11 October 2016
By Tetra Pak Editorial Team
The soup aisle has come a long way in the past decade. Today, new flavors like curry pumpkin and potato leek are nestled between stalwarts like tomato and chicken noodle. As consumer preferences have evolved to favor more diversity—and fewer additives—in their diets, soup producers have met the challenge with an array of palate-pleasing options such as ethnic flavors and lower sodium, often while bucking traditional packaging in favor of more convenient, sustainable options.

This embrace of soup diversity is an opportunity for food companies to build momentum and potentially drive category-wide growth. Here are some trends we’ve seen that could help pull more people into the soup aisle with more occasions to use and enjoy soup.

Increase consumption opportunities with on-the-go options

Think of soup and most people see it in a bowl with a spoon. But sitting down to enjoy a bowl of hot soup isn’t always feasible, especially for the 45 percent of global consumers who replace meals with snacking on the go to support their busy lifestyles, according to Nielsen. To break free from the spoon and increase consumption occasions – including during warmer months when consumers typically eat less soup – companies may consider ways to help people enjoy soup cold and away from a table. Fawen is one such brand marketing its refrigerated, drinkable soups as a “power snack” packed with healthy vegetables. Its convenient packaging makes it easy to enjoy anywhere, anytime. Santa Teresa Gourmet, meanwhile, offers the traditional gazpacho soup in convenient packaging.

Appeal to the fitness-focused

Eating soup and dieting often go hand-in-hand. But soups can offer more than just a low-calorie meal for those watching their weight. Functional soups containing things like calcium or vitamin C are a potentially a big opportunity for producers seeking to meet the needs of active consumers.

Bone broths and soups making “free-from” claims such as preservative free, gluten free, and lactose free, could also easily find a place in shopping carts of those looking for healthy options that support fitness and weight loss.

Unlock the inner chef in us all with condensed soup

Playing off today’s mainstream celebrity chef and cooking show culture, many companies are inspiring home cooks to see soup as an ingredient rather than the meal itself. Broth in a closeable carton paved the way for this trend, becoming a pantry staple because it could be kept in the refrigerator and used over the course of a week’s worth of tasty meals. Condensed soup soon followed with its starring role in green bean casseroles and chicken with mushroom sauce. Broth has since become a more varied category and condensed soup can follow its lead, acting as a sauce or meal-starter.

With these simple tactics, food companies can earn consumer loyalty by positioning soup as the cornerstone of a healthy diet and an ingredient able to spark culinary imagination.

For more ways to boost the soup category through packaged options, view our infographic on Millennials’ preference for cartons.
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