A Soulful Introduction
I very frequently contact food producers, small, medium and huge. One of my common drivers to do so is when I want to gain information about the actual risk behind a “May Contain . . . Gluten” label. Some will ignore these labels and others will avoid all food which features them. My preference for foods of interest is to find out more. This is a very happy story about one such enquiry.
Soulful Soup appeared in my Ocado “Recommended For You” list and I am a strong believer in following instructions from our to-be AI overlords. So the Ocado-bot recommendation along with confirmation of “Gluten-Free” within the description led to the Add to Basket click.
On delivery I was greatly upset to see that although Gluten-Free appeared on the packing so did the term “May Contain . . . . Gluten”. I immediately wrote to Soulful Soup to explain that these two terms were mutually exclusive, ask which one was correct and ask them to remove the incorrect label from their packaging.
I enjoyed a swift response from their Sales Director which confirmed they were aware of the contradiction, that it was a packaging mistake, and that new batches did not feature the same mistake. Good so far. Then that it was the Gluten-Free label that was correct rather than the “May Contain”. Better still. The really cool part is coming up though . . .
I often say that Gluten-Free is the non-negotiable but otherwise least interesting feature of my diet. One of many other features is that I target low sodium, for reasons. So I also implored Soulful to consider reducing the salt / sodium in their otherwise really fantastic soup. Here the response was to direct me to the lower sodium products in their range (which Ocado did not yet stock) and . . . . send me a freebie box as a thank you for my feedback and engagement.
So I have very nice things to say Soulful, but what about the soup and meal pots themselves, any good?
A Sampling of Soulful
So what is to like about the Soulful Soups and One-Pot meal I sampled?
- Delicious and better than averagely nutritious
- They are all gluten-free and dairy free
- The ingredients are real recognizable food ingredients and there is a pleasing absence of cheap filling and bulking agents (like, you know wheat flour) or sugar.
- The addition of coconut, unusual, may be a winner. Lots of prepared soups use rapeseed oil and the inclusion of some source of fat in a soup probably contributes significantly to a pleasant mouth feel and to satiation. I prefer coconut to an omega-6 rich seed oil like rapeseed yet have never seen it in another soup to date. Bravo for innovation Soulful!
- No added sugars, thank goodness!
My second favourite of those tried on flavour alone and overall favourite thanks to the lower salt levels. It is a lovely, thick, satisfying soup. It does not feature any significant source of protein but I am happy to remedy this with whatever I am eating along with it or simply adding some pea and rice protein to the heated soup. The choice of sweet potato rather than potato, coconut rather than rapeseed oil and spirulina rather than . . . any other green really shows that Soulful appear to be aiming for higher end ingredients.
I adore spices and seasonings. No meal is complete without them. I am often unimpressed by whatever is already present in prepared soups. This one however is just right, goldilocks zone, delivering a notably interesting taste, not too weak, not too strong. Caveat: Your Tastebuds May Vary.
I loved this as a genuine meal in a pot covering all macros and plenty of lots of micro nutrients. I mixed in some additional dry roasted peas and fava beans to add a wonderfully satisfying ‘crunch’ sensation.
This is the one I tried before getting the freebie box that prompted my request that Soulful reduce the salt level. The whole pot, easily eaten as a filling meal, contains 3.6g salt - compare that against the World Health Organisation recommendation for less than 5 grams per day.
This one *could* be fantastic. I chuckle at the dilemma I imagine presented to whoever needed to name it because it is just stuffed with a diverse range of ingredients. Not the unpronounceable kind, real, recognizable ingredients. Look at all these great ingredients!
It is also the most filling, wholesome, satisfying commercial soup I have ever sampled. It is really a cross between a soup and a meal-pot and has the calories to match. I think the flavour could be lovely too but am unsure because, for me, the taste of salt is overly strong and obscures everything else. I hope that the formulation will change because whilst more salt could be added for personal taste, none can be taken away.
Read about the mess that is “May Contain . . . “ labels and the range of consumer behaviours at the Allergen Safe campaign site
Salt and your Health at Action on Salt