From The Nutritionist


      Emma Lederer, Campbell Nutrition Intern

Food Science and Product Development: How New Foods Get to Your Supermarket Shelves




From soups to sauces and even veggies, packaged foods are part of most of my eating occasions. If I couldn’t depend on Italian pasta sauce, canned olives, or even (dare I say it) the occasional bag of crispy, crunchy potato chips, I’d be in serious trouble. Throughout my summer here at Campbell, I spent a lot of time learning about our foods, which made me wonder how the company decides which products to develop and what goes into making them. To understand more about the process behind creating the products on our shelves, I sat down with Emily Steinberg, Ph.D., a product developer and food scientist at Campbell Soup Company.

Consumer Insights Drive Product Innovation

Product development starts with a consumer insight. Sometimes this is a pain point for the consumer, like trying to get their kids to eat more vegetables at dinner. Other times, the insight is a consumer’s desire for a specific experience, like enjoying a perfectly crunchy, buttery cookie with a lot of texture and flavor. “Every project needs to be driven by consumer research,” Dr. Steinberg explains. “It should never be just one person in the room deciding which products to launch.” The marketing team profiles the target consumer based on these insights and identifies product innovation ideas that may help them. Once the group identifies a consumer insight and a broad product concept, they pull together a larger team.

(Cross-Functional) Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

A cross-functional team made up of experts from culinary, nutrition, regulatory, marketing, product development, packaging, engineering, process safety and others create and test product ideas. Chefs and product developers kick off the process with recipe testing. Meanwhile, marketing, nutrition, product development and regulatory work to develop guardrails for the products. These guardrails set parameters related to ingredients, nutritional targets, and potential claims that could appear on packaging. Every decision ties back to the consumers’ values and the challenges they face at meal and snack times.

The team also comes together for formula review, which includes addressing any potential manufacturing challenges. For example, if we want to use a unique ingredient, we test it in our pilot plant to make sure it can work with our current equipment. Engineers and individuals from the packaging department are instrumental throughout formula review, as they have extensive knowledge about the manufacturing process. “Working with a variety of individuals with different perspectives and expertise helps us problem solve and ultimately create great products,” Dr. Steinberg says. “For example, we relied heavily on our internal experts during the development of Campbell's® Condensed Vegetable Cooking Soups to get the right amount of vegetable servings while creating a product that families can use to make delicious and balanced recipes.”

Testing, 1, 2, 3…

The development process requires a lot of testing and modification to get the recipes just right. Once the team feels they have a strong product concept, they do a test run in the pilot plant and work with consumers to further refine the recipe. “We rely on co-design groups made up of our target consumers to give us feedback on our product concepts,” explains Dr. Steinberg. “Without this feedback, we’re only relying on theoretical data and we need real, qualitative feedback from consumers to make sure we’re getting it right.” The team continues to modify and test the recipe based on feedback from the co-design groups until they land on the final product.

Campbell tests the final product to ensure it meets quality and safety specifications and that they can produce it on a larger scale. Once it passes these tests, they manufacture in smaller quantities so that product developers can monitor various aspects of the product, like the color of the product, sodium levels, and more. Next, large-scale manufacturing begins. “We track specifications to ensure we produce a consistent product and can make any last-minute changes if necessary,” Dr. Steinberg says. Finally, our products ship to retailers where our consumers find them on shelves. “It is a great feeling of accomplishment to see a product that we developed from a consumer insight make it to the stores for everyone to enjoy!”

As Dr. Steinberg explained, the process of product development requires a team of experts working together to solve a consumer need. The process may seem pretty straightforward, but it requires considerable testing and modification to ensure that Campbell produces the best foods possible. Next time you grab a new can of soup or snack bag, think of the months of work, dedication and expertise that went into making it!


Cheers,

Emma


Emma’s Bio

This summer, Emma worked as a Nutrition Intern for the Global Nutrition department at Campbell. Her internship experience exposed her to diverse experiences and projects, such as those focused on nutrition communication and data analytics. She will carry over her experience at Campbell’s into her senior year at Penn State as she completes a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences. In the future, Emma hopes to work in the industry or in a community setting to increase knowledge about and access to healthy foods.


Emily’s Bio

Dr. Emily Steinberg is a food scientist at Campbell. She was hired as a product developer within their Breakthrough Innovation Group, working on everything but soup then moved into soup product development. Emily loves every aspect of the development process, especially working with our consumers to develop delicious products that can make their lives easier and healthier. When she is not at work she loves to spend time outdoors with her husband Tyler and 3-year-old daughter Rory.

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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.