The #2 brand of organic babyfood in the US and the #4 baby food brand overall with sales of $93m in 2012, Plum will continue to be led by its co-founder Neil Grimmer and will operate as a standalone business within the Campbell North America division.
Launched in 2007, California-based Plum has since developed 150 products for babies, toddlers and kids in the US and the UK and has particularly strong distribution in online and natural channels.
Its biggest sellers include baby food in squeezable pouches and bite-sized snacks called ‘Super Puffs’, but it has also developed a range of innovative healthy snacks for toddlers and young children.
These include fruit & veggie mashups; Mighty4 snack pouches containing unusual combinations of fruit, vegetables, ancient grains and Greek yogurt; fruit & veggie shredz; Yo Drops 'crunchable' yogurt snacks; and Slam Dunx wheat sticks with veggie and fruit dips.
Plum has the brands and the products, Campbell has the brand-building capabilities and supply chain
Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said the deal represented “another step toward our long-term goal of shifting Campbell’s center of gravity” and would help Campbell expand into faster-growing food categories.
Campbell North America president Mark Alexander added: “We believe that the combination of Plum’s brands and unique products with Campbell’s brand-building capabilities, consumer insights expertise and supply chain resources will help accelerate the brand’s growth.”
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
Our success rate for new products is 86%
In a 2012 interview with FoodNavigator-USA about innovation at Plum, VP of Innovation Bentley Hall said that the firm had managed to achieve success rates for new products that were unrivalled in the industry.
He added: "Our success rate for new products is 86% - by which I mean that 86% of the new products we launch get into the top third of the categories they are in.”
So what’s its secret?
“We are very systematic about how we develop new products, but we’re also not afraid of failure and we have a healthy respect for gut intuition”, explained Hall.
“Some things that test poorly we’ve still gone ahead and launched and they have done incredibly well.
“You can put a product through 85 stage gates and get input from 95 people, but sometimes this just increases your chances of ending up with something truly mediocre that no one is happy with."
Meanwhile, it can also move incredibly fast, he claimed.
“We can get from ideation to commercial launch in under 90 days.”
Click here to read the interview.