Mar 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

Campbell ramps up production as coronavirus fears drive demand

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Campbell Soup stock jumped 10% on Wednesday as the company's CEO went on a media tour to tout the growing demand for the company's products in the face of COVID-19 fears.

What he's saying: CEO Mark Clouse told CNBC Wednesday that the company is increasing soup production in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • “We made the decision last week to up production in certain areas where we’re using a little bit the analogy of weather or natural disasters,” Clouse said.

What he's also saying: In a separate interview Wednesday, Clouse told Reuters that a few retail customers had begun stepping up orders. The company had already started building inventory for ingredients that are usually stockpiled during natural disasters, including canned soups, snacks and Prego pasta sauces.

  • “We’re working very closely with folks to make sure that we keep them in stock,” Clouse said, adding that “honestly before this weekend we had not seen much” higher demand.

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Why it matters: There are dour forecasts for the global economy as the coronavirus runs its course. But investors are placing bets on what consumers will need as the fast-spreading outbreak worsens.

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The stock market is heading south with unprecedented velocity amid coronavirus fears. Does that mean it's crashing? Are we in a recession? Is this a financial crisis?

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