Campbell’s Tomato Soup was first produced in 1898. It continues to be the company’s second biggest seller—right after Chicken Noodle Soup. Over the 120 years of its existence it has been sold in cans of the same size. Political Calculations remarks:
Political Calculations has tracked the price history of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup over the past 126 years because of its remarkable consistency as an identifiable product over time. In fact, if you had a time machine and could travel to nearly any point in time from January 1898 to the present, you could likely find a 10.75 ounce size (Number 1) can of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup stocked for sale in American grocery stores.
That long-running consistency makes Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup an ideal product to follow to understand how inflation has affected American consumers through its history. Today, we’re updating our chart visualizing that history from January 1898 through January 2023.
The same product sold over the same period in the same sized container provides a nearly unique way of gauging inflation.