Soup it Up


Warming and nourishing, it feeds the soul. What’s better to warm you up on a cold, autumn day or to help the body heal from a nasty cold bug?

Homemade, of course, lends itself to being the healthiest we can get.

Since we’re totally in control of what goes into it, and can be sure there’s nothing sneaky that could actually make us sick short term like gluten, or over the course of time, like ridiculously high levels of sodium, it’s the safest and often most delicious way to go.

Or we could pick up a can of Campbell’s.


Canned soup?

I know, it sounds crazy and I wouldn’t have thought of Campbell’s as a go-to option, either, until I read something in the Times[1] earlier this week.

Denise M. Morrison, chief executive of Campbell since 2011, has moved quickly to address changing trends in food and to try to stanch the gradual decline in unit sales, a measurement of the number of cans of soup sold.

“The company is banishing ingredients that today’s consumers don’t like and using advertising and social media to have a conversation with consumers about what it is doing. Acquisitions have also given Campbell toeholds in new markets and brought new ideas to the organization.”, read the article.

I was!

So just what do these changes consist of?

They’re making it crystal clear for the consumer to see what used to be in some of their recipes by leaving the old formulae listed on the can, but crossing out what’s no longer part of the blend.

Foodstuff such as cornstarch, MSG, maltodextrin and soy oil are among those that have been nixed while others, such as sodium and modified food starch still remain on the label.

There’s also no mention of whether or not the cans will continue to be the same, making BPA contamination an issue for frequent soup eaters[2].

So it’s not exactly perfect, yet it’s still a great example of a giant company making subtle changes to reflect what the public is demanding.

As far as I’m concerned, the mere fact that the public is even aware of the fact that they may be getting some unfavorable additives when they’re heating up the contents of that red and white can speaks volumes for where I hope we’re heading on an educational standpoint.

Incidentally, while my comment about popping into the store to pick a can of soup in lieu of making a batch at home was facetious, there are other brands which make a point to let us, the consumers, know that the packaging is BPA free and the contents are organic, and everything inside is, in fact, something we can identify as a food and also that it doesn’t contain the copious amounts of sodium that many a common brand does.

And with nearly 99 percent of Americans consuming more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day which is the upper limit recommended for African Americans, people older than 50 and those with high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease getting much of said sodium from soup[3], we need to take this very seriously.

Best bet?
Make your own at home.

Plan B?

Make it an infrequent Plan B, first off.

Then, read labels, stick with BPA free cans, or even better, glass jars and avoid things you cannot recognize as food.

And let the companies know what you’re thinking!

If they’re really listening, even if it is via a decline in sales, and they want to know what we’re looking for, let’s let them know!

It just takes a bit of being a squeaky wheel sometimes.

And squeak, I will!

PS: Need some ideas? Start with my recipe for a Paleo version of one that I mentioned in yesterday’s Diwali post: Spiced Zucchini Coconut Soup!



[1] Strom, Stephanie. “Campbell Rethinks Its Soup Recipe as Consumer Tastes Change.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015

[2] Rowan, Karen. “Soaring BPA Levels Found in People Who Eat Canned Foods.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2015

[3] “Soup Has Many Benefits, but It Can Be a Problem If It Has Too Much Salt.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015