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How can "Good" Brand Canned Soups Taste So BAD?

Today is chilly out...I thought a quick bowl of soup would cheer up 103 yr old Anna...Progresso's Clam Chowder...ugh! I would not feed it to a dog!!

Why do all manner of soups from a can just taste BAD, BAD, BAD? SO BAD that anything I add will not kill that corroded metallic flavor? Has anyone conquered the curse of canned soups?

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  1. How old was the can, do you think? Progresso isn't quite as good as homemade, but I've never tasted anything metallic in any of their flavors.

    4 Replies
    1. re: coll

      It was purchased yesterday at Costco...have you tried the Progresso Clammed Chowder? I'd be curious what you thought...

      1. re: GretaKirstin

        Yes I've had both red and white quite often, although not this season yet. Which did you try?

        1. re: coll

          White...at someone's suggestion I'm gonna take it back for a refund!

          1. re: GretaKirstin

            You should if you're not happy, I'm the queen of nitpicking when it comes to grocery purchases. I only eat Progresso soup when I'm working from home and I want something fast and cheap, so my standards aren't at their peak level at that point. I just never felt like it was inedible, but I wasn't trying to please anyone but myself!

    2. OK...here's what I did...to a 18.5 oz can of clammed chowder I added about 1/2 C milk, 1+ t of Better than Bullion chicken broth, fresh basil chopped, 1/2 piece of sour dough bread, choped, fresh ground pepper and 1 t bacon bits..It was not fantastic but at least I got rid of the corroded metal taste...Anna's a picky eater...she won't finish anything she doesn't like...the jury is still out because she has her nose in a book, too. Anyone else wanna save the canned soup industry with improvements?

      Next time I will try to have cream on hand to use instead of 2% milk, instead of bread I'll use croutons and omit the bacon bits...

      3 Replies
      1. re: GretaKirstin

        All your added ingredients plus a can of clams sounds way better than the Progresso soup, anyway!
        Especially once you use cream in it.

        1. re: jmcarthur8

          Yes...though I was just going for fast and easy...maybe next time I'll do tortillas with melted cheese for lunch! Hard to fail with these...either corn or flour!

          1. re: jmcarthur8

            Yes, good suggestions...I normally make huge batches...guess I'll down size at your suggestion...every once in a while...

        2. I used to eat Progresso clam chowder once i awhile, but I've quit buying any canned clam chowder. It's never going to be anywhere near as good as made from scratch. I don't remember it being THAT bad, however. I don't even know what metal tastes like.

          Sometimes I make a shortcut clam chowder from Campbell's Condensed Cream of Potato soup and canned minced clams. This is better than canned clam chowder, but not homemade.

          4 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            I might try this short cut sometime! I do make clam chowder from scratch and it's always really good...maybe I'll just double the batch and freeze in small containers. I think for me, this will be the solution.

            1. re: GH1618

              Do you dilute the soup with milk or water before adding the (undrained) clams?

              1. re: Sarah

                I use all the juice packed with the clams, and add half-and-half to make one can of liquid. The clams I use are in a 7 oz (weight) can, of which 4.5 oz are clams. One can to one can of condensed soup.

                1. re: GH1618

                  Thanks -- will give this a try.

            2. Actually, Anna left about an inch in the mug...so it failed the Anna Taste Test...old ppl are really honest! She ate as much as she could stomach!

              Thank you all for your suggestions...maybe Costco buys what doesn't sell in regular grocers?? Maybe it is old...??? I wish someone would report their experience from Costco's back to me...there is absolutely no taste of clams! And of course you have to buy 8 cans at a time...lesson learned!

              3 Replies
              1. re: GretaKirstin

                No, Costco does not deliberately sell damaged or outdated groceries. The common sense solution is to not buy it again if you don't like it. Costco will refund your money.

                1. re: Samalicious

                  I LOVE Costco! Have never thought Costco buys damaged goods...some reader brought age up...I just cannot believe ppl buy such poor tasting soup---thank you for your suggestion to get a refund--I thought since I used 1 can, I was stuck with it!! Of course! COSTCO HAS THE BEST REFUND policy...to cover errors such as this! Thank you SO much!

                  1. re: GretaKirstin

                    Or you could donate it. There are people who would very much appreciate even bad soup in a can.

              2. I have to say that their clam chowder is the only Progresso soup I really don't like, though not because of any awful flavor; it simply hasn't got ANY. I do like Snow's okay, but I'll also add a can of clams and their juice, because it's not nearly as good as it used to be.

