We Tried It: Campbell's Select Harvest Light Soups


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

If you've watched TV in the past few weeks, you've likely seen the commercials for Campbell's Select Harvest soups. A pretty red-haired woman wears a blindfold and tastes two soups.

When she tastes the competitor's soups, she says she tastes sodium-something-something-ate and MSG. Campbell's tastes like 100% natural white meat chicken and spinach grown on a south-facing slope. (In another commercial, she tastes carrots from a particular farm and natural, lower-sodium sea salt from northern waters.)

This week we tried some of the Campbell's Select Harvest Light soups. (There's also a Select Harvest line and a Select Harvest Healthy Request line that's 98% fat free with lower sodium natural sea salt. Confusing, eh?)

What Campbell's says:
"Introducing new Campbell's Select Harvest soups, made with delicious ingredients like farm-grown vegetables, wholesome grains and 100% natural white meat chicken — with no artificial flavors or MSG. Savor the goodness."

What we say:
These soups taste good! The nutritional facts are stellar: In the Italian-Style Vegetable, there are just 50 calories a serving, no fat, 13 g carbs, 4 g fiber and 3 g of protein. But there are 480 mg sodium, or 20% of your daily recommended intake. (I ate the entire can for a whopping 100 calories.)

This soup was really filling, which surprised me. It's mostly a tomato-based broth, with plenty of vegetables. I saw chickpeas, kidney beans, mini pasta, green beans, spinach, celery, carrots, onion and tomatoes. While the veggies had the consistency you'd expect in canned soup (soft to the bite), they weren't mushy or slimy. They retained their bright colors—no muddy, undistinguishable vegetables here. It was a little salty but better than other tinned soups I've tried.

The Savory Chicken with Vegetables has comparable stats per 1-cup serving:
80 calories
1 g fat
480 mg sodium
15 g carbs
4 g fiber
5 g protein

We got them on sale for $1.69, "a savings of 90 cents," according to our grocery store.

We like that Campbell's has added a section called "In Case You Didn't Know" to the labels, which explains the ingredients that seem to contradict the claims of "no artificial flavors." Potassium Chloride, Cellulose Gel, Xanthum Gum, Cellulose Gum, Maltodextrin and Citric Acid are all defined, with their role in the soup explained.

Tips: Stick with the Light and Healthy Request versions, of which there are plenty to choose: Light Italian-Style Vegetable, Light Southwestern-Style Vegetable, Light Vegetable and Pasta, Light Vegetable Beef and Barley, Light Maryland-Style Crab, Light Savory Chicken with Vegetables, and Healthy Request Italian-Style Wedding, Mexican-Style Chicken Tortilla, Chicken with Egg Noodles, and Savory Chicken and Long Grain Rice.

Have you tried these soups? Is there a flavor you like? If you're not a fan of the Select Harvest Soups, which soups do you like?

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  • 184
    I just tried the "Maryland-Style Crab" Light soup and it smelled SO good, but the taste was really not up to par. I mean I got it for $1.50 so I couldn't expect much, but the flavor was just really not bold enough. I guess that's why it was "Light". I LOVE the Select Harvest line's Zesty Tomato Bisque, on the other hand, I could eat can after can of it! YUM! - 8/9/2011   10:47:22 AM
    I just had an 18.6 oz can of Select Harvest slow roasted beef and vegetables. It contained less then 2 oz of potatoe, 2oz of carrots, a pinch of celery, half a green bean, about 1 (one) oz of "slow roasted beef", that leaves about 13oz of watery broth which my pet terrier enjoyed about half of. What a joke! - 8/3/2011   10:31:57 PM
  • 182
    I like the soups that I make. Lots cheaper, lower sodium. I do not add salt, my hubby does not like it. I add my own (sea) salt and batch cook so there is always soup in the freezer.
    Dianne - 3/26/2011   1:40:22 AM
    I had the Southwest Vegetable for lunch today. It's great for dieting (only 100 calories) and easy to make at work (microwavable container). The taste is so-so. - 9/27/2010   8:23:40 PM
  • 180
    I've been watching Food Network all day, and this blog is what just made me hungry! Go figure! - 9/26/2010   4:25:17 PM
  • 179
    I HAVE tried these soups. I do NOT like the Italian wedding one. Upset my stomach. The don't taste as good as some I have had. BUT, I have been making my OWN soups, and prefer to know exactly what goes in it! These soups do in a pinch, but not for a regular fare.

