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Surprise Peas and Campbell's Soup

 
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RockitRon



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 7565

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:57 pm    Post subject: Surprise Peas and Campbell's Soup Reply with quote

An exchange which came up on Mallet's Mallet made us wonder whether one could still buy Surprise Peas in the shops.

These were packets of freeze-dried garden peas, an alternative to "fresh-frozen" ones you kept in the freezer, which you simply tipped into boiling water to cook in the same way. Introduced in the late 60s(?), about the same time as the Vesta dried curry meals, they were a boon for anyone who had limited freezer space, eg, students who just relied upon the old fridges with a small icebox.

It was a Unilever product, from their Batchelors division, and it appears to have been withdrawn some time in the 1990s. There was no other manufacturer (for supermarket own-labels, for example) so only the old-fashioned dried peas you have to soak for hours, to make mushy peas, remain on the shelves in the UK. However, it is still sold in Australia and New Zealand, where there is demand from travellers going into the outback and remote areas,



and, by a different company, and more as a military/survival/emergency ration type product in the USA - http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/browseproducts/Freeze-Dried-Peas-(Case).html

As a condition of its takeover of Bestfoods in 2001, Unilever had to sell off Batchelors, and it was bought by the iconic Campbell's Soup Company of America, famous for its condensed soups and Andy Warhol-designed labels. Although Campbells is still going, and sold in 120 countries worldwide, they decided to bale out of the UK in 2006, selling Batchelors to Premier Foods; however they only allowed them to continue to use the Campbells brand name until 2008, so it has completely disappeared from British grocery shelves as well.
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MadeinSurrey



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 3130
Location: The Beautiful South

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff, Ron, I had not noticed that Campbell's soup had gone too! Wasn't really my cup-of-soup, but shame that such an iconic brand has disappeared.

Mention of Surprise peas just takes me straight back to my childhood, I can still taste them! Don't remember seeing them when I was in Oz, I'll have to ask the Antipodean branch of the family to look out for them.
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colby



Joined: 06 Feb 2009
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The iconic Campbell's logo is still visible from the A47 as you drive past the soup factory at King's Lynn, West Norfolk. I think the place is now closed too.
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 18066
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know the Campbell's name had gone for good now, but recall the sale of Batchelors. Thanks again Ron for the info!

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