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Tomato Harvest

Sustaining Water Throughout the Tomato Journey

Water quality and availability are key parts of our business. They enable us to deliver the products that we are proud to make. We work hard to manage the quality and quantity of water that we use, from farms to our food production facilities.

Tomatoes are one of our most prominent ingredients. We use them in our soups, sauces, beverages — and our Goldfish crackers! Let’s take a look at the important role water plays in the journey our tomatoes make: from field to soup.

Achieving water reductions in the field
Most of our tomato farmers in California have worked with us for decades. That relationship has enabled us to work closely with our farmers on sustainability goals, like water reduction. In 2012, we set a commitment to reduce water usage per pound of tomato by 20%. In fiscal year 2019, we achieved that goal and even exceeded it by 5%.

Reducing water usage in our tomato facilities
Tomatoes are transported directly from the field to our local tomato processing facilities – on average only 40 miles from the field where they were grown and harvested. At our processing plants, we use water to wash the tomatoes. We also use water in flumes, which are metal channels with water running through them that move the tomatoes around the plant. At the plants, the tomatoes are made into tomato paste and diced tomatoes for our Campbell’s soup, Prego pasta sauce, Pace salsa, Goldfish crackers and V8 beverages. At one of our processing plants in Stockton, California, we’ve reduced water usage by 58% since 2010. To achieve this reduction, we:

  • Recycle the clean water that is evaporated out of the tomatoes when we make tomato paste. That recycled water is used to offset freshwater used in cleaning different plant equipment.
  • Use recirculated water to move tomatoes throughout the plant instead of fresh water.
  • Raise awareness and use daily feedback to and from employees on how to limit wasteful uses of water.

Freshly harvested and freshly washed tomatoes entering our facility
Freshly harvested and freshly washed tomatoes entering our tomato ingredient facility.

Improving water quality in our food production facilities
The diced tomatoes and tomato paste are shipped via rail from California to the places where we prepare our food, including our location in Napoleon, Ohio. At Napoleon, we pull water from the Maumee River to make our food. We treat this water in our onsite water treatment facility and return the water to the river at a higher quality than when we pulled it out. In addition to a focus on water quality at this plant, we reduced water use by 13% in fiscal year 2019, compared with fiscal year 2017.

Napoleon, Ohio Plant
The Maumee River outside of our Napoleon, Ohio plant.

We will continue to work to be good stewards of the water that we use and understand impacts along our value chain. That way, we can manage our risks and continue to deliver products for generations to come. Learn more about our sustainable practices in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

By Melissa Donnelly, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability