From The Nutritionist

Liz Ricci, Nutrition Intern
Guest Author:
Liz Ricci, Campbell Nutrition Intern

A Fresh Perspective on Packaged Foods – An Intern’s Experience


After finally picking the right outfit, getting lost three times and having to dodge rain drops, I somehow made it on time to my first day as a Campbell Soup Company Global Nutrition Intern. I felt right at home surrounded by nostalgic childhood favorites and people working for a purpose, but what did I expect to learn from the food industry? I never challenged the misconceptions I gathered as an undergraduate nutrition student and thought maybe the food industry is all about the bottom line. Well I was very wrong…

A LOT of Work Goes into What’s on Your Label
When my mom and I go food shopping, she always dreads when we get to the packaged food aisles because I take my time reading product labels. Prior to my internship, I never understood how much work goes into creating labels. Nutrition and Regulatory professionals work closely with marketers, product developers and quality assurance professionals to ensure that everything on the label is substantiated by the product inside. For example, if a label has a gluten-free claim it must pass rigorous testing on multiple occasions before it hits the shelves. Teams scrutinize ingredients, carefully organize production schedules, and test products throughout the entire process. It was eye opening to see the man power it takes to ensure products have accurate labels.

Ingredients Aren’t So Scary Anymore
I used to quickly pass by foods with unfamiliar ingredients, now I take a deeper look and make an informed choice. At Campbell, I learned more about food science and the ingredients listed on the label. Campbell’s websites, www.whatsinmyfood.com and www.campbellnutrition.com provide even more information on products and ingredients. Now I understand that ingredients can have an unfamiliar name, but serve a simple function in keeping our food safe or helping it have the taste and texture we expect.

Processing Plants Reminiscent of my Oma’s Kitchen
One of my most memorable experiences was touring the pilot plant to see the staff make a trial batch of soup. They measured fresh, chopped carrots from bins the size of those that hold pumpkins in supermarkets. As the soup cooked, the aroma in the plant reminded me of my Oma’s kitchen growing up. The only things missing from the processing plant were her linoleum floors and a fridge stocked with liverwurst (thankfully). Food production plants are much larger and have very different equipment but ingredients still are chopped, assembled and cooked, just on a much larger scale. Despite obvious differences, I learned that Campbell puts the same care into safely making delicious foods for customers as my Oma did for our family.

Campbell Gives Back
Campbell donates time, resources and their facilities to improve local communities. While I was an intern, I packed and labeled jars of salsa for the annual Just Peachy salsa production. This project takes local peaches from farmers that would otherwise go to waste due to imperfections in appearance and uses them to make a tasty salsa. Campbell donates other ingredients for the salsa recipe and packing materials as well as the manufacturing plant and man power needed to make and package the finished product. Just Peachy is sold in local supermarkets and the proceeds benefit the Food Bank of South Jersey. I felt inspired by how Campbell uses their resources to combat societal problems in new and exciting ways.

My experiences provided invaluable knowledge about how our food is made and helped me build skills as a student and future nutrition professional. Nutrition professionals have a key role to play in the food industry with the potential to greatly impact public health. Like nutrition professionals in all areas of practice, the Global Nutrition team shares the same goal of providing great tasting, affordable, and nutritious foods to the public. I look forward to my future in nutrition and dietetics and know I will carry this experience with me, no matter what lies ahead.

Stay Curious!

Liz


Liz’s Bio

Liz worked as a Nutrition Intern for the Global Nutrition department over the summer of 2017. She worked on diverse projects, attended conferences, and learned about nutrition and the food industry. Liz recently graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Currently, she is working on her Master’s degree in Community Nutrition at West Chester University and applying to dietetic internships. She hopes to keep spreading the truth about nutrition wherever life takes her!

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.