Campbell’s FlavorUp! cooking concentrate is a new, tasty cheat for cooks

Campbell's new Flavor Up! cooking concentrates add a burst of flavor to whatever you're cooking with a simple squeeze of the bottle. / Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS

Everyone likes a shortcut or two when they're making dinner, especially on busy weeknights. Campbell Soup Co. has come to the rescue with a new product it promises will cut down on some of that annoying, time-consuming prep time, making whatever you're cooking not just easier to get on the table but also faster and more affordably.

The help comes in the form of three cooking concentrates under Campbell's new FlavorUp! label that eliminate the need for the chopping and measuring of spices and aromatics, such as onion and garlic, cooks routinely use to build a meal's flavor.

Linda Lee, chief marketing officer for Campbell's Meals & Beverages, calls the concentrates "the new cooking hack."

The squeezable bottles are available in three varieties -- Rich Garlic & Herb, Caramelized Onion & Burgundy Wine and Savory Mushroom & Herb -- all of which can be stirred into any meat, grain, vegetable or plant-based protein dish for an instant pop of flavor and complexity. In keeping with today's trend toward more healthful eating, they're made without added MSG or high-fructose corn syrup.

"We know consumers enjoy cooking at home, but their needs are changing and budgets are tighter," she said in a release. "They appreciate the benefits of a homemade meal but are busy and want restaurant-quality flavor with minimal prep time. FlavorUp! provides a versatile and flavorful solution that will help home cooks broaden their cooking repertoire to bring an easy, elevated experience to the dinner table."

This is actually pretty big news for the 150-year-old soup company, as the 11-ounce concentrates are Campbell's first major brand launch since 2016. They cost $4.59 for 52 (1-teaspoon) servings, and each bottle also comes with a QR code you can scan for a library of recipes. In another first for the company, you can find them in the dry seasoning aisle of major grocery stores and retailers, and also on Amazon.

I tried the Rich Garlic & Herb flavor in a one-pan pasta dish featuring sausage and broccoli rabe that the company provided as a tester. Rather than carefully measure the concentrate as the recipe card suggested, I made the mistake of freewheeling it with a couple big squeezes. The complementary flavors of rosemary and garlic shone through, but believe the label when it says "no extra need for salt." The result was overwhelmingly so (1 teaspoon has 440 milligrams of sodium): Next time, I'll season a little more cautiously.

All in all, though, it's definitely a time saver for busy cooks.