I’m Done With Progresso Soup

I would like to kick the ass of the son of a bitch at General Mills who came up with the unsuitable and deadly metal can top for their Progresso Soup line. Progresso Soup, presumably in an effort to compete with the Campbell’s Chunky Soup counterpart, has recently swapped their standard metal can — which was previously normal and easily opened with a commonplace can opener — with one that has a metal ring. Like Chunky Soup, the idea here is to lift the ring up and peel off the top of the can and provide convenience to consumers. The problem, however, is that the apparent R&D genius — clearly unaware of the forces of gravity and settling upon a thinner and presumably cheaper tab than Chunky Soup’s version — hasn’t considered that the fatter and shorter cylinder offered by Progresso is less conducive to this immediate can-opening strategy than the thinner and taller counterpart offered by Chunky Soup.

What resulted, as I attempted to make myself a modest lunch this afternoon, was me pulling up the tab, applying no more puissance than anyone else in tearing off the lid, with the jagged top jeering dramatically upwards with a force incommensurate to what I had effected with my thumb and forefinger. The deadly elliptical edge then made its way deeply into my right thumb — metal particulates embedding themselves, hitting nerves, causing all manner of “You Progresso motherfuckers!” to emerge from my lips, thus sullying the divine silence of my apartment, and a ruddy Peckinpah geyser of blood spawned from a vicious cut that took almost two hours to clot.

I would like to find the bastard who came up with this design, whose idea of lunch is a Robespierrean homage, and I want to watch this man open up one hundred cans of Progresso Soup and watch his own hands be sliced by his abominable creation. I am not normally a vengeful monkey, but, in this case, I want to see the bastard cry after opening up Can #89 and then have to carry on opening eleven more cans, all of them causing additional cuts.

I present this episode to warn any and all consumers of Progresso Soup that these new cans are deathtraps. And that the forty cent difference between Progresso and Chunky Soup really isn’t worth it. Particularly when you have a shitload of deadlines to meet.

(This is the reason why, by the way, I’m not answering email today.)


  1. Something similarly painful happened to people in Sweden way back, when some R&D genius tried to talk Swedes into cutting their fingers on a “new, improved” pull-to-open bottlecap.

    (The nation-wide ad campaign for the “improved” bottlecaps showed a smiling child about to pull the bottlecap lid open… which, in hindsight, seemed shocklingly sadistic.)

  2. I swear I’m not making this up:

    For brief while (my memory is hazy on the exact date — the 80s?), an enormous amounts of glass bottles with a pull-the-ring-to-open bottlecap were produced in Sweden… and everybody hated them.

    You easily cut your finger trying to open it, because you created a sharp metal edge when the cap “sliced” open. I’ve tried it myself. An utter idiocy. The “improved” bottlecap was soon abandoned and never used again.

    I don’t know what became of the “genius” designer, but I suppose he emigrated to America and got a job at… General Mills!!

  3. Hope you got that cut checked out, Ed. My bro-in-law did something similar with a knife last year and learned that not only did he need stitches, he needed an operation to reattach the nerves he’d severed… otherwise he would have had no feeling on the side of his hand for the rest of his life.

  4. While I don’t follow your column because that would take time and effort, I did stumble upon this little rave while searching out dirt on Progresso. I survived the evil pull tab top (probably due in part to my small feminine fingers but who knows), only to be sent to the ER by the foul disgusting detergent I happened to take a sip of straight out of the convenient microwavable can. Because who checks their food these days anyways. After purging (I’ll spare the details) this gourmet sip of soup for 2 days I called the number pronted on the side of the can in #3 font. Progresso offered to mail me a certificate for a free can. Hey this is a free world and if Progresso wants to screw consumers and make a buck or a billion that’s their right!!!

