The Daily Swill, Camden, NJ - Reacting to immense shareholder pressure to improve earnings, Campbell Soup Company, the world's largest soup manufacturer, announced the release of three revolutionary new insect flavored soups - Fly Lice, Mantis Noodle, and Grub Chili.
The announcement echoes the recent trends at Campbell's, which despite $6 million in worldwide sales, (including sales from their Pepperidge Farms cookies and crackers and Godiva chocolates lines) has shown the typical doldrums of a mature and stale food category.
"While are doing well with our non-soup lines, the soup category was old and boring, like my Uncle Dwight," said Campbell's Vice President of Product Innovations Subiz Gudfude at a press conference today, "but we've invested heavily in innovation and quality improvement, have grown our microwaveable soup market, and have spent billions in merchandising. "Now we are taking the next step and coming up with the next generation of soup."
Campbell's recent performance suggests Gudfude's words ring true, as Campbell shares are up 3.6% recently and have earned "outperform" and "buy" ratings from Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank.
When asked how the company arrived at insect-based soup, Gudfude simply stated "While on the surface it may seem repulsive and unappetizing, when you really analyze the facts it makes perfect sense. Insects are a very high protein source with a complete amino acid profile that fits in perfectly with a high-protein, low carb diet. Insects are instantly recognized around the world and it is a cold hard fact that insects are eaten and enjoyed by a large percentage of the world's population. Just the buzz surrounding our soups reduces the advertising we have to do which allows us to channel the savings into alternate marketing vehicles. We have initiated one of the ultimate paradigm shifts of all time - our consumer can truly be proud of instead of embarrassed at the old line "Hey waiter, there's a fly in my soup!" This will be a statement of pride versus a complaint."
Posed with the question of flavor selection, Gudfude replied "we hope to capture the untapped asian market who tend to eat "hot and sour" and "miso" soups, with our Fly Lice, a spicy blend of Hairy Maggot Blowflies and plant lice. Simply unforgettable! Mantis Noodle is a cauldron of different textures and shapes, a new age alphabet soup if you will. Our consumers all look at our soup while they eat it; this will be the first time that their soup will look back. Think of the legs as "nature's angel hair pasta." And last but not least is our heartiest fare, Grub Chili which has big chunks of beef with grubs subbing for beans. Trust me when I say you will have absolutely no appetite after scarfing a bowl of this!"
Gudfude was asked about any hygiene issues, both perceived and actual, in regards to the insects used in his soups. "None whatsoever," announced Gudfude, swatting a fly on his lapel and deftly placing it in a Petri dish residing in his breast pocket. "In regards to our loyal customer's perception, all we can do is inform and let them be the judge. In reality, our insects are of the highest quality. They are organic, farm-raised, and grain fed in small batches in free range temperature controlled terrariums guarded 24-7 at a secured facility. Humanely slaughtered using a proprietary dry roasting technique, which both sterilizes and releases the fine flavors of the specimens, they are folded in to a complementary soup base. Only the finest plumpest specimens make it into a can of Campbell's."
Just what do the new soups taste like anyway?
"The taste of our soups, contrary to their appearance, are quite sublime" purred Gudfude, offering us the recently captured "Petri-fly" which we politely declined, "when the roadkill meets the road, they really all taste like chicken."
Gudfude declined to respond to rumors of the natural tie-ins to McDonald's Happy Meals and Campbell's desire to be the official soup of the reality show "Fear Factor."
"We are entertaining a plethora of co-marketing opportunities that I cannot comment on at this time," said Gudfude with a sly grin, "but I will say this: don't be surprised if you see Pepperidge Farms Dung Beetle Macaroons and Godiva Chocolate-Covered Stinkbugs at a fine grocer near you."