SOUP, THERE IT IS!
Sales are heating up as the category shifts toward
clean-label, grab-and-go and ethnic flavor profiles.
BY NATALIE TAYLOR
FOR MANY, THE THOUGHT OF FRESH SOUP often invokes child- hood memories of Mom or Grandma stewing over a large pot on a cold winter’s day. Whether nursing the flu, heartache or simply cabin fever, hot soup is considered the ultimate com- fort food during the cooler months. But as the category shifts
toward clean label, grab-and-go convenience and ethnic flavor profiles,
consumers are now sipping on soups year-round – and manufacturers
have been dishing out ample innovation to keep up.
“At Weis Markets, we haven’t seen a dip in sales of hot or cold soups
throughout the summer months, proving that consumers are eating
soup all year round,” says Elaine Cole, director of deli and food service
at Weis Markets, based in Sunbury, Pa. “It’s no longer just for winter.”
Weis’ Meal Solutions program offers individual and family-size
heat-and-serve meals – including soups, salads, ravioli and rotisserie
chicken – at an affordable price. “Today’s busy, time-starved families
are looking for more convenient and wholesome options,” says Cole.
“All they have to do is heat these meals at home. We focus on making
our options convenient for the customer.”
Indeed, consumers’ increasing preference for authentic fresh food is
spilling into the refrigerated soup category, which is experiencing rapid
growth, up 11. 4 percent in the last year, according to
Bill Lange, VP of CPG at Santa Monica, Calif.-based
Campbell Fresh, the fresh food division of Campbell
Soup Co. “Recent research suggests that 78 percent
of consumers are trying to eat more fresh food and
are therefore gravitating toward new and accessible
options, like fresh-refrigerated soup,” adds Lange.
Among these accessible options is Garden Fresh
Gourmet’s line of refrigerated soups, which launched last
fall, featuring trending flavors and ingredients. The brand added kale
to its Chicken Noodle soup, parmesan cheese to its Tomato soup and
roasted chiles to its Chicken Tortilla soup. Keeping in mind the demand
for clean and recognizable ingredients lists, Garden Fresh Gourmet –
now owned by Campbell’s – developed the refrigerated soup line to be
free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, as well as high-
fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, MSG, bleached flour and
“Recognizable ingredients are top of mind for consumers, so we
filled our soups with quality garden herbs, vegetables and white meat
chicken,” says Lange. “We’re also adding six new flavors
including two new organic soup varieties later this fall in
response to consumers looking for organic options.”
In addition to clean-label ingredients, flavor variety is key –
particularly those with an ethnic element.
CLEAN LABELS HEAT UP
“Our introduction of both clean-label products and world-inspired recipes seem to have struck a chord with not only the
FOCUS ON FRESH
G H Q