Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Soup market including the behaviors, preferences, and habits of the consumer.

Despite the role of the traditional can in the soup category and canned soup market share, consumers express strong interest in other forms of packaging – especially glass. Glass packaging outperforms plastic packaging in packaging interest, pointing to consumers’ interest in packaging that conveys quality, freshness and sustainability. Ensuring that packaging provides a convenient experience will remain a priority, but category players should consider how convenient formats such as pull-tops and microwaveable or single-serving products can evolve to tell a premium and fresh story.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to stockpiling and increased at-home cooking and eating, all of which supported increased soup purchasing, consumption across category segments, canned soup market share, and huge dollar sales gains in 2020. A year later, however, consumers are less reliant on foods with long shelf-lives and are renewing their health goals, which is contributing to reduced consumption. As consumers increasingly return to their pre-pandemic routines through the remainder of 2021, foodservice operators and more portable, prepared foods will benefit from consumers eating, working and learning away from home once again.

One of the biggest threats to the soup market is a lack of interest from the next generation of soup consumers — those aged 18-24. Consumers aged 18-24 are some of the most likely to plan to cut back on their soup consumption or to have already cut back. Younger consumers are interested in smaller, portable packaging formats such as drinkable and snack-sized soups as well as soups with wellness claims and functional benefits, indicating category
players will be challenged to modernize packaging and positioning.

The circumstances of COVID-19 caused consumers to turn to their own kitchens more than usual, causing them to hone their skills, invest in new household appliances, and enjoy cooking as a hobby. Their newfound habits and appliances will open doors for brands to make soups of all types a cooking staple. Soup products can elevate the flavor and nutritional profile of both homemade soups and non-soup dishes, by adding broth to rice and vegetables. Popular household appliances, including the Instant Pot, present opportunities for partnerships and recipe inspiration, and increasing the soup industry market share.

Read on to discover more about the US Soup consumer market, review our The Future of Meals, Pizza and Soup: 2021 report, or take a look at our other Food and Foodservice research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the soup market.
  • Current and expected change in soup consumption frequency.
  • Reasons for eating soup more often.
  • Soup attitudes.
  • Interest in soup packaging and innovation.

Covered in this report

Brands: Tyson, Progresso, Campbell, General Mills, Maruchan, Unilever, Nissin Foods, Pacific, Panera Bread, Simple Truth, Gardein, Healthy Choice, Trader Joe’s, Peekaboo, Once Upon a Farm, Raised and Rooted, Ocean’s Halo, Good and Gather, Williams-Sonoma, Patagonia Provisions, BOL, Better than Bouillon, BOU, Rao’s Made for Home, Instant Pot.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Kaitlin Kamp, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The $8.7 billion soup market is expected to decline modestly in 2021 as consumers increasingly adopt pre-pandemic routines, reducing the demand for shelf stable foods such as canned soup. But some areas of the category continue to thrive due to their role in scratch cooking or their connections to healthy eating. Moving forward, brands will have the opportunity to keep soup relevant by tapping into prolonged remote working, home cooking support and renewed health goals.
Kaitlin Kamp, Food and Drink AnalystKaitlin Kamp
Food and Drink Analyst

 

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of soup, at current prices, 2016-26
    • Impact of COVID-19 on soup
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on soup, July 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Prolonged growth will require increasing soup consumption frequency
      • Figure 3: Soup consumption frequency, NET, 2021
    • Make soup a cooking staple
      • Figure 4: Cooking and Instant Pot shortcuts
    • Pre-made soup lacks BFY perceptions of homemade soup
      • Figure 5: Soup attitudes – Health, 2021
    • The route to wellness has many roads
      • Figure 6: Healthy soup attributes, 2021
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Dollar sales of soup expected to decline 0.8% from 2020 peak
    • Declines are contained to canned segments
    • Shelf-stable foods retain a boost from COVID-19
    • Changes to routines in 2021 will impact the lunch occasion
    • Some home cooking fatigue is anticipated
    • Consumers invest in kitchen appliances during COVID-19
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Dollar sales of soup projected to decline from their 2020 peak
      • Figure 7: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of soup, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of soup, at current prices, 2016-26
  5. Segment Performance

