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YORK, PA — It is one of those simple ideas that will probably cause people to say "Why didn't I think of that?" when they see it.

Soup and salad are a natural pair, but according to Lifestyle Foods Inc., the combination has never been put together in a package sold in U.S. produce aisles until now.

The company, which offers a line of about 20 salads and snacks in sleek packaging with modern graphics to shoppers who are active and on the go, unveiled a line of four soup-and-salad kits at a launch party Nov. 13 here at its headquarters in central Pennsylvania.

The four varieties, comprised of three soup-and-salad kits and one oatmeal kit, will have a 10-day shelf life and will be available initially on the East Coast in mid-December, said Jason Bross, Lifestyle Foods’ founder, president and chief executive officer.

The three soup-and-salad combinations, all of which have 125 calories or less, are vegetarian vegetable soup or tomato basil soup with a garden salad, and chicken noodle soup with a Caesar salad.

The patent-pending kits, all of which weigh approximately 10 ounces, have two compartments. One contains the salad and a package of light dressing (Caesar, Italian or ranch), or an apple, raisins and turbinado (or natural brown) sugar. The second houses a separate pullout plastic container with soup or oatmeal.

A cardboard sleeve on the outside of the kits doubles as an insulator for the microwaveable soup or oatmeal container, and also utilizes materials that meet the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s Certified Fiber Sourcing program.

Mr. Bross told The Produce News that the line, which has been under development for the past two years, was “a completely organic idea that was a collective effort amongst our team. As we expand our business, we wanted to find a product that was simple and not being done, and that’s really how it came about.”

He was proud of the steps that Lifestyle Foods took to make the line as healthy as possible, including using Greek yogurt instead of cream as a base for its tomato basil soup because it is higher in protein and lower in fat and calories. The firm uses sea salt instead of table salt in all three soup varieties, uses steel-cut oats in its oatmeal and offers only all-natural, light dressings.

“We intend on focusing on getting it to supermarkets, convenience stores and anywhere where there is grab-and-go” needs, such as hospitals, colleges and airports, he said. “We’re super-excited to get it out there and get started.”