Figuring out vegetable servings isn’t always as easy as grabbing a measuring cup. See how the experts at Campbell determine servings from veggie pastes, juice concentrates, and more.
We love vegetables, but we know they can be difficult to fit into your day to day life. Whether it’s cost, convenience, or taste, getting your veggies in can be tough. We’re proud to make it easier for people to fit more of them into their diet through delicious and convenient products. Our team of nutritionists work closely with our brands and chefs to make veggie-forward foods and accurately communicate about them. We hear from one of our nutritionists, Alexandria Hast, PhD, RDN, to learn what it takes to calculate and track the vegetables in our products.
Nutrition labeling and reporting requires a lot of technical expertise. Campbell has an official Vegetable Review Board made up of an interdisciplinary team of professionals including nutrition, product development, and ingredient experts. They review every vegetable and fruit ingredient used in Campbell products and calculate the servings they provide. The team gathers information from ingredient suppliers, the USDA Food and Nutrient Database, USDA Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs, and use their expertise in vegetables and fruit to determine the actual contribution in the given form.
Some vegetable calculations are straightforward, but others are more complicated. Pastes, powders, and juice concentrate ingredients require careful calculations because they have water removed. Dr. Hast explains, “Fresh tomatoes are 94% water, so it makes sense that when you remove water from the tomatoes to make a more concentrated tomato paste, you will get more vegetable from 2 tablespoons of paste compared to 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped tomatoes. This is how products with tomato paste, like Prego Traditional sauce, can have 2 servings of vegetables in just ½ cup of sauce. We only need to calculate vegetable contributions at the ingredient level once, then we can use that value to figure out the ingredient’s contribution in any soup, sauce or beverage recipe.”
The wheels of product development are always in motion and when a brand wants to reach a target for vegetable contributions, nutrition experts, like Dr. Hast suggest guardrails to help guide them. For example, our Well Yes! sipping soups, deliver a full serving of vegetables. We worked very closely with the product developers and chefs to ensure we met the target for every recipe. The end product is a line of great tasting, affordable, convenient sipping soups that all deliver a full serving of veggies.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 2020 State of the Plate research, nearly 90% of adults fail to meet the recommended intakes for vegetables.1 Any time we can increase vegetables in our products, even if only by a little bit, it can have a big impact on the food supply. In FY20, Campbell put over 10.5 billion servings of vegetables into the marketplace. The expertise we have at Campbell makes it possible for us to measure and report on this work accurately. Dr. Hast shares, “Eating enough vegetables is hard for most Americans. There are millions of people eating our products, so we can have a big impact on vegetable consumption and make that task just a little bit easier.”
A little bit of veggies goes a long way!
Kate received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.
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