Campbell's Soup Co. (CPB) is withdrawing from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest trade association in the U.S., representing 250 of the major food, beverage and consumer product companies.
Campbell's CEO Denise Morrison said, at the company's investor day on Wednesday, July 19, that it will partner with Sage Project, a nascent product data platform with a mission to "reimagine food data" by making it "smart, simple and personalized."
"Sage creates labels we always wanted for our foods," Morrison said. "Transparency doesn't mean much if the consumer doesn't understand what they're looking at."
The move coincides with Campbell's larger $50 million investment in improving the quality of its food, which includes its decision to go clean by, for example, removing artificial flavors from its products and using antibiotics-free chicken.
Morrison said it also adds to Campbell's goal to increase its tech innovation and boost capabilities in new channels, such as e-commerce, as the consumer shifts to online shopping. She estimated online grocery sales will hit $66 billion by 2021 and that Campbell's will generate $300 million in that space.
"At Campbell's, we're listening to consumers," Morrison said. "We recognize that real and healthier food is better for our consumers and our business. Our goal is to be the leading health and well-being food company."
Sage is a New York City-based food data platform that posts dietary information, with an interactive guide, for all the products it represents online, including calorie breakdowns. Sage's brands include KIND Snacks, Whole Foods Market (WFM) and Clif Bar & Co.
Shares of Campbell's Soup rose 3.1% to $52.57 in afternoon trading on Wednesday.