    AND Dr. Oz says alot of the cans leech BPA's in the food. THAT is not good at all! - 9/26/2010   4:51:38 AM
  • 178
    yum...I just had the savory chicken w/veggies for lunch today!!! - 9/24/2010   9:24:34 PM
  • PENNYG88
    I did not care for the soup, it had an off taste. I thought I had a bad can , but the next one tasted the same. I gave the third can away. I will stick to Progresso - 9/24/2010   8:55:51 PM
    I eat SO much of the Maryland-Style Crab soup. I would kill to be able to find a good copycat recipe for it but haven't been able to find one. - 9/24/2010   11:42:16 AM
  • 175
    My 15 year old son loves these soups--particularly the tomato basil and takes them in a thermos for his lunch at school everyday. Personally, I do not like canned soups...the veggies taste mushy and the broth just doesn't have the fresh flavor of homemade soup. I rarely eat canned soup anymore...soup is sooooo easy to cook, why would I? - 9/23/2010   4:57:56 PM
  • 174
    I think these soups are so bland! I always end up adding herbs and spices to them whenever I have it. Healthy food does not have to taste healthy. - 9/23/2010   11:55:40 AM
  • 173
    i eat the light soups all the time. i love them! - 4/17/2010   9:56:04 AM
  • 172
    THIS IS SO INTERESTING FOR ME TO READ. Years ago I called Campbells and asked why they do not put out a non MSG soup. At that time I was told that MSG was a natuarally occuring substance in many vegetables and it was not possible to produce a soup with no msg. I did point out at that time that the tomato soup my children like had no msg on the label. She went on to say that they do not ADD any msg to the tomato soup. The whole converstion was so confusing. I simply stopped buying canned soups and now I make all my own stocks to do it with. I have to watch out for msg in many other products. I and one of our sons are sensitive to it so I am glad to see the information, I am happy to see people with food allergies are finally getting more attention and hope that our options will expand somewhat in our food choices. - 4/16/2010   4:15:00 PM
  • 171
    I love Select Harvest soups. Adding some pepper and or tapitio. Home made is the best but when you're in a pinch on time this is a great option. When I make soup in the crock, I always freeze a couple containers for the weeks to come. - 4/16/2010   12:11:49 PM
    I liked the Thai Noodle version of this soup. I ate the whole can for the 100 cals, sodium was high, but I just decreased the sodium in other places and increased my water intake. - 4/15/2010   11:02:53 AM
  • 169
    I didn't like the ones I tried. I do like the Light variety of Progresso. - 4/15/2010   10:10:51 AM
  • 168
    Tried the Beef and Barley and it was disgusting. I have never tasted a soup that bad in my life. Makes me now not willing to try the others. YUK! - 4/15/2010   8:01:39 AM
  • 167
    Thanks a million. My daughter asks me to buy soup in cans. maybe I will give it a try! Thanks for the info. - 3/22/2010   10:06:14 AM
    Can't wait to try these. I am a true soup lover. Thanks for the info. - 3/19/2010   4:08:32 PM
  • 165
    They are MAGIC soups! I could live on these things! - 3/18/2010   10:49:58 AM
  • 164
    I have to watch my sodium intake carefully, and canned soup just is not worth the sodium they contain. I make soup from scratch almost every week, freezing single portion sizes that I can grab for lunch. At least I know there are no additives or excess sodium in them, and they taste so much fresher. - 3/18/2010   10:33:18 AM
  • VEGAS519
    I love these soups, especially the ones in the to-go containers (they are great for taking to work), but to cut down on the sodium, I drain a bit of the broth and add a little water. At least then I know I'm not drinking all that salt. - 3/18/2010   10:04:04 AM
  • 162
    I have been eating these soups for a while now. I think I have tried them all. I enjoy them and they do fill you up. The only problem is that my sodium intake goes way up that is my only concern other then that you can eat the whole can for very few calories. - 3/18/2010   7:51:43 AM
    I enjoy the Select Harvest Light soups quite a bit. The Italian-Style vegetable and the Chicken with Italian Herbs are my favorites. Compared to Progresso, I prefer the taste of Select Harvest's soups and they tend to be cheaper as well at my supermarket ($1.25 a can vs. $1.50).

