Soup maker serious about using more plant-based ingredients

CALGARY — One of the world’s largest soup companies is embracing pulses in a big way.

“We’re definitely excited about the promise pulses have,” said John Lillard, senior technologist with Campbell Co. of Canada.

“I’m a big proponent of it, and I’m going to continue promoting it at Campbell’s.”

Lillard decided to shift to more of a plant-based diet a year ago after learning more about pulses.

“I shed 20 pounds. I feel better every day. I have more energy. That’s really the reason I’m passionate about it and really wanted to promote it at Campbell’s,” he told delegates attending the Pulse & Special Crops Convention.

Campbell’s has a long history of using pulses. Its Habitant French-Canadian Pea soup, which it has produced for 100 years, contains 15 percent yellow peas.

However, the company has lately been using a lot more pulse ingredients in products such as Nourish, a complete meal that uses pea beans designed in conjunction with food banks.

Last year, the company launched its Homestyle Rustic Lentil soup, which contains 25 percent red lentils, the highest pulse inclusion rate of any of the company’s soups.

“It’s not too spicy, not too extravagant. Kids would enjoy it,” said Lillard.

He helped develop the company’s Moroccan Spiced 8 Vegetables & Chickpea soup, which contains five percent chickpeas and lentils.

The company is also coming out with a new Healthy Request line of soup in August that contain six to 10 percent pulses. The soups come in 33 flavours and contain no preservatives and artificial colours and flavours.

“This is the first line where every single soup in the product line has a unique pulse in it,” said Lillard.

Campbell’s has been contracting pulses for two years to get enough product for the Healthy Request line.

Lillard said close to 100 percent of the pulses used in Campbell’s soups are bought from Canada, but it does require back-up suppliers in case there are problems with the Canadian supply.

The company is also using pulses in its expanding line of snacks and beverages.

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