Customers can’t get enough of the convenience and comfort offered by soup. That’s why, in addition to ffering a la carte soup in the kettle or hot bar, bundling
shopper-favorite soup varieties into a complete meal package
with an entrée, sides and dessert is a smart sales strategy.
According to Technomic’s 2016 Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad
report, 44% of consumers say they enjoy soup from a grocery
store’s prepared foods section at least once a month. In addition,
40% of consumers say that when they dine at restaurants, they’re
likely to order soup as an appetizer, so there’s good potential
benefit for operators to offer soup in a full-meal bundle.
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR MEAL KITS
When consumers are pressed for time, often the easiest way
they can lighten their load is by getting carryout or delivery
instead of cooking at home. And increasingly, instead of going to
restaurants, those busy consumers are turning to grocery store
prepared foods departments for help.
In fact, an impressive 91% of consumers say they purchase
prepared foods from a grocery store at least once a month,
according to Technomic’s 2017 Retailer Meal Solutions report.
And as for why they pick up prepared meals, 37% say it’s
because they are too tired to cook, while 35% say they don’t
have the time to. For these busy consumers, meal bundles
including an appetizer, entree, sides and dessert are quick,
easy and convenient for feeding their families. Adding soup as
an appetizer provides a coziness and allows grocers to riff on
themes, try out new flavors and more.
SOUP: VERSATILE AND DELICIOUS
Popular soup varieties such as tomato and chicken noodle are
a no-brainer for prepared foods package deals, as are pairing
themes such as Italian wedding soup and lasagna with cannoli
And as with the soup kettle, more unusual varieties (such as
Thai chicken soup, organic lentil and chickpea or shrimp and
roasted corn chowder) are worth offering in the rotation to
appeal to consumers who want to try something different. In
fact, the a la carte soup program can be used as a tracking and
testing device to determine which soups can be bundled most
Some additional tips for selling more soup both in meal kits and
a la carte include:
• Offering a seafood soup such as lobster bisque or clam chowder
along with a seafood entree on Friday, to call to mind popular
‘Friday Fish Fry’ concepts
• Allowing customers to mix-and-match from a set selection of
popular soup varieties
• Offering a pre-order service for bundled meal packages that
encourage customization: shopper’s choice of soup, entree, sides
• Serving heartier soups for colder weather or a snow day: Try soups
such as beef and barley or baked potato. For warmer months, try
gazpacho or chicken ginseng soup.
• Don’t forget the vegetarian set, which also includes wellness-oriented shoppers who are simply cutting down on meat rather
than overhauling their entire diet. A vegetarian entrée coupled
with garden vegetable soup or roasted red pepper and smoked
gouda bisque addresses these preferences in a tasty way.
• Many consumers are avoiding gluten, for a variety of reasons.
Fortunately, manufacturers have made it easier with fully
prepared foods that address the challenges of this specialized diet.
These options should be clearly identified in all marketing and
ordering materials, as well as at the point of sale.
For operators who want to add soup to their prepared meal
kits, doing so in the form of an appetizer is the perfect way to
do it. It allows for variety and provides busy shoppers with a
comforting, tasty meal.
SOUP’S ON! BOOST SOUP
SALES WITH MEAL KITS