Soup in a Stand-up Pouch
Convenience drives many new product concepts. One case in point is a new line of Hearty Soups from Pacific Natural Foods, Tualatin, Ore. The ready-to-eat, all-natural soups come in a stand-up pouch that can be heated in a microwave oven. Minimal thermal processing and high-barrier packaging deliver ambient distribution and storage and a 12-mo shelf life. 

The soups come in four varieties: Hearty Chicken Noodle, Hearty Chicken Tortilla, Roasted Red Pepper & Corn Chowder, and Hearty Beef Barley, and feature free-range chicken and grain-fed beef with no added hormones or antibiotics. Consumers can microwave the soup in the pouch, which heats in 90 sec. The suggested retail price range is $2.99–$3.99.

Sea Salt Cuts Soups’ Sodium Content
Campbell Soup Co.
, Camden, N.J., recently announced a major initiative to reduce sodium in its soups. Key to this reduction is the reformulation of its products using an all-natural sea salt, which will help lower sodium by at least 25%. Some products will see a 45% reduction. This reformulation will impact about one-third of Campbell’s soup volume in the United States. The reduced-sodium products will appear on store shelves this summer. 

“Wellness is a critical component of our corporate strategy and our portfolio is well-positioned to meet consumer demand for convenient, high quality, nutritious food,” said Douglas R. Conant, Campbell’s President and CEO. “The initiatives represent a breakthrough in our sodium reduction work and our commitment to offering consumers more choices without asking them to compromise on great taste.” 

The company also announced plans to reduce sodium in V8 100% vegetable juice early in the 2007 fiscal year from the current 590 mg of sodium per 8-oz serving to 480, the level at which foods can qualify to be labeled “healthy.” Campbell leveraged its ongoing research into flavor blending options to reformulate the products. Low Sodium V8 will continue to be offered at 140 mg of sodium per 8-oz serving.

Chocolate Lovers Get the Point
Whitman’s Candies
, Kansas City, Mo., has teamed up with Weight Watchers International, New York City, to introduce a line of Weight Watchers chocolate candies. The line was developed to accommodate consumers on Weight Watchers’ Flex Plan, a point-based weight loss system, and those consumers looking for healthier snack food choices. 

Under Weight Watchers’ Flex Plan, foods are assigned point values based on calorie, fat, and fiber content. Nutritious foods—lower in fat and higher in fiber—have lower point values. Each piece of chocolate candy carries a point value of 1. Flavors in the line include English toffee squares, mint patties, pecan crowns, crispy caramel, and chocolate mousse. Eight peg bag and six two-piece varieties are available nationally at supermarkets, drug stores, and mass merchants.