This is a simple question without a simple answer. The definition varies depending on who you ask: chefs, scientists and consumers all have different opinions.
As we set out to answer this question, we drew inspiration from the timeless words of one of our early leaders, Dr. John Dorrance. He pioneered good, affordable food in America with the invention of Campbell’s Condensed Soup as the first product to bring vegetables to the masses off season.
Back to our question. What is real food?
It can be a vegetable, fruit, grain or something more indulgent like chocolate—yes it’s not only about health food! Real food is food we’re proud to serve in our own home—and you’re proud to serve in yours. To us, this is how we define it:
Real food has roots. It should be made with recognizable, desirable ingredients from plants or animals.
Real food is prepared with care. It should be responsibly crafted using ethical sourcing and sustainable practices that safeguard the natural resources we all share.
Real food should be accessible to all. It should always be delicious, safe and available at a fair price—all three without compromise.
These are the principles that guide our Real Food Philosophy. To be true to ourselves and our beliefs, we must strive to abide by all of these, not just those that are convenient. Will it be difficult at times? Of course. Will it require both time and investment? Of course. And we fully recognize that we won’t be able to achieve all of our goals immediately.
We believe that our Real Food Philosophy will help elevate and differentiate Campbell; making our foods and beverages more appealing to more people.
Over the past year, we continued to make progress to remove BPA, artificial colors and flavors in our North American products. We’re also making commitments to move to only certified sustainable palm oil, cage-free eggs and antibiotic free chicken over the next several years. And while it’s not listed on any label, trust may be the most important ingredient in our food. That’s why we’ll set the standard for transparency with the goal of becoming the most trusted food company in the world.
These are important steps to address what our consumers want, but we also know we have to follow through with these promises. To hold ourselves accountable, we’ve developed a scorecard. We’re calling it Campbell’s Real Food Index.
You can find our Real Food Index on www.whatsinmyfood.com.
We know we can do more. Removing ingredients is only one part of our Real Food Philosophy. We’re committed to adding more benefits to our food, to making our products better and more accessible to people—all within the reach of most budgets. Drawing on our strengths in vegetable nutrition, our history of making affordable food, and our scale, Campbell is in a unique spot to make more real food available to more people.
We call this our YES – YES list. It’s quite simple: YES to more vegetables! And YES to more whole grains!
Today, Campbell products provide more than 11 billion servings of vegetables and 4 billion servings of whole grains per year to consumers. And we’ll continue to find ways to add more servings of each across our portfolio.
All of these steps and commitments come back to the very thing that keeps us intensely focused on answering the Real Food question.
Real food is at the heart of our Purpose: “Real Food That Matters for Life’s Moments.” It might seem like a pithy corporate mantra, but these seven words have been transformative. It has had a profound impact on how we think, talk and act about our food. It’s our filter for decision making—from the ingredients and suppliers we choose to our positions on the important issues facing our industry.
An opportunity to reinvent our company and our industry and in the process—become the most trusted food company in the world. It won’t be easy, but we know it’s the right thing to do for consumers, our company, our shareholders and our planet.
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