‘The transition has taken longer than anticipated’

Campbell Soup Company to switch to non-BPA lined cans in 2017

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Campbell soup company

Campbell Soup Company to switch to non-BPA lined cans
Campbell Soup Company has announced it will move to cans which do not use Bisphenol A (BPA) linings by the middle of 2017.

The company began using cans with linings made from acrylic or polyester materials in March 2016 and will continue to introduce the linings across its US and Canadian portfolio through 2017.

Soups, gravies, Swanson broth & SpaghettiOs

Campbell’s Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle was the first variety to be produced.

Products that will be packaged in non-BPA lined cans include Campbell’s soups and gravies, Swanson broth and SpaghettiOs pasta.

Mike Mulshine, senior program manager, Packaging, Campbell Soup Company, said its priority is and will continue to be food safety.

We have tested and conducted trials with hundreds of alternatives to BPA lining and believe the acrylic and polyester options will ensure our food remains safe, affordable and tastes great​,” he added.

Campbell first announced its intention to move away from BPA linings in February 2012, in response to consumer feedback.

The company is on track to have 75% of its soup portfolio in non-BPA lined cans by December 2016. 

It currently has a range of products in packaging which does not use BPA, including cartons, pouches and PET bottles.

According to Mark Alexander, president, Americas Simple Meals & Beverages, Campbell Soup Company, the transition has taken longer than anticipated and it is not where it hoped to be when it made the original announcement in 2012. 

Three challenges

He said there were three reasons for that; the technical challenge; financial priorities and the enormity of the task.

BPA is one of the most widely tested and proven can linings and has been used by the food industry for decades. Government regulatory authorities and scientists agree BPA is safe to use in packaging.

Many of the alternatives we considered were untested for foods with a long shelf life. Also, the team has worked hard to find a solution for our tomato-based recipes, as tomatoes are naturally acidic and can react with can linings over time​,” said Alexander.

The acrylic and polyester alternatives we are moving to have been subjected to extensive testing, approved for use by regulators around the world and offer a viable, cost-effective alternative​.”

The cost of transitioning its entire portfolio to non-BPA linings is significant.

We’ve had to balance making this investment with other business priorities. We are now committed to completing this change in our fiscal years 2016 and 2017. We do not plan to pass these costs to consumers​,” added Alexander.

We ship nearly two billion cans each year, comprising more than 600 different recipes. Making a change of this magnitude requires input from hundreds of employees across the company. It’s not something that can be done quickly, nor would we want to​.

The safety of our food and our packaging is paramount. It’s the foundation on which we’ve built nearly 150 years of consumer trust. Any changes we make to our food must be implemented thoughtfully and carefully​.”

An additional 10m cans in April

The company made two million cans using the new linings and began shipping soup in these cans in March 2016. It plans to make an additional 10 million cans in April.

While we are not initially labeling those cans which have non-BPA linings, we will consider doing so as we update our labels over time​,” said Alexander.

We still face technical challenges, especially on some of our tomato-based products and on other packaging which use BPA coatings and we will keep consumers updated about our progress on whatsinmyfood.com​.

However, we are confident our entire portfolio of products will not contain BPA linings or coatings by the middle of 2017​.”

The company is also testing alternatives to BPA coatings on other packaging, including aluminum cans used for V8​ beverages and metal screw top lids on glass jars.

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