The Benefits of Merging a Mid-Market Firm With a Startup

Plum Organics CEO Neil Grimmer told CEO Briefing that this approach already has borne fruit for both firms. “We’ve been part of Campbell Soup now for over a year,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic relationship” so far. Morrison and he have begun to gradually mesh the two companies’ strengths and capabilities to close needs and gaps on both sides—a huge part of Campbell’s rationale for buying the $93-million leader in the fast-growing kids’ snacks and organic products industries.

“After six months of getting to know each other, now we’re focusing on finding ways to leverage each other’s strengths.”

“We spent the first six months making sure we got to know each other’s organization before we did any collaboration across departments,” Grimmer continues. “Now what we’ve really been focusing on is finding ways to leverage each other’s strengths.”

For example, he said, Plum “benefits greatly” from the well-established relationships that Campbell enjoys with retailers and from its broad capabilities in distribution infrastructure, production, warehousing, freight and logistics. Meanwhile, Grimmer noted, Plum is “a small, innovative challenger brand with speed to market, a mission orientation, and a passionate culture. These are all infectious things we hope to bring to the broader Campbell organization while making sure that the magic and mission of Plum stay as true as when we started the company.”

And soon, Grimmer said, consumers will begin to see some hybridization of the two companies, stemming from all of the above. “Our innovation teams get together and share ideas, and so there is cross-pollination happening,” he said.

The first result? Plum soup. “This will be an exciting launch for us that clearly leverages some of their capabilities at Campbell Soup, and also will bring what Plum does best to the soup aisle.”