According to Collins (216-220), Campbell Soup Company was established by Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson in 1869 and since then, the company has developed into a globally prominent enterprise, mainly recognized for its leading position in the soup market. The company was undoubtedly the market leader amongst soup manufacturers in the United States in the 1990s, having more than seventy five percent market share. With steady soup consumption, the top management of the company decided to search for new growth opportunities in other markets (Collins 216-220). The fact that competitor companies such as H. J. Heinz and ConAgra were making significant profits from frozen foods that focused on dietary benefits, made Campbell even more determined to create a new line of products with similar benefits (Collins 216-220).
The relationship between disease prevention and diet at that time was increasingly gaining interest among the American public. Consequently, the Research & Development department of Campbell decided to conduct an investigation on the relationship between diet and disease, with emphasis on foods that prevent diseases like cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes among others (Collins 216-220). The research was driven by the fact that approximately 16 million and 58 million Americans suffer from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases respectively, making the creation of a line of foods with health benefits logical. The greatest challenge was to create a food line that is not only instrumental in disease prevention but also acceptable to the American population (Collins 216-220). Campbell’s chief technical officer, Dr. David Macnair, quickly formed an Advisory Board comprising of chief specialists in heart disease, nutrition and diabetes. The role of the board was to conduct an analysis on the new line of products. With the full backing of the David W. Johnson, Campbell’s CEO, the project team was determined to change their concept into a reality (Collins 216-220). Taste tests conducted on twenty four meals that were created in 1994 proved successful, and the next step was to find out the health benefits of the meals via clinical trials. A significant number of 500 customers who consumed the meals within a span of ten weeks reported to have improved levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, with no side effects being reported (Collins 216-220).
The next step involved marketing the product. The company’s marketing staff chose the name, Intelligent Quisine, or IQ Meals. The plan was for UPS drivers to make deliveries of twenty one meals consisting mainly of frozen foods and a few packed in cans on a weekly basis to customers at their door step. In 1997, the product was marketed in Ohio for the first time being supported by a print ad campaign, plus a ten-minute infomercial aimed at encouraging customers to call toll-free to the information line of Campbell Company. In addition, the company recruited temporary pharmaceutical sales representatives to pitch the new product to doctors. The company also contacted major hospitals for instance, Cleveland Clinic to help in the distribution and promotion of IQ Meals. The future looked promising for Campbell’s new line of products.
Campbell’s marketing strategy involved counting on physicians to recommend the IQ Meals to their patients (O’Connell B8). Contrary to the normal situation where salespeople market a new product to customers via several ways such as advertising, PR and promotions among others, Campbell’s sales representatives persuaded doctors in various hospitals to recommend their product to patients. However, it seems the move was not very smart, and as a result, the new product failed to do well leading to its withdrawal from the market (O’Connell B8).
Challenges the Company Faced With Regard To IQ Meals
Campbell Soup Company faced numerous challenges in the development of their new product line. The key challenge was the high cost of the product that prevented many customers from purchasing the new product. While the weekly sample pack was costing only $80, the price of the recommended program that lasted ten weeks was $700, and this discouraged low-income earners who after being told the high price would hung up (Ellison B4). In addition, the company’s sponsored lunch which took place at the Columbus office of the American Hear Association to promote the benefit of the new product was a total flop, as it did not impress the numerous dieticians in attendance (Ellison B4). Soon after, the executives of Campbell were skeptical about the IQ Meals. Consequently, consultants were invited to evaluate the viability of the project, leading to drastic cuts in IQ’s budget. In May 1997, the company’s sales in Ohio were minimal (Ellison B4). The company’s problems were far from over; a majority of the patients who had stuck with the IQ Meals since its launch complained of being tired of consuming the same meals repeatedly, despite their health benefits (Ellison B4).
The success of any company highly depends on the teamwork of employees of an organization. Nothing much can be achieved when people work individually and that is why teamwork should be part of every company’s culture. The development of Campbell’s IQ Meals comprised of a team of thirty chief specialists in nutrition, heart disease and diabetes (O’Connell B8). The marketing of the product also involved a team of sales representatives whose role was to persuade doctors to recommend the new product to patients (O’Connell B8). It is worth noting that without the hard work and dedication of the team involved in the development of the Campbell’s new product line, the IQ Meals would not have been released, and therefore, all the stakeholders involved deserve credit for their contribution despite the failure of the product.
Campbell’s research that led to the creation of a food line for people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol took five years, and it involved a group of thirty leading specialists in nutrition, heart disease and diabetes (O’Connell B8). The group created numerous foods to enable consumers to have a variety to choose from. The development process involved conducting taste tests and clinical trials. The initial twenty meals developed in 1994 passed the taste tests (O’Connell B8). What followed were the company’s clinical trials which were carried out in consultation with the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association. Both groups endorsed the new food line (O’Connell B8).