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The S&P 500 and Campbell's Tomato Soup

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Longtime readers know our two favorite data series are the price histories for an iconic No. 1 can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup and for the S&P 500 stock market index. We’re tapping both of them today to answer a burning question we had: How many cans of Campbell’s tomato soup could a hypothetical investor in the S&P 500 buy if they cashed in the equivalent of one share of the index.

We’re presenting the graphical answer to that question below, where we find that as of the index’ all-time record highs in early September 2021, our hypothetical index investor could buy 4,752 cans of tomato soup!

Number of Cans of Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup per Value of One Share of the S&P 500, January 1898 - September 2021

Expressed a little differently, that’s the same as 198 cases of 24 cans each.

Compare that quantity to January 1898, when Campbell’s condensed tomato soup first began being shipped across the country. We find the equivalent value of a share of the S&P 500 (actually an an index made up of its predecessor individual stock components) would have bought 46 cans, or rather, just under 2 cases worth of soup.

Now, which would you rather have in your investment portfolio or pantry today: one equivalent share of the S&P 500 or 198 cases of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup?

Cases of Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup


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