    Unfortunately, the soups are very high in sodium. Comparatively, they are actually the *lowest* in sodium when you look at all of the other manufacturer's similar soups, but the overall level of sodium here is still way too high.

    The USDA's 2009 Subcommittee on Sodium, Pottasium and Water reports approximately 30% of people in the US have hypertension and 33% have pre-hypertension. Dr Shelly Nickols-Richardson of the University of Pennsylvania and speaker at the USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee said that "sodium intake consistently exceeded the tolerable upper intake level... for 90 percent of the population," according to a 2008 study.

    With that in mind, let's look at the sodium contents of the soup here. One can contains 100 kcal and 960mg of sodium, which is 64% of your daily adequate intake. If you're middle-aged, black, or if you have hypertension, it's also 64% of your recommended daily "upper limit" of sodium, but otherwise it's just a mere 41% if you don't fall into any of the at-risk categories of individuals.

    As I said, other soups are worse: Progresso's Italian-Style Vegetable weighs in at (with a mere one, 120-calorie can of soup) 92% of your recommended intake of sodium. On the ridiculous end of this scale you'll find Wolfgang Puck's Old Fashioned Beef Barley soup (one can, 201 kcal) at 111% of the recommended intake.

    In summary, the Select Harvest Light soups are great at filling you up for the amount of calories they contain, but you should unquestionably be keeping your salt consumption in the forefront of your mind if you make a habit of eating these soups. - 3/7/2010   3:06:36 PM
  • 160
    I've eaten these soups and they are really good. I'll eat these or Progresso (I usually buy which ever I can get for less at the grocery store depending on sales and/or coupons). The past three days I've had one of these soups for lunch at work. I just wish the had more of them listed on the nutrition tracker (most of them I've had to input the information myself).

    Funny thing! While I was reading this blog, I saw a TV commercial for these soups! - 1/21/2010   9:51:47 PM
    Wow - I must have picked the wrong variety (Chicken Tuscany) because I thought the soup was very thin and watery, with very few "solids" in it. I would have said that there was less than half a cup of beans, veggies and chicken in the whole can of soup. And the broth was a watery tomato broth.

    I guess I'll try another variety, since I have one in my pantry, but I don't think I would ever buy it again. - 1/18/2010   10:30:59 AM
  • 158
    I love these soups and have tried them all. We get some great deals in the stores where you can pick up a can for $1 a piece, usually 10 for $10. My favorite is the Maryland Crab. Real bits of crab and great flavor. I have tried the progresso as well and I like both equally well. - 4/8/2009   12:27:03 PM
  • 157
    I am a big fan of the Progresso soups, so I have been avoiding the Campbell's because of the advertising, which knocks Progresso. However, there is something to be said for the positive comments about the Select Harvest Light soups on this blog. I'll probably do a side-by-side label comparison in the store myself, just to be sure I'm getting all the facts. I am glad you shared this review - thanks! - 3/6/2009   1:22:01 PM
  • KEAL48
    I love soup and have enjoyed progresso soups until Campbells commerical came out stating it had MSG. On my next trip to the store I picked up Campbells Harvest Light mexican tortilla soup. It was really good, filling and could eat the whole can as a meal for little calories. I have yet to go back to Progresso. - 3/6/2009   12:27:54 AM
  • JUDYANN069
    I love these soups! I can really fill up without too many cals. I haven't yet tried healthy request versions but I will look for them. - 2/17/2009   7:56:16 AM
  • 154
    I absolutely love these soups. With the cold weather, I generally have these soups for lunch a minimum of 2 x per week. They are filling and warming. I recommend them. - 2/16/2009   12:15:32 PM
  • ACHOI714
    I tried the Vegetable and thought it was more liquid than substance, but it was when they first came out. I don't know if they changed it much, but I will give it one more try. Honestly, i still like Progresso more. - 2/16/2009   11:08:16 AM
  • LORIV5
    I haven't tried them but already I see that the salt intake is high. No good for someone with high blood pressure. - 2/15/2009   11:25:54 PM
  • 151
    The light Italian Wedding is kinda bland! The Maryland Crab is tasty though! - 2/15/2009   9:55:09 PM
  • 150
    I have tried several of these, and love them all! And you can't argue with the calories! - 2/15/2009   5:51:55 PM
  • 149
    I love the Southwestern Light Vegetable. It did not taste salty to me. I thought it was great and will definitely buy it again.

