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Campbell to launch soups in aseptic cartons

Campbell Soup Company is 136 years old, but it continues to innovate, as evidenced by its launch of a line of restaurant-style, ready-to-serve soups in aseptic cartons that will be available nationwide by October.
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FILED IN:  Package Feature  > Shelf life  > Aseptic
     

That’s big news for the Camden NJ firm renowned for its cans and red-and-white wraparound paper labels. More recently the company added easy-open ends for its cans. It also rolled out soups in glass containers.

Campbell introduced the Select Gold Label aseptic soups at the 2005 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show held in May in Chicago. The company wouldn’t disclose packaging specification or supplier details but sample cartons showed they were from SIG Combibloc. Shelf life is nine to 12 months.

About two years ago Campbell launched Gardennay aseptically packaged soups in Canada. An online Canada News Wire Group story about prepared foods described the line as “the first shelf-stable ready-to-serve Combibloc® soup to hit grocery store shelves in North America.”

“We’ve had experience with aseptic soups in France Australia and Canada” explains John Faulkner Campbell Soup’s director of brand communications. “We’ve been able to demonstrate to the Food and Drug Administration that we can bring aseptic soup into the United States that meets its guidelines. The product is cooked ahead of time then hot-filled into a sterile carton.” Although temperatures are considered proprietary Faulkner says filling would be conducted on a new line in Toronto Canada.

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The rectangular carton includes an ink-jet-printed best-before date code that’s easily readable along its top. There’s no reclosure feature. “You could reclose it by folding it down but it’s designed to be served for a particular meal” Faulkner suggests. A “lift cut or tear” instruction guides consumers on how to open the pack. Printed copy on a side panel tells consumers to “promptly refrigerate any unused portion in a separate container and use within 5 days.”

Five varieties will be marketed in the cartons in 500-g (18.3-oz) quantities with a $2.99 suggested retail price. Reclosable 1-L versions will be available in multipacks at club stores but pricing information was not available.

Faulkner says “We haven’t test-marketed the [new] product but we have a track record with similar types of products in other countries. We’ve seen the trends in other markets and we think there’s a market for [the aseptically packaged soup] here.”

—Jim Butschli

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