    • Canned segments face long-term challenges
    • Dry soup gains steam as an easy and flavorful cooking solution
    • Ready-to-serve wet soup sales decline as COVID-19 behaviors fall away
    • Condensed wet soup will be challenged to align with contemporary recipes
    • Wet broth/stock remains strong, is expected to grow even stronger
    • Refrigerated/frozen soup is small but mighty
      • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of soup, by segment, market share, at current prices, 2021
      • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and forecast of soup, by segment, at current prices, 2016-26
  6. Market Factors

    • Pandemic recovery includes both at-home and in-office working
      • Figure 11: Expected work situation in 2021, 2021
    • Consumers enjoy cooking, but fatigue is on the horizon
      • Figure 12: COVID-19 related changes in food and drink behavior, 2020
    • Consumers invest in cooking appliances during the pandemic
      • Figure 13: COVID-19 cooking behaviors, 2020
    • COVID-19 has had a positive impact on the center-of-store
      • Figure 14: Impact of COVID-19 on food and drink habits, 2021
    • Motivations for soup will pivot to health
      • Figure 15: Impact of COVID-19 on food and drink habits, 2020
    • Consumer confidence on an upswing
      • Figure 16: Consumer sentiment index, 2019-2021
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Category giants start to experience declines; smaller “other” players chip away at market share
    • Campbell Soup Co. and Progresso invest in snack time
    • Bone broth goes from niche to necessary
    • Soups can be the next smoothies
    • Keep the salt – but swap out the source
  8. Market Share

    • Category players get a glimpse at post-pandemic sales slump
      • Figure 17: Multi-outlet sales of soup, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
    • Shelf-stable, ready-to-serve brands face declines in 2021
      • Figure 18: Multi-outlet sales of ready-to-serve wet soup, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
    • The refrigerated/frozen segment has little brand activity and open to new players
      • Figure 19: Multi-outlet sales of refrigerated fresh soup/frozen soup, market share, by leading brands, 2021
  9. Competitive Strategies

    • “Plant-based” grows while vegan and vegetarian-friendly claims subside
      • Figure 20: Soup launches, by select on-pack claims, percent change 2019-2020
      • Figure 21: Soup launches featuring a plant-based claim
    • Brands go small for snack time
      • Figure 22: Snack-sized soup launches
    • Bone broth hits mainstream portfolios
      • Figure 23: Soup launches made with bone broth
    • Campbell’s adds pull tops, sippable soups to portfolio
      • Figure 24: Campbell’s launches featuring packaging innovation
  10. Market Opportunities

    • Position soup as the accessible way to eat healthy
      • Figure 25: Soup launches featuring plant-based or plant-rich positioning
    • Include kids in the plant-based discussion
      • Figure 26: Kid-friendly plant-based products
    • Utilize recognizable and natural sources of sodium
      • Figure 27: Soup products with innovative salt inclusions/exclusions
    • Cater to home cooks looking for some assistance
      • Figure 28: Product launches promoting recipe and kitchen appliance shortcuts
    • Make soup good food . . . for the environment
    • Soup ingredients are good contenders for regenerative agriculture
    • Minimize food waste by including ugly produce
      • Figure 29: Soup launches featuring environmental and ethical claims
  11. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Shelf-stable soup is the most popular . . .
    • . . . but frozen and refrigerated soup are eaten the most frequently by their fan base
    • 36% of consumers are eating soup more often; 26% plan to keep up the pace
    • Think outside the can to entice younger consumers
    • Soup’s role in health is in flux
    • Give familiar, comforting soups a BFY spin
  12. Soup Consumption

    • Prepared soups fall behind cooking staples
      • Figure 30: Soup consumption, NET, 2021
      • Figure 31: Soup consumption, 2021
    • Shelf-stable soups most popular among Shortcut Cooks
      • Figure 32: Soup consumption, by cooking segmentation, 2021
    • Men 18-34 are the audience for refrigerated/frozen soup
      • Figure 33: Soup consumption, by gender and age, 2021
    • Parents, especially dads, have wider soup repertoires
      • Figure 34: Repertoire of soup consumption, parental status by gender, 2021
    • Non-white consumers could be further engaged in the category
      • Figure 35: Soup consumption, NET, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
  13. Soup Consumption Frequency