    Sunny - 2/12/2009   5:39:04 PM
  • 148
    The Beef and Barley is disgusting and the Southwestern is incredibly salty. Trust me, I know good canned soup. The only other I tried was Maryland crab which was pretty good. I will try others, but I am going to stick with Amy's organic canned soups. More expensive but darn good - I've had several and they were all very good, except for the tomato soup which was very sweet but others may like that. - 1/25/2009   10:32:37 AM
  • 147
    I love these soups. I feel full longer and by reading the label, they truly are not filled with names of ingredients that I can not pronounce. I love the SouthWestern Harvest Soup. A 1/2 cup of colby jack shredded and then 7 tortillia chips crushed, mmm mmm good. Great snack or for lunch. - 1/21/2009   4:18:23 PM
  • 146
    I have tried these soups - actually, they are quite tasty. My only complaint is that they are even sometimes a little too spicy for my kids. I imagine they are upping the spices to cover the less salt. As a result, it's just me eating the soup. My own homemade soup has a better balance of salt and spice - but this quicker for those busy school nights. - 1/13/2009   11:26:03 AM
  • 145
    I love the New England Clam Chowder and the spicy ones -- Mexican Tortilla, and Chicken Fajita. All of the ones I've tried and VERY good. I add a few (10 or so) vegetable Wheat Thins and a banana for dessert...and I'm FULL! - 1/12/2009   11:18:41 PM
  • 144
    I really liked the several I tried, and will keep them on hand, the Light variety. The interesting thing about the Big Bad MSG monster--it has been demonized beyond belief-- if you buy anything listing "natural flavors" it is probably soy sauce, a natural source of natural MSG, which, of course makes things taste great. "No added MSG" is quite the tiny technicality, but the whole thing is a non-issue to me. The soups are good! I just bought the Progresso version of a couple of them to compare. - 1/12/2009   7:36:31 PM
    I just bought two cans this week, and can't wait to try them as a quick light lunch. - 1/12/2009   7:20:35 PM
    I tried the Light Italian-Style Vegetable today and it was great! No soggy veggies and not to salty!!! Can't wait to try the other varieties! By the way... 1/2 a can is only 50 calories! Can't beat that.... - 1/6/2009   9:11:28 PM
  • 141
    I have not yet tried these but have been wanting too. I will definitely put these on my grocery list for the week after reading this! - 12/23/2008   10:08:49 PM
  • 140
    I really like Mexican Style Tortilla, Tequila Lime Chicken and Rice, and the Minestrone. Perfect amount of calories, so I can usually add a small sandwich or salad, and feel completely full! - 12/15/2008   11:00:34 AM
  • 139
    My daughter and I like the Campbell's Healthy Request Minestrone. It's not too salty, and has lots of protein for a 1 cup serving. - 11/25/2008   10:13:10 PM
  • 138
    I'm going to have to try this i absolutely love soups :D - 11/24/2008   9:30:21 AM
    I love soup!! I usually prefer to make them, but once in a while I buy a can. It seems that it is hard to find a good canned soup, especially when you should be watching your sodium intake. I look forward to trying one of these!! I really appriciate the info on it! Thank you! - 11/23/2008   3:05:58 PM
  • _BRENDA_
    I look forward to trying these, I'm not a huge fan of soups but with excellent stats and great reviews I will totally pick some up next time they are on sale at our grocery store. Thanks for sharing!!!! - 11/23/2008   2:03:26 PM
  • 135
    I use to hate canned soups because of the saltiness and mushy veggies. I love these soups! Good price, filling and tastes great to me. I usually add a side of apple or a handful of low fat triscuits with low fat sharp cheddar cheese, or a small salad with a cap full of Newman's Own Olive Oil Dressing. Can't get much better than that. - 11/23/2008   12:18:47 PM

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