Evolution of the Soup Industry
Soup is considered to be as old as the history of cooking. Throughout its lifetime, soup has evolved into many different stages but always suggested that it is made for healing. So get ready. I am going to take you on a journey of the evolution of the soup, its future growth, and how aha Pure Food’s soups are unique compared to other soups.
History of Soup
The word restaurant (meaning [something] restoring) was first used in 16th century France to refer to a “highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was described as an antidote to physical exhaustion.” In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in just soups which began the modern use of the word restaurant for eating establishments. Fast forward to the 19th century, the term “pocket soup” came to be because it was carried by colonial travelers and only needed a small amount of hot water to make. Later, canned and dehydrated soups were made available and were attributed to the growth of commercial soup. In 1897 John T. Dorrance, a chemist for Campbell Soup Company, invented condensed soups, which means that the soup is prepared by adding water or milk. At the time, these condensed soups supplied the military, covered wagon trains, cowboy chuck wagons, and the home pantry.
In the 20th century, with the advancement of science, preservatives were starting to be added into soup ingredients to extend shelf-life and double as flavor enhancers. For example, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a white powdery substance “that has a similar visual appearance to salt and is commonly found in pre-made stocks, condiments, powdered and canned soups” (Maté). Although MSG is recognized as safe, it often includes side effects of headache, nausea, and chest pain. Furthermore, adding sodium to canned soups as a preservative started to become very common, “some manufacturers add as much as 1,200 milligrams per can” (Maté). These preservatives along with others such as lactic acid and sodium phosphate are common in almost every soup in the market today, except ours.
I had the pleasure of speaking with our CEO, Chris Valdes, who helped shed some light on this topic. Chris has accumulated over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and provided valuable insight into the preservation of soups and other food products. Chris says the process companies use to make their soups depends on how preservatives are added and if they are necessary. High-end products allow for extended shelf life in comparison to lower-quality, more perishable ingredients. Therefore, there is no need to add any preservatives to products containing high-quality ingredients. For example, if someone were to use two different types of peppers in a soup, one being of lower quality compared to the other, the lower quality pepper will dissipate faster. At aha, we use only the finest ingredients in our soups so we are eliminating the need to add any preservatives. Additionally, we use small-batch production to maintain the integrity of our product and ensure each soup is made the best possible way. Whereas most companies in the soup industry use large-batch production where certain liberties, such as overlooked batches, are taken and the integrity of the product is compromised at a point.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global soup market size was valued at $16.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.0% from 2019 to 2025. The latest trend gaining momentum in the market is the demand for soups with natural and fresh ingredients. Further, the report states that one of the major factors hindering the growth of this market is the decreasing demand for canned soup in the US. This is attributed to rising consumer awareness about health and food safety. Consumers are becoming more conscious about the products they consume and their health impacts and are avoiding packaged food items due to the presence of added preservatives in them. At aha Pure Foods, our soups contain the freshest ingredients, offer no preservatives, and are packaged in sous vide and glass jars.
What Makes Us Unique
Many people love soup because of its healing properties and it is quick and easy to prepare, however often people view soups as unhealthy because of the added preservatives, sodium, and sugar. That being said, our soups are like none other on the market because it doesn’t include any of those unhealthy substances. All of our soups contain no preservatives, no added sodium, no added sugars, and are dairy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. With our mineral infusion patent, we are producing soups that contain unrivaled levels of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, we source the purest ingredients for our soups from local farmers, quality Co-ops, like PRO*ACT, and specialty environments - including seaweed from Maine and turmeric from India.
We recommend to never boil our soups to retain the texture of its veggies and other complementary ingredients. Not only does this make for a delicious crunch and color, but the vegetable's carotenoids are kept as close to their original state as possible. These carotenoids are responsible for the good enzymes in the body so our soups make sure to reap all the possible health benefits. In our kitchen, Chef Alfie utilizes hot fill pasteurization to kill bacteria and other enzymes that cause spoilage and increase the risk of disease. We take great care in ensuring the pasteurization process is done safely and within FDA guidelines while filling our soups. First, we hold the soups at temperature for around 15 minutes in the large gallon pots. After, we pour them into our 16 oz jars. We cap these jars and turn them over. This FDA-regulated process is called a ‘hot fill’ and the soups sit upside down for 5-7 minutes. Before closing our jars, we place all our caps in a large bucket of warm water to loosen the inside coating for an airtight seal. Once we turn the jars back upright the cap will eventually snap down and that is why when you open our jar of soup you hear a little *pop* sound.
Our recipes were built around the practices of naturopathic medicine, which is an alternative approach to healing based on the theory that disease can be prevented by using the power of nature to promote self-healing, according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Furthermore, our soups include ingredients that contain these powerful minerals like turmeric that helps to reduce inflammation, burdock root that cleanses the blood and lymphatic system, and yacon root that increases the concentration of minerals, like calcium, in bones. All of our soups are 100% vegan. Vegan diets can provide all of the nutrients that a person needs, and they can eliminate some of the possible risks that research has associated with harmful animal fats. Research has linked the vegan diet with a range of health benefits such as better heart health, weight loss, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Overall soup has evolved throughout centuries and has maintained the notion that it contains healing properties. However, as time went on, companies began to add preservatives and large amounts of sodium to their soups making consumers view it as unhealthy. Now, consumers are searching for healthier and clean products. At aha Pure Foods, our soups are different from others in the market because of our clean products, small-batch production, hot-fill process, and powerful ingredients.
With pure intentions,
Kierstan from aha