Prego (Italian for "Don't mention it!, You're welcome!") is a trade mark brand name pasta sauce of Campbell Soup Company. It was introduced internationally in 1981. Prego offers many different varieties. The traditional pasta sauce is available in nineteen different flavors including marinara, traditional, mini meatball, zesty mushroom, and roasted garlic Parmesan. In Prego's Organic line, two flavors (Organic Mushroom and Organic Tomato and Basil) are made with all organicingredients. A third line in the Prego Pasta Sauce family is called Hearty Meat sauce. It comes in Meatball Parmesan, Authentic Italian Sausage, and Three Meat Supreme flavours. Yet another line is called Chunky Garden Pasta Sauce which consists of flavors such as Garden Combination, Mushroom Supreme, Mushrooms & Green Pepper, and Tomato, Onion & Garlic. In Asia, specific regional flavors are available, including Tom Yam in Thailand and Malaysia.
Prego was the result of efforts in the 1970s by Campbell's Soup to expand its work with tomatoes beyond the soup business. Although senior management originally wanted to create a product to directly attack Heinz (which had sued Campbell's Soup over unfair business practices) the company had no competitive advantage producing ketchup. On the other hand, Campbell's R&D group and Chef Werner Schilling developed a process to allow thick tomato sauce to be mass-produced without "weeping" (separation of water from the solids). The other major companies in the pasta sauce market, Ragu and Hunts, used starch to achieve thickness, which limited the appeal of store bought sauce for families who wanted a sauce comparable to home made. As a result of the anti-weeping innovation and smart marketing, Prego became one of the most successful grocery product launches of the early 1980s.
In 1986 after growth had leveled off, Campbell's Soup consulted with Howard Moskowitz, a practitioner in the field of psychophysics. His process involved the development of systematic variations of specific ingredients in the formula which then were tried by volunteers. After placing numeric values to each tester's perception on each of the variants, a mathematical model was created to develop the final recipe, which maximized the perceived taste while minimizing the cost of the ingredients needed to produce it.
The brand was involved in a commercial controversy when it featured Clara Peller in one of its ads. The elderly woman was shown holding a gigantic prop jar of one of the meaty varieties of Prego, saying, "I finally found it!" It was a reference to her earlier work in ads for Wendy's Restaurants and the catchphrase, "Where's the beef?" Wendy's had not authorized her appearance in the Prego commercial and stopped using Peller in its campaigns.