Organic Consumers Association

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Trouble in Big Food: America's Cereal, Soda and Soup Companies Are in Turmoil

America's cereal, soda and soup companies are having a rough 2018.

General Mills (GIS), Campbell Soup (CPB), Hershey (HSY) and Pepsi (PEP) are all failing to convince investors they have a plan to navigate shoppers' changing tastes.

The consumer staples sector is at the back of the pack in the S&P 500, down 13% this year. It's on track for its worst year in a decade.

On Friday, Campbell plunged 12%its worst day since 1999, after CEO Denise Morrison abruptly retired.Campbell announced a review of its entire lineup, including soup, leaving the door open for breaking up the 149-year-old company.

It's part of a broader problem. Large consumer goods brands lost market share to small competitors from 2011 to 2016 for the first time in 50 years, according to Jim Brennan, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group.

"The threat is everywhere," Brennan said at a recent AllianceBernstein conference.

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