PHILADELPHIA – Here’s one for the nostalgia department: The Franco-American brand – best known for SpaghettiOs – is no more.

Campbell Soup Co. has quietly retired it, though not the SpaghettiOs, which were introduced in 1965. SpaghettiOs are now sold under the Campbell brand.

The Camden, N.J., food company had long sold its canned pasta and gravies under the Franco-American brand but decided they have a better shot as Campbell products against chief competitors Chef Boyardee and Heinz.

“Campbell’s is a dramatically stronger” brand, the company’s chief strategy officer, M. Carl Johnson III, said Wednesday. “We wanted to take advantage of that in every respect.”

In the last 12 months, Franco American canned pasta sales were $115.4 million; Chef Boyardee’s sales were $294.6 million, according to Information Resources Inc. Johnson said using the Campbell brand for SpaghettiOs allows the company to incorporate canned pastas into marketing of kids’ condensed soups, such as Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Chicken Stars.

The company also expects canned gravy sales to benefit from the company’s ongoing promotion of condensed soups, such as Cream of Mushroom, used in recipes.

John B. Lord, chairman of the food marketing department at Saint Joseph’s University, said Franco-American “is a brand that hasn’t had an impact in many years. It would require a good deal of investment to rebuild the brand.”

Franco-American’s roots go back to 1887. Campbell bought it in 1915 and created SpaghettiOs as an antidote to the childhood struggle with long strands of spaghetti noodles.



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