FOOD HISTORY: Campbell's Soup

Abraham Anderson was a  tinsmith interested in tin cans as a new food preservation method who opened a small canning company in Camden, NJ in 1860. In 1869, Joseph Campbell, a Philadelphia produce merchant, became Anderson's partner forming The Anderson and Campbell Company. Anderson and Campbell produced canned tomatoes, vegetables, condiments, jellies, mincemeat and soups. Thus, Anderson and Campbell became one of many small canning companies that began in America at that time. Their specialty was Beefsteak tomatoes and the company was best known for canned Beefsteak tomatoes. Because of this, the Beefsteak tomato became the first advertising symbol of the company. However, business differences between the two men led Campbell to buy out Anderson in 1886 and change the name of the company to Joseph Campbell and Company. Campbell was the sole owner until 1882, when he took on three partners; his nephew, Joseph S. Campbell, his son-in-law, Walter S. Spackman and Spackman's friend, Arthur Dorrance, who brought new financing to the company. The company name was changed to Joseph Campbell Preserving Company. In 1896, the company expanded its product line and built a large factory in Camden. A year later, Arthur Dorrance hired his nephew, John T. Dorrance, a chemical engineer and organic chemist and, by 1899, John Dorrance had developed a  process of condensing soup by removing 1/2 of the water from the soup to create a thicker consistency. By halving the water in the canned soup, he reduced the costs of packing, shipping and storage from 30 cents for the typical 32 oz can of non-condensed soup to 10 cents for a 10 oz of condensed soup. Advertising the benefits of soup to consumers and the lower price and easily stored new condensed versions contributed to  the great success of the new condensed soup product. This gave Campbell's the competitive edge over their competitors. In 1905 the company was renamed Joseph Campbell Company. In 1916, the idea of using condensed soups in recipes, rather than just using them as soups, which originated in a cookbook, "Help for the Hostess", added to the popularity of and the utilitarian nature of condensed soup. In fact, Americans use more than 440 millions cans a year in a variety of recipes. The soups rank only behind meat/poultry, pasta and seasonings and spices as the ingredient most used to prepare dinner each year. The most popular soups eaten are tomato  introduced in 1897 and Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Noodle, both introduced in 1934. The Joseph Campbell Company was dissolved, formally, in 1922 and in 1922 a new company, The Campbell Soup Company, reflecting the company's most famous and profitable product was formed. While, at present, the Campbell Soup Company product line consists of more than just soup, it is the world's number one soup maker selling products in 160  countries with principal markets in North America, Australia, Belgium, France and Germany.