Bust out the noisemakers and funny hats. Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup is celebrating its 80th birthday this month, and the folks at the Campbell Soup Co. are eager to make a big deal out of this milestone for one of their signature products.
In other words, this soup du jour is one for the ages.
Or so says Campbell. According to a birthday press release, “This household staple filled with homemade flavor, hearty chicken, and 32 feet of noodles, has been satisfying stomachs since 1934.’’
Thirty-two feet of noodles! Whew! (“Comfort your soul with every bowl,’’ is one Campbell marketing message.)
It would seem there’s a branding message of sorts in chicken noodle’s early history. Back in its salad days, when Velveeta was still deemed a miracle of food science and Spam had yet to be invented, the product was called “Noodle with Chicken Soup.’’
But then a bit of a slip-up occurred, say the acolytes who tend Campbell’s lore.
“The name change to Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle soup was a result of an advertisement on a popular radio program when one of the famous on-air personalities misread his copy and called the product Chicken Noodle soup,’’ the company’s birthday press release said. “Within days of the slip, Campbell began receiving large orders for its new product as it began flying off shelves.’’
Flying off the shelves indeed. Some folks today are vegans and vegetarians. Others insist on eating only locally produced fare. But many consumers are still saying, “Give me the Campbell’s life.’’
In 2013, Americans purchased more than 200 million cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup, the company said. (How many feet of noodles is that?)
Meanwhile, the company has expanded well beyond the soup aisle of the grocery store. Its brand portfolio now includes Pepperidge Farm, V8, Prego, and SpaghettiOs.
Still, the company notes with pride, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup has remained a Top 10 shelf-stable grocery item purchased in the US since its birth in 1934.