V8® Juice is a juice made by the Campbell Soup Company from vegetables.
The vegetables used are beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, spinach, tomatoes and watercress. Tomato is the most dominant taste, along with that of seasonings that are added.
The juice is bottled, then pasteurized to preserve it. The main plant in North America is in Napoleon, Ohio.
The juice has been the object of many imitation attempts, both commercially and by home juicing enthusiasts.
V8 Juice can be used in soups, sauces and mixed drinks. When using in cooking, you may wish to hold back on adding additional salt or other seasonings until you taste the final result.
V8 Juice contains most of the nutrients in the vegetables used, though it lacks all the fibre and contains added sodium. There is now (2004) a lower sodium version.
Bottles of V8 Juice come with a proper month and year date stamp on the lid, marking the expiry date.
V8 was invented in 1933 by a W.G. Peacock in Evanston, Illinois. But it didn’t taste very good, so he went at the formula again. In 1934, he had something more tasty.
He called the product at first “Veg Min.” The V8 name was suggested by a clerk at a grocery store he was visting on his initial sales rounds to drum up interest.
By 1936, he started production, with initial major sales actually in New England. By 1938, he couldn’t keep up with demand on his own, as he was doing everything by hand, so in April of that year he sold the recipe to Loudon Packing Company, in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Loudon took over the processing and packaging of V8.
In 1943, Loudon was bought by Standard Brands for $3,000,000.
In 1945, Campbell’s starting negotiating with Standard Brands for the purchase of V8. The sale went through in 1948. Campbell’s actually already had its own tomato juice, but felt that tomato juice was becoming a generic low-cost product. They wanted something proprietary and higher-end. Production of V8 was moved to Saratoga, Indiana.
In 1975, production was moved to Napoleon, Ohio.
When Campbell’s acquired the product and started new marketing for it, one of the first people they used was the actor, Ronald Reagan.
Literature & Lore
“A home producer from Illinois named W.G. Peacock had come up with a zesty tomato juice which included hand-cleaned carrots, celery, parsley, and beets. Mr Peacock initially decided to call his concoction ‘Vege-Min’.
One day after counting up the number of ingredients, Mr Peacock decided on a new name for his juice. Then, after counting up the growing number of orders, he decided his juice should have a new owner as well. The Loudon Packing Company would soon begin to product and market ‘V-8 Juice.’ In 1948, when the Campbell Soup Company finally purchased the brand, gross sales were approaching $5,000,000.” — Roznowski, Tom. An American Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana: Quary Books. 2009. Page 147.
“Stockholders approve sale of Loudon Packing. Chicago, May 22. The board of directors and stockholders of the Loudon Packing Company authorized the sale of all assets to Standard Brands, Inc, for a cash purchase price of $3,000,000.” The sale provided for Loudon, a Delaware corporation, with its principal office in Terre Haute, Ind., to be dissolved immediately upon consummation of the sale.” — Pittsburgh Press, section 3, page 6, 23 May 1943.