  5. Dude, are you really complaining about this??? I mean, really???
    I’ve bought mainly Progresso long before these pull tabs ever came out….(did you complain/write an article about the sharp lid you got from that old fashioned can opener??- didn’t think so) – anyway, my point being, if you are too frail or uncoordinated to get that lid off without cutting yourself up, why not just get one of those newer style can openers that open by cutting the outside edge of the can, no sharp edges & the top can be used as a cover/lid on the can for unused portions- you can use it on any can whether it has a pull tab or not….problem solved….& yes, I’d rather save 40 cents a can & get the better tasting product…..learn to solve your problems instead of blaming others……..I guess you’ll complain about those “Michelin motherfuckers” the next time you scrape your knuckles changing a flat tire BECAUSE Michelin didn’t account for your lack of coordination…….I’m wondering how I can get a job complaining about shit like this!

  6. Same thing just happened to my mother. 5 stitches. The bottom of the can is round and cannot be opened with a can opener. The top is inset too deeply to allow the use of any style of can opener as near as I can tell. Seriously, how safe can the packaging be if it has to come with a safety warning printed right on it?

  7. 4 days ago I cut my finger almost to the bone on a Progresso soup can. The first company rep I spoke with was genuinely concerned and said that they’d like the cans back to check them. Then a woman named Kathy Smith called and lectured me that when you open cans with an opener they are sharp. When I informed her that this was a pull top she could have cared less and lectured me again.When I refused her offer of coupons she ended the call as if she had done all she could do. I wrote them ONLY to save others from these cans as I’ve never been cut this badly even after a lifetime of cooking.

  8. i was eating progresso soup when i found a small thin wire in the soup. i think it came from the pop top lid or the can . when i looked close there was still a piece of metal on the lids outside rim .this piece was as thin as a human hair.i think when these cans are opened the cans construction make it possible for this to happen .i saved the wire which is apx one inch long metal and very dangerous if swallowed . it seems to be somewhat coated with the same coating thats on the inside of the can . has anyone else had this happen to them?

  9. I had to go to the ER and get 6 stitches (4 in my middle finger, 2 in my pointer) from a pop-top can of garbanzo beans!! The tab would not pull the lid off so I pulled harder, resulting in the top flying up and slicing almost an entire layer of skin off.. there were fat cells and blood spewing out everywhere. First time I have ever had to get stitches in my entire life. These cans are absurd. Never using a pop top can again. Sticking to the good, old-fashioned can openers! (FYI – it was a can of garbanzo beans from Lidl)

  10. I experienced the same damned thing using one of Campbell soups ‘Yes’ soup cans. Deep cut with lots of blood. Ridiculous design.

  11. Yes John my son had a piece of the same kind of metal in his soup! He had it in his mouth and spit it out SMH. I called the company.

  12. I use my can opener with the Progresso Soup Can…..it skips around the lid a few times and I have to repeat. You hear a “snap” when going over the voids. Then I insert a Knife into the slot to lift up the Lid. But then, I am lucky to be a professional Mechanic!

  13. I use my can opener with the Progresso Soup Can…..it skips around the lid a few times and I have to repeat. You hear a “snap” when going over the voids. Then I insert a Knife into the slot to lift up the Lid. But then, I am lucky to be a professional Mechanic!

  14. And I thought I was the only one who couldn’t open a can of Progresso soup. I have 4 cans In my refrigerator, all unopened minus the ring. I love the soup but hate the ring.
    Until there is an improvement in the opening device, I am not buying cans with ring openers.

  15. I see many of you have had this same issue. Well, I’m here to be your fairy god mother. You’re welcome. Only use the pull tab to get it open just enough that you can stick a knife under the lid. Then, use the knife to push the rest of the can’s lid up. Don’t put too much force on the knife as you lift, or else the lid’ll fly up and instead of a few stitches on your finger, you’ll end up with a multitude of stitches on your head. The only reason I ever did this in the first place was because me, being a dumb teenager, put enough force on the pull tab that it ended up flying off, and, thanks to the wonderful engineering of the lid, my attempts at using a can opener were for naught. So, I knifed it, like the little savage that I am.

  16. if you’re so damn drunk you can’t fucking open a goddamn can of soup without fucking your finger up you oughta give up drinking

  17. I don’t care what anyone else says.. I CAN’T OPEN THE CAN WITH THE RING. I will never buy Progresso soup again. PERIOD!

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