Campbell Soup Company, which has become synonymous with sodium reduction and even showcased its healthier ways in a commercial, announced a new sales strategy this week: add more salt back into its soups.
Incoming CEO Denise Morrison told an investor's meeting at company headquarters in New Jersey this week that Campbell's will boost the sodium content of its products in hopes of combatting sluggish sales.
"Sodium reduction is important but we have to do other things, like taste and more culinary credentials," Ms. Morrison, who helped spearhead the company's original sodium reduction efforts, told Reuters.
The company will raise sodium levels of all of its Select Harvest soups to 650 milligrams from 480 milligrams a serving.
The Canadian Stroke Network says Canadians should not consume products that have more than 400 milligrams of sodium in a single serving.
The move comes as health regulators in many countries, including Canada, work on adopting population-wide strategies to reduce sodium consumption. The average Canadian adult consumes more than double the recommended daily amount of sodium (1,500 milligrams), which experts say increases the risk of high blood pressure and a host of other serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease.
The U.S.-based consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest sharply criticized the company for backing away from efforts to reduce unhealthy amounts of sodium in its products. (It wasn't that long ago that Campbell's promoted the new soups in a television commercial featuring an employee half-buried in all the salt that was no longer being added to its products)
"Why not improve tomato soup with more and better-quality tomatoes, or chicken noodle soup with more chicken?" CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said in a statement. "I suppose that's a question that answers itself, and the answer is money. Campbell's enjoys a huge profit margin selling what are often basically overpriced disease-promoting cans of salt and water."
Campbell Company of Canada did not respond to a request for comment.
Editor's note: The first reference of the company has been changed to Campbell Soup Company, its official trade name.