Soup - US - April 2013
“Soup finds its largest draw among consumers aged 45+. This is a strength of the category, given the hefty purchasing power of Baby Boomers who make up a large percentage of this group. However, growing consumption among young consumers will be important in maximizing sales and nurturing a loyal user base.”
– Beth Bloom, Food and Drink Analyst
Some questions answered in this report include:
- How can the category overcome sales stagnation?
- How can the category combat a poor perception of health?
- How can the category grow sales among young consumers?
- How can the category grow participation among non-white consumers?
Soup is purchased by 92% of U.S. households, a sign of strong consumer acceptance of the category. Personal consumption drops to 84%, meaning many shoppers who indicate soup purchase are doing so for other members of their household, rather than for themselves. While products in the category benefit from convenience, ease of use, versatility, and the perception of affordability, soup struggles to stay relevant in the lives of consumers, especially young consumers who under index in category participation. Soup sales are slowly recovering from a dip experienced immediately following the start of the recession in 2008. While consumer response indicates the perception of soup as being an affordable food option, sales performance indicates that shoppers may have turned away from the category due to increases in cooking from scratch. Among the respondents to Mintel’s custom consumer survey who do not purchase soup, the largest percentage (34%) indicate it’s because they prefer to make it themselves at home. The pursuit of healthier food options seen among U.S. consumers over the past few years likely charged this behavior.
For the purposes of this report, soup is defined as including the following:
- Ready-to-serve (RTS) wet soup—canned or refrigerated soup that does not require additional ingredients
- Condensed wet soup—soup that can be used as is in recipes or needs to have water or milk added to use as traditional soup
- Dry soup mixes—dehydrated and requiring the addition of water to cook; most of these require simmering, although some are instant and need only be stirred. Includes bouillon and ramen noodle soup mixes
- RTS broth—flavored water with some form of meat, fish, or vegetable; used as a base for soups and sauces
- Refrigerated soup—soup that must be refrigerated to maintain freshness and heated to serve, but no added ingredients
- Frozen soup—soup that requires thawing and heating, but no added ingredients.
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