Is Progresso chicken noodle soup gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical or lifestyle reasons. For those following a gluten-free diet, checking labels and ingredient lists is an important part of meal planning. Many classic comfort foods, like chicken noodle soup, are naturally gluten-free. However, some brands may add ingredients or processing aids containing gluten. This raises the question – is Progresso chicken noodle soup gluten-free?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It helps give elasticity and shape to dough. For most people, gluten doesn’t cause any issues. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, headache and more. The only treatment is to follow a strict lifelong gluten-free diet, avoiding any foods and ingredients containing gluten proteins.

Why Progresso chicken noodle soup may contain gluten

Chicken noodle soup seems like a naturally gluten-free food. Chicken and vegetables don’t inherently contain gluten. However, during processing and manufacturing, wheat-containing ingredients may be added for flavor, thickening or other functional purposes:

  • Flour – Wheat flour is sometimes used as a thickening agent in canned soups.
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein – Used as a flavor enhancer.
  • Malt or malt extract – Derived from barley and used as a flavoring.
  • Pasta – Some chicken noodle soups contain wheat-based egg noodles or pasta.
  • Starch – Wheat starch is sometimes added to canned soups.
  • Modified food starch – Can be made from wheat and used as a thickener.
  • Dextrin – Made from starch and used as a stabilizer or thickener.

In addition, cross-contact during manufacturing can introduce small amounts of gluten into otherwise gluten-free foods:

  • Shared equipment – Machinery used to make wheat-containing foods may also be used for gluten-free items.
  • Shared facilities – Gluten-free and gluten-containing products made and packaged in the same location.

So while chicken noodle soup seems like it should be gluten-free, the manufacturing process means it could potentially contain gluten. Checking the label is important.

Reading the Progresso chicken noodle soup label

To know for sure if a particular Progresso chicken noodle soup is gluten-free, check the product packaging and ingredient list. Here are some things to look for:

  • Gluten-free claim – Progresso may explicitly state “Gluten-Free” on the front label if the product has been tested to verify it meets regulatory requirements for a gluten-free food.
  • “No gluten ingredients” – This means that no wheat, rye, barley or oats were intentionally added during manufacturing. However, gluten cross-contact could still occur.
  • No wheat-containing ingredients – Scan the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t list wheat, barley, rye, malt or other gluten-containing ingredients.
  • “Processed in a facility that also processes wheat” – This means gluten cross-contact may occur during manufacturing.
  • Certifications – Progresso may choose to get their gluten-free products certified by organizations like the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP).

If any gluten-containing grains or ingredients are listed, or the label doesn’t indicate the soup is gluten-free, it’s safest for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to avoid that particular variety.

Some Progresso chicken noodle soups are labeled gluten-free

After reviewing the Progresso website and looking at labels in stores, it appears some (but not all) of their chicken noodle soup varieties are formulated to be gluten-free:

  • Progresso Rich & Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup – Labeled “Gluten Free” on packaging.
  • Progresso 99% Fat Free Chicken Noodle Soup – States “No gluten ingredients” on label.
  • Progresso Light Chicken Noodle Soup – Lists “No gluten ingredients” on label.

For these varieties, Progresso seems to have removed wheat-containing ingredients like pasta and replaced them with corn or rice-based alternatives to create a gluten-free recipe.

Precautions when eating gluten-free labeled Progresso soups

If you choose to eat a Progresso chicken noodle soup variety that is labeled gluten-free, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Check labels every time you buy it – Manufacturers can change product ingredients without warning.
  • Beware of cross-contact – Even if made without gluten ingredients, cross-contact during manufacturing could introduce gluten.
  • Look for certification – GFCP or other third-party certification provides added assurance.
  • Try a small serving first – Introduce new products slowly to check for any reactions.
  • Call the company if uncertain – You can call Progresso to ask about their protocols for making gluten-free products.
  • Advocate for more gluten-free options – Contact Progresso telling them you’d purchase more soup varieties if they were gluten-free.

Following these tips helps minimize any risk of gluten exposure when choosing foods labeled gluten-free.

Other Progresso soups to avoid

While some chicken noodle varieties are gluten-free, many other Progresso soups contain gluten. Always check each individual flavor. Here are some common Progresso soups that likely contain gluten:

  • Progresso Vegetable Classics – Most contain wheat flour, pasta or barley.
  • Progresso Light Soups – Many list wheat flour, pasta, barley or malt.
  • Progresso Traditional Soups – Often contain pasta, wheat flour or barley.
  • Progresso Chunky Soups – Frequently include pasta, wheat flour or barley.
  • Progresso Organic Soups – Most list wheat flour or barley malt.

Unless otherwise labeled gluten-free, it’s best to assume these Progresso soups contain gluten.

Other gluten-free soup brands

If you want more variety beyond Progresso’s limited gluten-free chicken noodle options, consider these other soup brands offering many gluten-free flavors:

  • Pacific Foods – Wide range of organic gluten-free soups.
  • Imagine Foods – Numerous gluten-free soups and broths.
  • Wolfgang Puck Organic Soups – Many certified gluten-free varieties.
  • Amy’s Kitchen – Some gluten-free soup options, labeled “gluten-free” on pack.
  • Campbell’s – A handful of “gluten-free” labeled soup varieties.

As always, check labels and ingredients for any gluten-containing grains before purchasing.

Making your own gluten-free chicken noodle soup

For maximum control over ingredients, consider making homemade gluten-free chicken noodle soup. This allows you to control the ingredients while also customizing flavors to your tastes.

Here is a simple recipe to try:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup rice noodles or cornstarch-based gf pasta
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil.
  2. Add chicken breasts, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove cooked chicken and shred or dice into bite-sized pieces once cool enough to handle.
  4. Add carrots, celery and onion to broth. Return to a simmer and cook 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  5. Add shredded chicken back to pot along with rice noodles, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  6. Cook 5 minutes more until noodles are tender.
  7. Remove bay leaf before serving. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Making homemade chicken noodle soup lets you control the ingredients so you can be sure it’s 100% gluten-free. You can taste and tweak the recipe over time to create your perfect bowl of gluten-free comfort food.

Conclusion

While many Progresso soups contain gluten, some of their chicken noodle varieties are specially formulated to be gluten-free. For those needing to avoid gluten, be sure to carefully check the label of each Progresso soup variety, as ingredients can vary. Some other soup brands also offer gluten-free options. And you can always make your own customized gluten-free chicken noodle soup at home. With the right label reading and choice of products or recipes, people who are gluten-free don’t have to give up the classic comfort food of chicken noodle soup.

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