- General Mills moved forward on its clean label initiative for its Progresso soup brand, including transitioning to 100% antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken breast in all 36 of Progresso’s chicken soup varieties, according to a company statement.
- Artificial colors have already been removed from 60% of Progresso soup varieties, with plans to reach 100% by 2019.
- The company also reduced sodium in more than 40 soup varieties. They also debuted seven certified gluten-free and several vegetarian soups.
Progresso's inaugural plant in Vineland, N.J. may be on the chopping block, but the brand itself isn't yet. As its action with Green Giant proved, General Mills showed it wouldn't shy away from divesting underperforming brands. But by pursuing these clean label efforts, the company has demonstrated a commitment to turn around the Progresso brand.
The clean label approach makes sense for General Mills. The company has already done the same for other segments, such as cereal and fruit snacks. This strategy may also be integral to a comeback for canned soup brands because consumers have long associated canned soup with being processed. A clean label approach could be just what a canned soup brand needs to open up possibilities for top-line growth.