Two years ago, Campbell's announced Keurig owners would soon be able to make soup from Campbell's K-Cups. The soup pods are now for sale, and after reading about them on Time, I'm sad. I'm sad in the same way I was sad when I saw pre-made, frozen grilled cheese sandwiches in a box in the frozen foods aisle of my grocery store. It seems like consumers are saying that pulling a pan out of the cupboard is just too much work and we're OK with creating mounds of trash so we don't have to lift a finger.
I also think we might be fooling ourselves about the convenience of some of these items, especially when you look at the cost.
Take a look at this video for the new Campbell's K-Cup.
It seems to be missing steps four and five. What's step four, you ask? Throwing all the non-recyclable packaging in the trash. What about step five? According to Time, because your coffee might taste like soup or your soup might taste like coffee, "Keurig recommends running a hot water brew cycle without a pod before and after making the soup." Before and after? Now we're up to six steps.
Does that seem as convenient as this video leads consumers to believe? Then there's the cost of the soup K-Cups. The best price I saw on Amazon was $29.99 for a box of 16, or $1.88 per serving, a serving being one 8-ounce mug of soup. A ready-to-eat microwavable 15.09-ounce bowl of Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle is $1.68. And, you don't have to run a hot water cycle before and after microwaving it.
What about Nature Valley's Bistro Cups Oatmeal? Let's take a look:
Several people in the YouTube comments mention that you can just run hot water through your Keurig and pour it on a package of instant oatmeal for a lot less money.
At Target, a box of Nature Valley Brown Sugar Pecan Oatmeal Bistro Cups with three servings is $5.99. That's $2 per serving. Quaker Organic Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal is $2.99 per 10-pack, or $.30 per serving. If, like the YouTube commenters suggest, you can just use the hot brewed water from a Keurig on a packet of instant oatmeal, these Bistro Cups are no more convenient and over six times more expensive.
Of course, the alternatives I offered were less expensive, but no healthier or less wasteful. Making a big pot of chicken noodle soup once a week and dividing it into individual portions or throwing together some overnight oats to grab in the morning would save money, create less trash and provide healthier meals.
I understand the need for convenience once in a while. But to keep regularly replacing healthy foods with quicker, less healthy, more wasteful, more expensive versions just to shave a minute or two off cooking time and to create fewer dirty dishes is just sad. Let's stop it.