UPDATE 2-Campbell to launch new V8 drinks

Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:33pm EDT

* To sell new carrot-based V8 drink

* To launch V8 V-Fusion with green tea

* Shares down 0.9 percent (Adds comments on pricing outlook, byline)

By Martinne Geller

CAMDEN, New Jersey, July 12 (Reuters) - Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N) is introducing new V8 juice drinks and other products to boost sales in the United States.

Campbell next month plans to start selling a V8 V-Fusion drink with green tea that it hopes people will drink during the afternoon hours. People often drink regular V8 V-Fusion in the morning.

The company is also launching a carrot-based V8 vegetable drink to attract consumers who may not like tomato juice, which is the foundation of V8.

Campbell, which makes Prego pasta sauces and Pepperidge Farm baked goods in addition to its soups, expects revenue growth in fiscal 2011 to be fueled by higher sales volume, said Chief Financial Officer Craig Owens. It will be hard to raise prices as people focus on value, Owens said.

The company is also stepping up investment in new products, he said.

The world's largest soup maker made the comments during a meeting with analysts and investors at its headquarters in Camden, New Jersey on Monday.

Campbell said it plans to make products more broadly available in new markets and explore partnerships or acquisitions. It also plans to boost profit margins by raising prices, even though that remains difficult in the near term.

In its U.S. soup segment, which has been hurt by competition with other simple meal options, Campbell said it would test new versions of its canned tomato soup, made with yellow and orange tomatoes.

Even though costs for some raw materials are expected to rise in the coming year, Campbell said it expects to offset those increases by cutting costs, such as by simplifying the way it makes soup.

In May, Campbell said it expected full-year sales to rise 2.5 to 3.5 percent, with adjusted earnings per share growth at the high end of its 9 to 11 percent forecast. [ID:nN24150692]

Campbell said it would not update that forecast on Monday.

Last month, the company voluntarily recalled 35,000 cases of its "SpaghettiOs" canned pasta, saying some of the products might have been under-processed. [ID:nN17176660].

Campbell shares closed down 0.9 percent at $35.96 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Martinne Geller. Editing by Robert MacMillan and Tim Dobbyn)

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