                Canned soup in general annoys me nowadays for all the wrong reasons, starting with the fact that there's too damn much of it. The Progresso section alone takes as much space as the entire soup section used to, with a half-acre of Campbell's next to it, and so on for however many yards. In the meantime, I can get five versions of any Campbell soup they have (low sodium, low fat, reduced fat, no fat, full fat, chunky), but not one can of my old faves, Scotch Broth and Pepper Pot. They still make those, but they're special order, and pale shadows of their true selves: Pepper Pot has tiny specks of tripe instead of nice chunks, and the Scotch Broth moved to the suburbs and now has beef instead of proper mutton. Idiots.

                5 Replies
                  1. re: kubasd

                    Must have been a temporary thing - I special-ordered both at my neighborhood grocery in Nashville (ca. 1990) and sweartagod the Scotch Broth label said "beef." They're both made in Canada, too - not a bad thing in itself, but a clear opportunity to diddle with the recipes.

                    Anyway, if I want pepper pot now I'll just make my own. Lots of tripe down the street at the Latino market! And I bet Scotch Broth (got a recipe for that, too) would be great done with goat …

                  2. re: Will Owen

                    Great post Will Owen! And ALL so true!

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Also a big fan of Campbell's Scotch Broth and Pepper Pot soups. Going to order some online.

                      1. re: Kholvaitar

                        I will wait to see if Costco brings back the large cans of soup in powder form. Nothing else has any flavor...decided that if one must eat canned soup crumpled up saltines disguises all those weird flavors better than herbs and spices. I remember seeing Scotch broth and pepper pot soups but never tried ...maybe I can find in a store....but now stores don't carry?

                    2. I used to eat a lot of canned soup and had clam chowder often. The Campbell's Chunky, even the Healthy Request, is much better than Progresso. Ironically I really wanted soup tonight and looked at everything in the soup aisle. But everything, even the low sodium stuff, had way too much sodium. Let's face it, there's really only one serving in spite of what the label says and 47% RDA is too much.

                      1. I've never had a good canned soup. It's all crap, IMO. Salt, salt, salt, and salt, used to mask subpar ingredients.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pikawicca

                          That's my main issue with canned soup, too. All that salt. I'm thirsty a half hour later. I'd just as soon make my own and freeze some for later.

                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                            I always add a pinch of salt to any canned soup. Generally like Progresso soups better than any other canned ones.

                          2. re: pikawicca

                            I hear ya! I agree 100% They try to mask the SUB PAR ingredients plus the preservatives and other chemicals...that flavored the White Clam Chowder to a non-descrept flavor of Stale Garbage!

                          3. Progresso is actually my favorite canned soup, although I've never had their clam chowder. I don't like canned clam chowder soup in general.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Progresso really is still one of the better canned soups, even if their quality has suffered somewhat after the company was sold to Pillsbury in the 1990's (and Pillsbury is now owned by General Mills).
                              The quality of some of the products definitely took a hit (and they discontinued some favorites).

                            2. I think the quality of most or all canned soup has become awful in the last 10 or so years. In the good old days, prepared canned foods were not so far off of the real thing and often quite good. Now everything has been cheapened into glop that seems to have nothing to do with real food. I used to buy and like Progresso soups but had to quit them entirely about 6 years ago. Salty, slimy and weird.
                              Make your own big batch and freeze or can in meal size portions.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: splatgirl

                                In the good old days, prepared canned foods were not so far off of the real thing and often quite good.

                                Really? Give me an example.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Well, there was a canned turtle soup sold in the south that was actually edible, but that was maybe 40 years ago.

                                2. re: splatgirl

                                  I had the same realization. I don't know if the soups changed or if my expectations changed, but I gave up all canned soups a few years ago. I had been eating Progresso soups for years, and then one day I just suddenly couldn't stand them. And for some reason, the red-based ones always made my urine smell funny. I think it was in part the realization that soup shouldn't be doing this and that there was something in there that wasn't right that made me quit.

                                3. Campbells used to make a nice oyster stew that I can never find anymore.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: redfish62

                                    I have a can in my pantry, bought on a whim in the last year or so, but I keep hesitating to try it. Maybe I will and report back to you, I am sort of an oyster aficianado; I know it would be so much better made from scratch, but Campbells = Mom's home cooking to me in so many twisted ways.

                                  2. This might have nothing to do with the quality, but it is a fact that the warehouse clubs get their groceries from a different supply chain than normal grocery or actual wholesalers. So it COULD be a different formula, not that I have any inside info on Progresso.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: coll

                                      That is one of today's "Commercial-Culture" issues now that Corporations are running our country...the side that is now always favored is the entity who makes profits; hence transparency is no longer needed....or demanded now that so many regulations and policies have been watered down to protect the Corporate structure of our country! We the consumer can really only voice our concerns and choices with our pocket books. I've never been a fan of canned soups but in the future I'll just stick to Campbell's tomato--add milk and basil...always is A-OK!

