- Campbell Soup is acquiring the parent company of Rao’s pasta sauce in a $2.7 billion deal.
- Fans of the product have taken to social media to raise concerns about the fate of the famous sauce.
- The CEO of Campbell Soup addressed the backlash and said the company wouldn’t “touch the sauce.”
But within hours of the announcement on Tuesday, social media was rife with fans concerned about the fate of their beloved sauce.
An X user called @leadpacer said the sauce’s recipe could change in a few years because “the MBA types that dominate corporate America struggle to create value, but they can certainly extract it.”
“That means they’re gonna start adding sugar to it. This is why we can’t eat nice things,” a Reddit user commented on a thread about the acquisition with more than 1,200 comments. Another user posted in the same thread, “What’s coming: Some more high fructose corn syrup with a touch of shrinkflation at a bigger price.”
Backlash for the acquisition got so much traction that the CEO of Campbell stepped up to say that they won’t change the recipe.
“We will not touch the sauce. We just spent a pretty significant amount of money to buy something that we believe is really really special,” Campbell Soup CEO Mark Clouse told Yahoo Finance in an interview.
“I appreciate all the encouragement on social media, but we are not going to change it,” he said of the pasta sauce. Pointing to Campbell’s chicken-soup recipe, Clouse said: “We’ve been pretty consistent for 125 years with a pretty darn good chicken noodle soup that we guard with our lives to make sure that that quality stays the same.”
Rao’s was originally one of New York’s most exclusive Italian-American restaurants. It evolved into a beloved sauce brand when Frank Pellegrino Sr., the owner of the restaurant who also starred in “Goodfellas,” began selling its pasta sauce in 1991.
It was acquired by Sovos in 2017, which reported Rao’s brand sales reached $580 million in 2022.
Campbell’s last big acquisition was the parent company of Snyder’s Pretzels in 2018. The pretzels consistently score glowing reviews on Amazon.
Campbell Soup and Sovos did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.
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