Tinned soups: sizing and portions

By Dagmar
In Interesting stuff
Aug 18th, 2015

I know what some of you might think: Tinned soups? Processed food? That is unhealthy! Does she really eat that???

Yes, I do. And I do that with the peace in mind. I may write an article about the misconceptions related to SOME processed food products and what processing actually means. For now I would just like to say that a tinned soup is an excellent and healthy option for a light lunch at work, if you only have the facilities to heat it up and eat it in an appropriate way. By that appropriate way I mean eating it from a ceramic bowl with a metal spoon and at the table, in peace, unlike what many people do today: eating their food from plastic, with plastic, or from a paper with hands, often sitting wherever they find a place, even stairs outside. That appropriate way is how I enjoy eating food or having a drink. I somehow cannot find it tasty to drink a coffee from a carton/plastic cup on the go as most people do it today.

This article is, however, a result of my most recent comparison of what I have found at home and what caught my eye. Do not expect anything shocking here though. I did not discover anything that would make a massive breakthrough in the food industry. I only found few details in the sizing of the tinned soups interesting when I had a closer look.


Here are all three ‘entities’ I have found remaining in my kitchen cupboard:

tinned soupsYou can clearly see that they differ in height. Some do more, others do less. Would you expect a bigger volume or more soup in the Heinz one?

See yourself:

sizing 1Both of them have the same content (400g nett) but the Heinz gives you an impression that you are getting more. Is this illusion in size reflected in the real price? I leave it on you to find out.

Now, would you expect a larger content in the slightly larger Baxters soup on the right? Their diameters are identical (putting one tin on the other, they have the same width).tinned soups 2Nope. The company somehow managed to get more product into the smaller tin, calling the other a special pack. I am not sure what the special pack was supposed to mean; I bought the tin individually, not as a part of a bigger pack. As I said, these two have the same diameter across, while among the first two the Heinz tin was remarkably narrower to compensate for the height. Physics has its laws, you know. But, 20 grams is not much, is it? That could be due to a lower density of potato (hence lighter in weight per volume) in comparison to mostly fluid in the tomato and basil version.


I have mentioned the portion sizing. I assume that everyone of us consider one such tin as ONE adult portion. Toddlers tend to have a different range of products and their stomachs can stomach a smaller volume than an adult person, obviously. Indeed, most soup bowls accommodate just the volume of these tins, i.e. 400 milliliters or grams. But Heinz seems to have a different idea about the portion sizes, listing this can as two servings:

portion size

Nothing on the pack suggested that the soup was made for toddlers or some other small people with smaller stomachs. Indeed, none of the remaining two tins of usual shape and comparable volume/nett weight of the product mentioned anything about the amount of serving in them. We all know that they are meant to be just one portion, don’t we?

That is it. I am a nutritionist and I know that there is nothing to be scared of when the tinned soups come on the table, except of some people sensitive to sodium. These products can contain a significant amount of salt, so if you are one of those folks, be ware. Or, there are people with some dangerous allergies, who cannot rely on what is in the tin, especially when there is a warning that the manufacturer cannot guarantee the absolute absence of the particular allergen. Besides that, these soups are filling, tasty and satisfying when you find the ones you like and they also can fill a fantastic purpose to keep your body weight in check. In addition to that, they contribute to your 5-a-day intake of vegetables and when in doubt, check the ingredients on the label.

I am aware of the BPA (bisphenol-A) agent in some internal tin coatings. However, the companies are using this material less and less and soon, let’s hope, it will be a distant past. So if you are worried, check the information on the tin or contact the manufacturer before you buy the product.

Today I had one of the Heinz Farmer’s market range. The content included plum tomatoes, basil and creme fraiche. It tasted great. It actually tasted almost as good as the same one I made at home a couple of times following some recipe from internet. I tend to make my own soups but sometimes you just want to try one off or having a variety each following day instead of eating the same stuff for several days in a row. And that is when the good quality tinned soups come handy.

About "" Has 48 Posts

Graduated at London Metropolitan University: BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition in 2014. Working as a research assistant at the MRC, The University of Cambridge.

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