CAMDEN, N.J. — The Campbell Soup Co. plans to transition to cans with no Bisphenol A (B.P.A.) lining by mid-2017.
The company began the initiative in March as it shipped 2 million cans with lining made from acrylic or polyester materials. Campbell’s Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle was the first variety to be produced in the new cans. In April, Campbell Soup plans to make an additional 10 million cans and continue rolling out the new lining across its U.S. and Canadian portfolio.
|Mark Alexander, president of Americas Simple Meals & Beverages for Campbell Soup
“Our decision to speak publically about our current timeline is driven by our belief that providing transparency into our business is critically important to the people who purchase our food and beverages,” said Mark Alexander, president of Americas Simple Meals & Beverages for Campbell Soup. “We must earn consumer trust every day by being open about what’s in our food, and that includes the packaging we use. We have disclosed which of our products use B.P.A. and our high-level plans to transition away from it on whatsinmyfood.com, but recognize we could go further. Our commitment to transparency is about being willing to have tough conversations; to being open to discussing the challenging issues facing our industry and our company; and talking about how we are addressing issues that consumers care about — even when we don’t have all the answers.”
Campbell Soup first announced its decision to move away from B.P.A. linings in February 2012 in response to consumer feedback. In the last four years, the company said it has tested hundreds of alternatives, wading through a number of technical challenges to find the right alternative linings. The process involved identifying lining that would ensure the safety of more than 600 different recipes, including the company’s tomato-based products, which have a natural acidity that may react with certain linings over time. The enormity of the task has prolonged the process, Mr. Alexander said.
“We ship nearly two billion cans each year, comprising more than 600 different recipes,” he said. “Making a change of this magnitude requires input from hundreds of employees across the company. It’s not something that can be done quickly, nor would we want to. The safety of our food and our packaging is paramount. It’s the foundation on which we’ve built nearly 150 years of consumer trust. Any changes we make to our food must be implemented thoughtfully and carefully.”
The products to be packaged in non-B.P.A. lined cans include all Campbell’s soups and gravies, Swanson broth and SpaghettiOs pasta. The company said it is on track to have 75% of its soup portfolio in the non-B.P.A. lined cans by December of this year. Campbell Soup also is testing alternatives to B.P.A. coating used on other packaging, including aluminum cans used for V8 beverages and metal screw top lids on glass jars. These products, according to the company, should be fully transitioned to a non-B.P.A. solution by the middle of 2017.
“Our priority throughout this transition has been, and will continue to be, food safety,” said Mike Mulshine, senior program manager of packaging for Campbell Soup. “We have tested and conducted trials with hundreds of alternatives to B.P.A. lining and believe the acrylic and polyester options will ensure our food remains safe, affordable and tastes great.”
On the heels of Campbell Soup’s announcement, Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Del Monte Foods said it will transition to non-B.P.A. packaging. Starting with the company’s fresh pack production in 2016, which runs May through October, all Del Monte fruit and tomato products and nearly all of the Del Monte brand’s vegetable products will be converted.
Bisphenol A. has been used in metal food packaging for more than 40 years and is one of the safest packaging options in the world, according to studies and regulations put in place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, as the clean label movement gains steam, more consumers are calling for B.P.A.-free packaging.
In July 2015, ConAgra Foods announced its efforts to move away from the use of B.P.A. in all its plants in the United States and Canada. The full transition is expected to be complete this year.“Our ongoing commitment to consumers means that we constantly work to improve our packaging to assure quality and the overall experience,” said Gail Tavill, vice-president of packaging and sustainable productivity for ConAgra Foods. “We recognize consumer interest in removing B.P.A. from our cans and are pleased to be able to respond to that desire and offer food that our consumers can feel confident in.”