Campbell Soup Company: Can Collective Impact Reverse the Obesity Epidemic? 

By Alexandra Luterek and Vera Oziransky

In 2012, nearly 18% of children aged 6-11 nationwide were obese. In Camden, New Jersey, three-quarters of its households with children ages 3 to 18 lack access to healthy, affordable food. Nationally, about 9% of the total population are living in communities that do not provide adequate access to healthy food retailers, such as supermarkets or grocery stores, within a reasonable distance from their home.

Camden is also home to the Campbell Soup Company, one of the county’s largest employers. In 2010, the company recognized the need to address issues of obesity and access to healthy food, and began a 10 year, $10 million initiative to measurably improve the health of young people in communities where it has its largest manufacturing operations.

“Campbell Healthy Communities” is a collective impact network, which leverages efforts of partner such as the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and others to improve local health outcomes. Since inception, Campbell helped integrate a hunger questionnaire into local electronic medical records, implement a soccer program, and leads cooking classes and nutrition education programs for youth.

Meanwhile, the initiative generates strategic insight and long-term value for Campbell. Consumers nationwide increasingly demand healthier food options, and the food and beverage industry is trying to adapt. Through partnerships with non-profits, reformulation of its products, and acquisition of healthy brands – most recently Bolthouse Farms – Campbell is aligning its business and community engagement practices with this trend to create Shared Value.

Read more about how businesses can create Shared Value for population health and business profitability in “Beyond the Four Walls: Why Community is Critical to Workforce Health” and learn how Campbell Healthy Communities leverages the Shared Value strategy here.

How does your community promote a “Culture of Health”? Have you engaged a large employer such as a manufacturer, hospital, or university nearby? We’d love to hear how, either in the comment section below or on social media at @VitalityInst and using #Beyond4Walls

Photo credit: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

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