Business Strategies

Campbell to Acquire Plum Organics


By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

May 23, 2013

Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., on May 23 announced an agreement to acquire Plum Organics, an Emeryville, Calif., provider of premium, organic foods and snacks that serve the nutritional needs of babies, toddlers and children. Campbell says Plum Organics is the No. 2 brand of organic baby food in the U.S. and is currently the No. 4 baby food brand overall.

While the price was not disclosed, Plum Organics generated $93 million in gross sales for 2012.

This comes on the heels of the May 12 announcement that Group Danone bought a 92 percent in Happy Family, another leading maker of organic baby food in the U.S.

Baby food is an approximately $2 billion category in the U.S. From 2010 to 2012, the premium and organic segments grew at an average annual rate of 43 percent, Campbell officials said.

The acquisition of Plum will provide Campbell with an attractive platform to extend its core categories of simple meals, snacks and beverages and enhance its access to a new generation of consumers, said a statement from the acquirer. Plum’s products have strong distribution in key customer channels, including online, natural and baby specialty outlets. With the addition of Plum Organics' products, Campbell’s portfolio of kids-focused soups, beverages and snacks will have annual sales of more than $1 billion.

“Plum Organics’ nutritious, on-trend products are a great addition to our North American portfolio of leading brands,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s pres./CEO. “The acquisition will help deliver on our dual mandate to strengthen our core businesses and to expand into faster-growing categories and adjacencies. It represents another step toward our long-term goal of shifting Campbell’s center of gravity.”

Plum, started in 2007 by co-founder Neil Grimmer, has used rapid innovation to launch more than 150 products for babies, toddlers and kids in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Grimmer said, “Plum was founded by a group of parents on a mission to give the very best food to our little ones. Joining the Campbell family will allow us to amplify our mission to reach even more little ones on a global scale. We look forward to building an exciting future together.”

Top Plum products include organic baby food in convenient squeezable pouches; Super Puffs, a line of bite-sized nutritious puffed snacks; Plum Mighty Four, a new line of nutritious toddler snack pouches; and Plum Kids Mashups, a line of squeezable fruit, veggies and Greek yogurt.

Campbell plans to operate Plum as a standalone business within its Campbell North America division. Senior members of Plum Organics’ management team, including Grimmer, will join Campbell and continue to lead Plum and its mission-driven culture from Emeryville. As President of Plum, Grimmer will report to Mark Alexander, President-Campbell North America.