Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekday Vegetarian: Nourish

Photo: Lloyd Alter, of the ingredients in Nourish

by Kelly Rossiter, Toronto

When my husband and I were at the Brewer's Plate this week, amidst the fancy chefs with their enticing dishes of stuffed morels, and beef brochettes and the like, there was a familiar red and white logo which seemed slightly out of place. It was the Campbell's logo familiar from my childhood and the staff were ladling out a new product called Nourish.

This cross between a stew and a soup was developed here in Ontario, using a special oat grown exclusively in Manitoba which has twice the fibre, ten times the protein and eight times the iron of rice. It was developed with the idea of providing a complete nutritious meal to people who use food banks, as well as for disaster relief. It provides a balanced meal with vegetables, grains, meat or meat substitutes that can be eaten hot or cold without the need of water and it has a pop-up lid. I think it's quite important that they have a vegetarian version of this, and that's the one I tasted. I have to say, the flavour profile was completely recognizable to me as a Campbell product, but that's okay, obviously lots of people love that.

Campbell Canada donated the first 100,000 cans to Food Banks Canada for distribution, and according to Inside Toronto, 100% of the net profit will be reinvested into "further hunger relief initatives". Campbell Canada donates 1 million pounds of food a year to food banks and also supports community kitchens. Soon the public will be able to buy Nourish and donate it in in-store bins for food banks. I've read some snarky blog sites that wonder whether this is really a marketing ploy, but it seems to me that if I were of necessity a food bank user, I would much rather give my children a can of vegetarian Nourish, with real vegetables and grains, than a can of spaghetti that's all carbohydrates, which is what you often see in donation bins. I'd be thanking Campbell's rather than cynically condemning them.

I'm hoping that the well-heeled patrons of the Brewer's Plate took a moment away from their spectacular food and beer tastings to try Nourish, and when it becomes available will take the opportunity to donate it to people who need it, whether that is for food banks or for disaster relief.

More Information on Food Banks

Could You Live on a Food Bank Diet?
Gleaning for the Hungry
Feed the Hungry with Local Food