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Prego offers many different varieties. The traditional pasta sauce is available in nineteen different flavors including marinara, traditional, mini meatball, zesty mushroom, and roasted garlic Parmesan. In Prego's Organic line, two flavors (Organic Mushroom and Organic Tomato and Basil) are made with all organic ingredients. A third line in the Prego Pasta Sauce family is called Hearty Meat sauce. It comes in Meatball Parmesan, Authentic Italian Sausage, and Three Meat Supreme flavours. Yet another line is called Chunky Garden Pasta Sauce which consists of flavors such as Garden Combination, Mushroom Supreme, Mushrooms & Green Pepper, and Tomato, Onion & Garlic. In Asia, specific regional flavors are available, including Tom Yam in Thailand and Malaysia.
Prego was the result of efforts in the 1970s by Campbell Soup to leverage its core competency working with tomatoes beyond the soup business. Although senior management wanted to attack Heinz (which had sued Campbell Soup over unfair business practices) the company had no competitive advantage producing ketchup. On the other hand, Campbell's R&D group had developed a process to allow thick tomato sauce to be mass-produced without "weeping" (separation of water from the solids). The incumbents in the market, Ragu and Hunts, used starch to achieve thickness, which limited the appeal of store bought sauce for families who wanted a sauce comparable to home made. As a result of the anti-weeping innovation and smart marketing, Prego became one of the most successful grocery product launches of the early 1980s.
In 1986 after growth had leveled off, Campbell Soup consulted with Howard Moskowitz, a practitioner in the field of psychophysics. His process involved the development of systematic variations of specific ingredients in the formula which then were tried by voluntary subjects. After placing numeric values to each tester's perception on each of the variants, a mathematical model was created to develop the final recipe, which maximized the perceived taste while minimizing the cost of the ingredients needed to produce it.
The brand was involved in a commercial controversy when it featured Clara Peller in one of its ads. The elderly woman was shown holding a gigantic prop jar of one of the meaty varieties of Prego, saying, "I finally found it!" It was a reference to her earlier work in ads for Wendy's Restaurants and the catchphrase, "Where's the beef?" Wendy's had not authorized her appearance in the Prego commercial and stopped using Peller in its campaigns.
- "Campbell Soup Company -- Company History". FundingUniverse.com.
- Gladwell, Malcolm (September 6, 2004). "The Ketchup Conundrum". The New Yorker. gladwell.com. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "AROUND THE NATION ; Woman in 'Beef' Ad Is Dropped by Wendy's". The New York Times. United Press International. March 23, 1985. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
- "Clara Peller, the Actress In 'Where's the Beef?' TV Ad". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 12, 1987. Obituaries. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
- "Investments: An Affirmative Action". Time. April 1, 1985. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
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