To Combat 2020’s Unpredictability, Campbell’s Offers ‘Dinner Insurance’ This Thanksgiving

Food companies are looking for creative ways to celebrate an unusual holiday season

Images of Thanksgiving dinner
Campbell’s plans to deliver replacement meals to New York City residents in Manhattan who mess up their Thanksgiving side dish. Campbell's

As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, CPG manufacturers are not only capitalizing on the heightened interest in their products, but also a holiday season that will consist of smaller gatherings with more first-time cooks.

Campbell Soup Company is offering hosts some peace of mind with Dinner Insurance, a pledge to deliver a fresh replacement to New York City residents living in Manhattan who mess up any side dish on Thanksgiving Day between noon and 5 p.m. ET.

Dinner Insurance’s aim is also to calm nerves during an uncertain holiday season: Internal survey results from Campbell’s show that 66% of rookie chefs are worried about failing completely.

“Our goal with Dinner Insurance is to remind everyone that even in the toughest of times, Campbell’s is here to make holidays easier and more delicious with our no-fail classic side recipes,” Linda Lee, CMO of Campbell’s meals and beverages segment, said in a statement.

In conjunction with the offering, the company is rolling out a webpage that features four popular recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes across Campbell’s portfolio of brands that are easy enough for beginners to master: Campbell’s iconic green bean casserole, Swanson mashed potatoes and Pepperidge Farm savory stuffing and holiday brie en croute. 

The idea grew from trying to help people and add value when “everything and anything is unpredictable,” Lee said. It’s also motivation for consumers to reach for Campbell’s when preparing their holiday menus—particularly for first-time cooks who don’t have their go-to ingredients yet.

That focus on luring in first-time cooks is precisely why Campbell’s chose Manhattan for its giveaway hub. Additional research indicates that around one in three of the borough’s inhabitants are going to be newbie holiday hosts this year, higher than the national average of one in five. Data from the Consumer Brands Association, a trade group, shows that 68% of Americans plan to spend this Thanksgiving at home or at the home of a nearby friend or family member.

“We’re going to have 100 sides available on Thanksgiving Day, so hopefully that’s more than enough,” Lee said. She also noted that Campbell’s plans to donate all unclaimed dishes to prevent any food waste.

Campbell’s is jumping on a major pandemic trend within the CPG space. Food and beverage companies such as PepsiCo and McCormick & Company have been busy creating recipes and cooking content for people looking for some creative inspiration at home.

“By publishing recipes featuring their products, manufacturers show consumers new ways to use their products that can drive incremental sales by driving incremental usage patterns,” Darren Seifer, food and beverage analyst at the NPD Group, said.

It’s also a way to capture new consumers long after the holiday ends. Lee said that the increase in cooking has a good chance to stick around in a post-pandemic world because of the rewards it offers.

“We’ve heard from our consumers this real appreciation of having the family around that table and valuing that moment, and how a home-cooked meal really is that center,” she said.

In May, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that 69% of U.S. adults who’ve dedicated more time to cooking since the outbreak say the activity has improved their quality of life.

Multiple food companies are looking for innovative ways to celebrate the unusual holiday season. Kraft Heinz’s stuffing brand Stove Top is selling a limited-edition line of inexpensive formalwear, which includes cufflinks, a shawl and a dinner jacket, to encourage people to ditch the months-old shelter-in-place sweatpants on Thanksgiving. Poultry producer Perdue has made two types of turkey nuggets that the company calls ThanksNuggets: a turkey-shaped light-meat version that tastes like sweet potato and a drumstick-shaped dark-meat offering containing hints of stuff and cranberry sauce.


@hiebertpaul paul.hiebert@adweek.com Paul Hiebert is a CPG reporter at Adweek, where he focuses on data-driven stories that help illustrate changes in consumer behavior and sentiment.
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