                                      1. re: GretaKirstin

                                        It's A-OK but not the same as it used to be either. Check the sodium levels and where the high fructose corn syrup is in the ingredients......it isn't the same as I remember in the 1950s-1960s. Not that I don't still use it in some applications, but it is NOT the same sadly. It has changed to being a whole new entity.

                                        1. re: GretaKirstin

                                          stragely enough dill also is delicious in tomato soup; even in campbell's

                                          1. re: betsydiver

                                            I always forget about dill weed--actually, dill is good in lots of things...never tried it in tomato soup...thanks!

                                          2. re: GretaKirstin

                                            So.start your own company and make a good soup.if it's that damn good, ppl will buy it. the rest is political BS

                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                              Actually...that's an idea!...myself I'll leave it for a young up and coming go-getter...
                                              entrepreneur... priorities...priorities...

                                        2. I agree, most canned soup is just terrible and often has a metallic taste. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I gave up trying when I discovered frozen soup. My grocery store (Publix in Florida) carries Tabatchnick frozen soup, which I love. The soups taste fresh and several are organic, low sodium, or vegetarian http://www.tabatchnick.com/store_loca.... I've converted several friends to their frozen soup. As an alternative, you might want to try soup packaged in aseptic boxes. Since the packaging is lined in plastic, there's no metallic taste issue.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: tillisandra

                                            Frozen soup! That's the way to go...for those times needed ASAP. I've never known of frozen soup!!
                                            Thanks much for bringing it to our attention. Dried soup seems to be heavy in salt and probably chemicals too. I wonder if WA State has any frozen soups...I tend to buy fresh so I seldom peruse the frozen food sections. I will look into it--Tabatchnick is not a familiar brand to me...

                                            1. re: GretaKirstin

                                              I've had the Tabatchnick pea soup, and it's about as close to a simpler version of mine (i.e. no pork!!) as you can get. Very fresh-tasting, but expensive enough to persuade me just to make my own, as it's pretty fast and easy. Any supermarket with a decent number of Kosher items should carry it.

                                              1. re: GretaKirstin

                                                GretaKirstin - Have you ever tried the Ivar's clam chowder sold in grocery stores? It used to be sold in a box inside plastic pouches and you added milk, but I haven't purchased for quite a while, so it looks like they may have changed it. I know Costco carries it, and quite a few other grocery stores. It's very good and I'm pretty sure you can freeze it.

                                                I'm also in Washington and I think I've seen the Tabatchnick frozen soups at Safeway and QFC (if you're in the Seattle area.)

                                                1. re: gmm

                                                  You know GMM, I've certainly seen Ivar's Chowder around in stores and have had it on the wharf...I have not seen it at Costco's in a while...but you've just reminded me of some dried soups Costco had a few years back. Honestly, it was divine! The can was big...maybe 46 oz or so...potato soup and one other flavor...have not seen those either and I don't remember the brand...they were so good I gave them to niece and nephews. More and more stuff Costco carries is seasonal...so maybe as the weathers colder they'll bring more soups out...I Love Costco! (I will check Safeway---thanks!)

                                            2. Campbell's just announced the closing of their Sacramento CA plant, opened in 1947, and one of the reasons they gave was that sales of canned soups are down 13% in the past year. Some 700 workers will be losing their jobs.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                Of course no one seems creative enough to fix their problems!

                                                1. re: GretaKirstin

                                                  Actually, Campbell's has improved their product in recent years by introcing the Select Harvest line. It's better, but it's still canned soup and people are using less of that these days. If I decide to make soup from scratch now (and I have), what can Campbell's do about that?

                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    The problem with this thread is that canned soup is not a substitute for homemade soup (and vice versa).

                                                    Each are in their own food category.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      True. Nothing beats home made, but the canned products (the better ones, anyway) do have their place.

                                                      1. re: The Professor

                                                        When I don't feel well, like so many others, I will not eat anything but Campbell's tomato soup. Forget homemade....don't care how good it is.
                                                        That and a Velveeta cheese grilled cheese sandwich on white bread.

                                                        1. re: The Professor

                                                          True...homemade soup is like (can be like) comfort food. Canned soup is like fast food...

                                                  2. re: Tripeler

                                                    That was very interesting to me Tripeler, thx!