Mmm Mmm Mmm Bad…Campbell’s Soup is Mmm Mmm Bad

Excess use of sodium:

Campbell’s is like the Microsoft of the soup world. The company dominates the soup business, but it’s products…well…taste like crap.

Their soups are at best bland and mushy. Some contain so much salt that they’re the human equivalent of a salt lick. For example, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup provides a whopping 890 mg of sodium per serving, and 2,225 grams of sodium for a standard 10.75-ounce can.

Spiking products with monosodium glutamate (MSG):

Campbell’s now owns Swanson, the maker of various chicken broths and stocks. Until recently, Swanson spiked its tasteless products with monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer. But MSG is well documented as a cause of Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.
I’m not joking. Every Chinese restaurant used to boost the flavor of its meals by adding MSG. But a fair number of customers complained of neck and muscle aches afterwards, the result of MSG. So now, a lot of Chinese restaurants don’t use MSG anymore.

But I digress.

All ingredients not listed:

Swanson recently introduced organic chicken, beef, and vegetable broths. Sounds like a great idea, right?

Well, on the company’s web site, the Swanson folks fess up to the fact that their broths contain 550 mg of sodium for each one-cup serving. A typical bowl of soup would contain about two cups, so that would add up to 1,100 mg of sodium. And maybe one blood-pressure cuff.

But no where on the Swanson website is a full listing of the products’ other ingredients. Ditto for the Campbell website. This is more than just peculiar, because even such junk-food hustlers as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks list all of the ingredients in all of their products on their websites. (For example, a venti-size Starbucks banana coconut frappuccino with whipped cream provides 730 calories, including a quarter-pound of sugars.)

So that left me wondering what Swanson and Campbell might be hiding.

So I clicked to contact customer service and wrote a brief email asking for a complete list of ingredients for the Swanson Organic Chicken Broth. Sounds simple enough, right?

A few days later, [email protected] responded:

“All of our products have nutritional labels that include the calorie, sodium, fat, cholesterol and carbohydrate content for a single serving. However, it is important to note that product recipes change frequently and ingredients are periodically added or replaced. Therefore, we suggest that you check each package for the most current nutritional information…

“I hope I’ve been able to answer your question. Please contact the Consumer Response Center or visit Campbell’s website if you have additional questions.”

So I wrote back and said that they had NOT answered my question. And I also wondered, adding a list of full ingredients to the website can’t be all that difficult, could it? After all, it’s got to be easier to update a web page compared with…say, reformulating the ingredients in an industrial-size soup manufacturing facility.

Finally I went to both my local supermarket and Whole Foods, but did not find Swanson’s organic broths on the shelf. So their ingredients remain a mystery to me.

And after all this, I’m left wondering: Why couldn’t Campbell’s just be more up front about their ingredients and list them on the company’s website. Unless they really want to hide what’s in them.


  • Cherahad22

    You got treated better than I did at Land O'lakes.
    I have an issue with their “FAT FREE HALF AND HALF”
    You can't have fat free half and half because federal guideline state that milk and cream have certain amounts of milkfat, 30% for cream and at 10% for milk.
    Half and half is half milk and half cream.
    So if you use real milk and real cream, you can't possibly have it ever be “FAT FREE”, SEE?
    They sent me the nice email and assured me that the thickners made it just like real half and half but wouldn't tell me what those ingredients were. Then they got nasty when I told them it's false advertising to say it's half and half when it's not.
    I got a call from some executive who got snippy and told me her company can do what they want to do and to not bother them again.
    Wonderful PR!
    I naturally stopped buy anything Land O'lakes after that.

  • Blaackbirds

    I've been off Altoid products ever since I had braces. This was because they have a very nice, refreshing, sugarless, cinnamon gum with one major problem for the braces wearer… heavy red dye. It didn't stick to my braces but it sure colored them. I e-mailed to praise the product but to provide customer feedback for the product, adding that the choice to have a bright red exterior made the difference between my choosing it as my new regular gum choice and not buying it again, ever. I didn't exactly expect them to change everything on account of me, but I did think they would have better sense that to say, however politely, that they didn't take customer suggestions for their products. Not a simple thanks for the feedback, no. They said they didn't accept outside product suggestions. And I don't buy their gum.

    As for Campbell's, I was just surfing around to see who else thinks their products are vile. My son insists upon their revolting double noodle, and a nice lady who was trying to help out recently has placed me in the awkward position of having to thank her in a neutral fashion for bringing us a dish called Poppy Seed Chicken which was virtually inedible due to containing cream of chicken soup. The casserole had real chicken in it, too… a lamentable waste. For a little while, Wolfgang Puck had a line of very tasty canned soups out, which I thoroughly enjoyed… at first. I then suspected the law of diminishing returns had reared its ugly head when the soups stopped tasting good… until I was quite sure that the ingredient quality had sunk. Finally the soup just vanished from the shelves. I don't know what caused it, but I can only assume it was that society expects less from canned soup and dang it, they're going to get it. Progresso, with its many ingredients, tastes like dirt. Really. So I make my own soup.

  • Sherry L Kephart

    I used to work at a poultry processing plant. The “trash” from the chickens is what campbells buys for their canned soups. Scraps that arent good enough for selling whole. The plant was”cleab” from using chemical sprays. I actually cut diseased parts off and the rest of the chicken would still be sold.

  • Climbhigh81

    I just opened a can of cambell’s chicken and stars andI it exploded upon opening. Hurt my hand nut did not break skin. It is still bubbling and should have been in a vaccuum upon opening. It is obviously bad. This is the first time this has happened and dont think i will be eating cambells again. Is there anything i can do to keep this from happening to others?

  • Ferventfresser

    I don’t eat much of this kind of stuff but last night I was feeling a bit off. So I went to the store a bought some Cream of Mushroom soup from Campbells. Besides an extraordinary amount of money Cream was listed just above the chemicals. It seems to me it used to rank 2 or 3 in the list. Enjoy your expensive bowl of modified mushroom starch! I have noticed the Tomato soup doesn’t cook the same anymore either. Again more starch.

  • marina valensuala

    i dont eat that stuff it isnt healthy im a vegitarian anyway