CAMDEN, N.J. — Top brands are delivering on the growing demand for natural and organic products. Campbell Soup Co., for example, is rolling out six premium ready-to-eat soups made with U.S.D.A.-certified organic ingredients.
Packaged in cartons, not cans, varieties include chicken noodle, sun-ripened tomato and basil, chicken tortilla, lentil, garden vegetable with herbs, and creamy butternut squash. Four varieties are gluten-free, and three are vegetarian.
Eighty-one per cent of American families choose organic products at least sometimes, according to company research, and 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds try to include organic foods in their diets.
“Organic eating is a priority for many Americans, and we want to make sure that those who choose to eat organic – no matter where they live - have options that are both authentic and delicious,” said Leah Dunmore, vice-president of soup at Campbell. “We’ve combined high-quality ingredients with the delicious flavor people expect from our products to bring taste without compromise to soup aisles nationwide.”
Also new from Campbell is a line of shelf-stable juices under the V8 banner. With no added sugar or artificial ingredients, new V8 Vegetable and Fruit Juice Beverages feature blends of vegetables with a touch of fruit for 60 calories or less.
Varieties include Healthy Greens, which has spinach, yellow carrots, apples and pineapple; Purple Power, with purple carrots, beets and apple; Golden Goodness, featuring sweet potatoes, yellow carrots, orange carrots and orange; and Carrot Mango, made with carrot and mango juices.
And from the Plum Organics brand, which Campbell acquired in 2013, the company is introducing a new line of heat-and-eat organic soups for children. The products are made with U.S.D.A.-certified organic ingredients and contain no antibiotics or added hormones.
Campbell is not the only large food company venturing into the natural and organic category. Hillshire Farm Naturals lunchmeat is set to launch from Hillshire Brands, a business unit of Tyson Foods. The new line of turkey and ham products contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives, colors or added nitrites or nitrates.
7-Eleven has introduced a pair of yogurt-drizzled snack bars made with fruit, nuts, seeds and organic sweeteners, including agave and brown rice syrup. At less than 200 calories each, 7-Select GO!Smart bars are available in cranberry cashew and pistachio and mixed berries varieties, joining a broadening variety of better-for-you offerings at the convenience chain.
Additionally, several companies lately have eliminated undesirable ingredients from products. Kraft Foods in February announced the removal of high-fructose corn syrup and the artificial sweetener sucralose from several Capri Sun beverages in favor of sugar and stevia leaf extract, which consumers perceive as natural and, therefore, healthier, according to Kraft. In the past two years, the company has relaunched its Philadelphia cream cheese line without artificial ingredients, eliminated artificial dyes from its shaped macaroni and cheese and removed artificial preservatives from select Kraft Singles sliced cheese.
Unilever also recently committed to sourcing milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones for all of its ice cream brands, beginning with Breyers. Breyers is now the largest packaged U.S. ice cream brand with such a distinction, according to the company. Breyers also has launched a new initiative with the Rainforest Alliance to use only vanilla from sustainably farmed vanilla beans from Madagascar.
“Breyers has a longstanding history of offering frozen treats with high-quality ingredients that moms feel good about,” said Alessandra Bellini, vice-president of brand development at Unilever North America. “These industry-leading changes are the latest in our commitment to do right by parents and the environment.”