Review: Archer Farms Chicken & Dumpling Soup

If you’ve been perusing the soup section of Target as I have, you may have noticed that the number of cans has been slowly dwindling from the shelves. In their place, an odd assortment of cardboard boxes with pictures of soup on them have appeared. In fact, these are the soup, they’re not just another victim of the housing crisis and metal salvaging.

I love the idea of soup in a box, and honestly Target hit the nail on the head with this one. The square shape of the box allows you to more easily store these in the pantry without making those awkward can pyramids. There’s more maneuverability since they can be flipped on their side without rolling around, and they’re probably a lot harder to damage than those thin cans.

There’s less clunky cleanup with a box that nicely folds instead of a can that can cut your garbage bag as you’re walking it out to the trash, really the list goes on. Oh and it’s probably a lot cheaper for Target when it comes to packaging and shipping.

You also get more soup for your buck, at $1.26 for 18oz compared to $1.40 for 10oz of Campbell’s soup. Hell, I’ll go for any alternate method that will lower the amount of lacerations and burns I will inevitably obtain in the ensuing two to three hour cooking process. And since this is soup, we can go even further and cook it in the microwave.

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While our dish cools down from its current temperature of boiling lava, let’s look at the nutrition facts. Each package contains two servings of soup, and each serving contains 160 calories, 6g fat, 30mg cholesterol, and 890mg of sodium. Hey, what do you expect? It’s soup! I could go for the low sodium version, but I happen to be allergic to being miserable.

There’s also 140mg of potassium, 18g carbs, 2g sugar, and 8g protein. You also get 35% vitamin A, 4% calcium, and 6% iron.

So how is soup from a box? Honestly it’s pretty strange. I’m used to the vegetables in canned soups getting pretty mushy, due to the canning process pulverizing the contents, but this is nothing like that. The chicken, for what it’s worth, maintains its texture and is pretty much what you’d expect from cubed meat, albeit less slimy than the canned stuff.

The vegetables, on the other hand, just fall apart. They aren’t mushy, they aren’t crunchy, they lose pretty much all of their flavor. They just dissolve in your mouth. They don’t fall apart into anything, they just fall apart. I had to get a second opinion to make sure I wasn’t having that vegetable hallucination again.

All in all this is pretty standard stuff. The cream broth is a lot less heavy on the salt than you might expect, not that you’d know it from looking at the nutrition label. The chicken is lean, the dumplings hold their own and add a nice touch, and the green beans, carrots, and peas are just there to take up space and look pretty.

I like the idea of soup in a box as it’s the next step to the inevitable soup in a self-heating squeeze tube like the Gogurt, and then probably the Shameless Consumer choking to death on a dumpling in one of those squeeze tubes. At the very least, I wouldn’t have to worry about setting the kitchen on fire, again.

Verdict: 4.5/5. The new “style” of the boxed soup takes a little bit to get used to, but frankly I enjoyed it better than the canned stuff.

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