Campbell SoupIn the morning, everybody traveled differently to Campbell Soup, also called Campbell’s, where we were welcomed by the Dutchman Jan Ouwehand. The meeting was kicked off with a nice breakfast of fruit, salad and sandwiches. During breakfast Jan told how he started at the University of Delft, then worked at Unilever R&D in Vlaardingen (NL), moved to Scotland, China and the United Kingdom to work for this same company. When the soup department of Unilever was taken over by Campbell’s, he moved to Toronto. So he worked really all over the world. After everybody finished his breakfast and was saturated, we got an introduction about the company Campbell Soup. Their mission is to build world’s most extraordinary food company by nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day. Next to soup they also make other products, like fruit juices and muesli, but soup is their main focus. In Canada they own 65% of the soup market. The last years they are paying more attention on health and wellness, especially on lowering the sodium content of their products, since this topic is very popular in North America. But lowering the sodium concentration results in an increased growth of microorganisms and it negatively influences the taste of the products. A few solutions to this are, using sea salt or potassium chloride instead off sodium chloride, and addition of bitter blockers or sodium enhancers. Campbell’s is awarded by several health institutes for their work on lowering the sodium content in their products.
Since Campbell’s exports a lot of their products to the USA, safety and keeping track of the origin of their ingredients is very important. Furthermore, the declaration of the ingredients and possible allergens has to be very accurate. Compared to Europe, this has to be more detailed in North America. In contrast to the USA, they are also strict when it comes to health claims of a product, in Canada. Of course the opinion of the consumer is also important for Campbell’s. They try to measure these by interviews spread by the internet. In addition, the opinion of their own employees about Campbell’s products is determined and taken into account by designing new products and creating new goals. After this overview of the main concerns of Campbell’s, we got a plant tour around the soup plant. First we saw how the ingredients, like the vegetables are washed and sliced. Then how the ingredients are mixed and put into the cans. They try to put the same about of every ingredient in every can. Subsequently the filled cans were pasteurized, wrapped and shipped. After the plant tour, a nice lunch with of course soup and delicious chocolate cake, was waiting for us. There were also some Campbell Soup gadgets. During the lunch, Tjakko and Ineke gave a presentation.