How to identify healthy soup brands at the store that don’t come packaged in cans, cartons, or shelf-stable tetra paks.
When the essential life decision to eat healthy is made, commercial soups are arguably some of the most important processed foods to leave permanently behind.
Surprisingly, a simple switch to a line of healthy soups made with organic homemade bone broth is not as easy as it might seem.
Whether you buy from the supermarket or the health food store, soups in shelf-stable packaging or cans (including bouillon cubes) are unhealthy choices even if organic.
Worse, the vast majority of commercial soups contain neurotoxic MSG and other dangerous additives.
They are hidden under benign-sounding names such as “spices”, “natural flavors”, “seasonings”, “stock”, and “hydrolyzed protein” among dozens of others. (1)
Soup Ingredients and Packaging
Just as consumers catch on to the tricks behind one ingredient pseudonym, food manufacturers change it, resulting in a never-ending game of cat and mouse.
It can be a real challenge for label-reading shoppers to keep up with the many confusing aliases.
When I first realized how nutritionless and toxic soup in cans really is back in 2002, I found it challenging to quickly make the transition to homemade versions.
It seems that when you most need a bowl of healthy soup, you open the freezer to find you are out of broth!
Even if you have good broth on hand, perhaps the necessary ingredients needed to make soup are not available in the vegetable bin.
Who wants to make a run to the store to get soup ingredients, let alone expend the effort required to make a pot of healthy soup, when you are running a fever or simply exhausted from illness?
Aren’t there any brands of healthy soup to have in the pantry in a pinch? Let’s take a look.
Brands of Healthy Soup
Currently, the only place I am currently able to find quality soups the same as I make myself at home is my independently-owned health food store deli.
The chef makes them with real bone broth and organic ingredients.
Yay! So thankful for this option, I can tell you!
If you have any locally owned restaurants or health food delis in your community, ask the chef how the soup is made. You might be pleasantly surprised and find a good source of ready-made soup when you need it.
Cans and Cartons
Sadly, I cannot recommend any brands of soup in cans or cartons. This includes popular organic brands like Amy’s.
The packaging is just too toxic even if the ingredients are acceptable. This includes BPA-free cans, which is a marketing gimmick. Manufacturers simply substitute another similarly toxic chemical such as BPS.
Eating toxic processed food when you are not feeling well is not the best approach for a fast recovery!
Whole Foods Hot Bar
After examining the ingredients of the soups featured at the Whole Foods hot bar (and other health food store mega-chain), it seems wise to avoid them.
These concoctions are typically just commercial soups in disguise. Check the ingredients carefully!
What about Rao’s line of soups in glass jars?
While the packaging is excellent, this brand does not appear to use authentic chicken stock as the base even though the marketing says it is “slow-cooked”. There are also sketchy ingredients such as GMO corn starch for thickening.
If you simply don’t have time to make your own soup or are in a location without kitchen access, it is definitely worth it to at least buy bone broth.
You can make this easy and delicious 5-minute soup by adding just a few spices to the basic broth.
Best Bone Broth
After trying numerous brands and carefully vetting the packaging processes used, I settled on Epic Bone Broth in glass jars as a shelf-stable option.
Unfortunately, this brand has little to no gelatin. The company was also bought out by Big Food (General Mills), which is never a good sign. But, at least the broth is authentic and packaged in safe containers if you need an option while traveling or in a pinch.
A better brand to use if a fridge is available is Bonafide Provisions soups and bone broth as it is gelatinous at room temperature. The cups and frozen bags are safe, but be sure to skip the cartons.
This bone broth brand is also excellent and available across the US which I’ve purchased before and highly recommend.
Watch out for other brands of bone broth that only come in shelf-stable packaging (such as cartons or tetra paks).
The bone broth is boiling hot when it is poured into the tetra paks aseptic cartons lined with plastic. This virtually guarantees a leaching risk of toxins from the plastic into the bone broth.
When it comes to healthy soup and broth brands, it’s not just about ingredients and preparation.
The packaging process is also important to vet before buying!