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Simplifying Soup: Campbell's Tinkers With Chicken Noodle Recipe


If you don't like reading food labels with ingredients that you can't pronounce, you are not the only one. Big food companies have noticed, and many are simplifying their products. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports that Campbell's Soup is the latest.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: So I'm holding a can of Campbell's soup in my hand, looking at the label. There are about 25 ingredients here, things like disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate - not exactly the kind of stuff I'd put in homemade soup. Now after several years of sagging soup sales, Campbell's seems to be playing catch-up with Americans' desire for simplicity. Here's the company's Jeff George.

JEFF GEORGE: The change we're seeing from moms and dads and kids is they want foods with simpler, easy, understandable ingredients, cleaner ingredients. So we're changing our formulas.

AUBREY: Campbell's is starting by taking about 10 ingredients out of chicken soup they market to kids. And more changes are coming across the industry, says Scott Allmendinger of The Culinary Institute of America. He consults with big food companies.

SCOTT ALLMENDINGER: Big food is definitely feeling the pressure.

AUBREY: He says the big players know that the food landscape is changing quickly.

ALLMENDINGER: They don't try to fight the trend. They try to respond to the trend.

AUBREY: That's why, Allmendinger says, the ingredient lists on lots of the foods we buy will likely keep getting shorter. Allison Aubrey, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.