Campbell Soup Company has called Camden home since 1869 and has no plans to leave despite the city’s problems. Vice President of Global Communications Anthony Sanzio told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Camden is Campbell’s hometown and the company is committed to help revitalize the city.
“Clearly the city has seen better days but right now, Campbell is making investments, Cooper University Hospital is making investments, Rutgers is making investments and you get a sense that over time, these investments are going to add up to a much brighter future for the city,” Sanzio said about Camden.
Surveys have shown Campbell’s as one of the 10 most responsible corporate citizens. Sanzio said it doesn’t cost a lot of money to be a good corporate citizen and that it’s part of the Campbell culture. “If you look at the culture and our employees, it’s really part of our DNA to want to give back. So corporate responsibility is something that we’ve been doing for a long time,” he explained. “It has over the recent years, it’s gotten a bit of a buzz around it, but for years and years and years we’ve always been giving back.”
Sanzio said Camden Mayor Dana Redd and her administration are helping to move the city in a better direction. “We feel the city is making the right moves and doing the right things to improve the lives of residents. And we want to do our part as well. So we work with the city, we work with the mayor’s office, we volunteer in the community all the time,” he said. “It’s hard work. This is not easy work that the administration has ahead of it. But we feel it’s definitely going in the right direction.”
Campbell Soup Company is moving forward with its business as well. Sanzio said the latest quarterly earnings report, which was released right before Thanksgiving, showed sales up 8 percent and adjusted net income up 5 percent. He said there were some one-time costs associated with the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms, a company based in Bakersfield, Calif. that makes products like juices and salad dressings. According to Sanzio, Campbell is striving to innovate.
“Where this company is going is really exciting,” Sanzio said. “Under [President and Chief Executive Officer] Denise Morrison’s leadership we’re more focused on innovation, we’re focused on reaching younger consumers and we’re focused on expanding into new markets with higher growth potential for the company.”
While Campbell’s isn’t planning to add employees in New Jersey at the moment, Sanzio said the company’s goal is growth, which could lead to additional jobs in the state. Currently Campbell’s has about 1,200 employees in the Camden area and several hundred others elsewhere in the state, including Plainsfield and East Brunswick. “Our goal is to grow the top line, and as we grow the top line, that will lead to employment opportunities statewide,” he said.
Sanzio said Campbell’s believes New Jersey is heading in the right direction under Gov. Chris Christie with regard to its business environment.
“Wherever you operate, whatever state in the country, there are certainly challenges and opportunities but we like where New Jersey’s going,” Sanzio said. “We’ve been headquartered here for over 140 years and hopefully for another 140 years.”