Campbell Soup CEO says some causes of inflation will be more difficult to overcome

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Campbell Soup CEO Mark Clouse told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Wednesday that he believes some causes of inflation will be more difficult to move past than others during the pandemic economic recovery.

“Clearly parts of the inflation that we’re seeing now I do think are more transitional in nature. I do expect that as we cycle through the next six to 12 months, we’re going to see some improvement and relief in some areas,” Clouse said in an interview on “Mad Money.”

“But I also think there are some areas that probably are a bit more structural, and so I do expect inflation to continue as we roll into the [2022] calendar year and, for us, even into the first half of our fiscal year in ’23,” Clouse continued. The soup and snack maker is currently in its fiscal second quarter.

Clouse’s comments came in response to a question about the Federal Reserve and its new forecast for three interest rate hikes next year.

The updated outlook reflects a more aggressive monetary policy approach from the central bank, as the U.S. economy experiences the hottest inflation readings in decades. For example, the consumer price index in November jumped 6.8% on a year-over-year basis. That’s the fastest rate since June 1982.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell maintains that accommodative policy remains appropriate in order to help the economy reach full employment. However, he’s also signaled in recent months that inflation has been more persistent than initially expected as various supply chain bottlenecks drag on. Late last month, he even said it was time to retire the word “transitory” when describing inflation, a term he frequently used before.

Campbell Soup and other companies have experienced higher costs on a number of inputs, ranging from food and raw materials to transportation and labor. In his “Mad Money” interview, Clouse did not say which of those inflation drivers he thinks may be structural.

However, he said the company is sensitive to consumers’ budgets and is working to keep prices in check.

“We’re going to be doing everything we possibly can — both from a cost standpoint, as well as productivity — to try to ensure that we maintain affordable prices,” Clouse said. “We know how important that is, and certainly across our portfolio where we’ve got a lot of products that are really important to people’s everyday lives.”

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