflation-adjusted 3.7 per cent from the previous quarter—- its steepest drop in 62 years. Last summer, consumers were apprehensive about rising food and gas prices. Today, “they’re worried about their ability to support their families at all,” said Charles Vila, Campbell’s vice-president of consumer and customer insights. In response, Kraft is busy developing  iFood Assistant, an iPhone app which provides recipes and manages shopping lists. And Campbell is busy “creating more sophisticated recipes that mimic restaurant offerings, such as Braised Beef with Shallots, made with the company’s Swanson beef stock.”  It’s also  discounting its already low-priced soups, which suggests things are worse than we thought.

Wall Street Journal

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