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Uh oh! Franco-American is no more

PHILADELPHIA -- Here's one for nostalgia buffs: the Franco-American brand -- best known for SpaghettiOs -- is no more.

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

The 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 competitors Chef Boyardee and Heinz.

''Campbell's is a dramatically stronger" brand, the company's chief strategy officer, M. Carl Johnson III, said yesterday. ''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.

Franco-American's roots go back to 1887. Campbell bought it in 1915 and created SpaghettiOs to eliminate children's struggles with long spaghetti noodles.

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