(NaturalNews) Americans are eating a lot less processed, canned soup these days, which has prompted the Campbell Soup Co., the world's largest soup maker, to close two of its U.S.-based production plants. A recent Associated Press (AP) announcement explains that Campbell's oldest soup plant, located in Sacramento, California, is currently in the process of being shut down, as is a Campbell's spice production facility located in South Plainfield, New Jersey.
The closures will result in 727 employees, a large number of whom have been working for Campbell's for many years, losing their jobs as decreased production capacity is relocated to other Campbell's facilities, including one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Campbell's is focusing on new ways to attract the younger generation back to its soups, including gradually phasing out the use of toxic ingredients like monosodium glutamate (MSG), and repackaging soups in pouches rather than in cans.
"It's always difficult, even when there's a business case that is compelling," said Anthony Sanzio, a Campbell's spokesman, about the closures. "You're dealing with people, and this is going to impact 700 employees who've worked together closely for many years."
According to data compiled by the marketing research firm Euromonitor International, canned soup consumption is down 13 percent compared to what it was 10 years ago, which is partially the result of wider availability of fresh soups in supermarkets and restaurants. Campbell's market share also dropped a whopping 53 percent over the past decade, likely due to shifting consumer preference away from processed, canned foods and towards fresh foods.
Many conscious consumers are leery of buying any food sold in cans these days, as reports about the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which lines the insides of most food cans on the market, indicate that exposure can cause endocrine disruption, behavioral disorders, brain changes, obesity, and even cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/BPA.html). Campbell's, like many other major food companies, also does not indicate whether or not its soups contain genetically-modified (GM) ingredients, which may be another factor that has contributed to Campbell's declining soup sales.
Meanwhile, companies like Amy's, Pacific Natural Foods, and Imagine Foods, all of which produce organic soup products, are seeing steady increases in market share as health-conscious consumers seek out more nutritious soup alternatives for their families. A 2006 report in the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) found that the "natural" and organic soup market witnessed a 40 percent market growth rate that year. (http://newhope360.com/organic-soup-pushes-40-growth-mass-market)