    • Frozen and refrigerated soup lead in consumption frequency
      • Figure 36: Soup consumption frequency, by soup consumption NETs, 2021
    • Regular cooking leads to frequent soup usage
      • Figure 37: Soup consumption frequency, any soup, by cooking segmentation, 2021
      • Figure 38: Bouillon brand Instagram posts
    • Under 45s are the most frequent soup consumers
      • Figure 39: Soup consumption frequency, any soup, by age, 2021
  14. Change in Soup Consumption

    • More than a quarter plan to keep up with increased engagement
      • Figure 40: Change in soup consumption compared to one year ago, 2021
    • Ride the current wave of at-home cooking before it breaks
      • Figure 41: Change in soup consumption, by cooking segmentation, 2021
    • Consumers aged 18-24 are growing less hot on soup
      • Figure 42: Change in soup consumption, by age, 2021
  15. Reasons for Eating Soup More Often

    • Both health and comfort drive increased consumption
      • Figure 43: Reasons for eating soup more often than a year ago, 2021
  16. Reasons for Eating Soup Less Often

    • Aspirations to eat less sodium and processed foods are driving consumers away
      • Figure 44: Reasons for eating soup less often than a year ago, 2021
  17. Healthy Soup Attributes

    • Improve sodium, add vegetables
      • Figure 45: Healthy soup attributes, 2021
    • Ingredients resonate with older consumers, wellness and functional claims with younger consumers
      • Figure 46: Healthy soup attributes, by age, 2021
  18. Interest in Soup Packaging

    • Make convenient packaging higher quality and more sustainable
      • Figure 47: Interest in soup packaging, 2021
    • Lure and retain young consumers with packaging innovation
      • Figure 48: Interest in soup packaging, by age, 2021
    • Boost premium perceptions with premium packaging
      • Figure 49: Interest in soup packaging, by household income, 2021
  19. Soup Attitudes

    • Health attitudes can be strengthened
      • Figure 50: Soup attitudes, health, 2021
    • Premium and affordable aren’t necessary mutually exclusive
      • Figure 51: Soup attitudes, value, NET any agree, 2021
    • Affluent consumers aged 18-34 are the target audience for DTC soup efforts
      • Figure 52: DTC soup attitudes, NET any agree, by age and income, 2021
  20. Interest in Soup Innovation

    • Strike a balance with comforting flavors and BFY ingredients
      • Figure 53: Interest in soup innovation, 2021
      • Figure 54: Soup launches with familiar flavors and BFY claims and ingredients
    • Entice younger consumers with format/occasion disruption
      • Figure 55: Interest in soup innovation, by age, 2021
    • Consider BFY snackable soups for families
      • Figure 56: Interest in soup innovation, by parental status, 2021
    • Health and flavor can nudge non-white consumers
      • Figure 57: Interest in soup innovation, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
  21. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  22. Appendix – Cooking Segmentation

    • Confident Home Cooks
    • Shortcut Cooks
    • Reluctant Cooks
    • Non-Cooks
      • Figure 58: Cooking segmentation, 2021
  23. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 59: Total US retail sales and forecast of soup, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 60: Total US retail sales of soup, by segment, at current prices, 2019 and 2021
      • Figure 61: Total US retail sales and forecast of ready-to-serve wet soup, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 62: Total US retail sales and forecast of ready-to-serve wet soup, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 63: Total US retail sales and forecast of condensed wet soup, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 64: Total US retail sales and forecast of condensed wet soup, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 65: Total US retail sales and forecast of dry soup, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 66: Total US retail sales and forecast of dry soup, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 67: Total US retail sales and forecast of wet broth/stock, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 68: Total US retail sales and forecast of wet broth/stock, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 69: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated fresh soup/frozen soup, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 70: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated fresh soup/frozen soup, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
  24. Appendix – Retail Channels

      • Figure 71: Total US retail sales of soup, by channel, at current prices, 2016-21
      • Figure 72: Total US retail sales of soup, by channel, at current prices, 2019 and 2021
  25. Appendix – Brands and Companies

      • Figure 73: Multi-outlet sales of condensed wet soup, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 74: Multi-outlet sales of dry soup, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 75: Multi-outlet sales of wet broth/stock, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 76: Multi-outlet sales of refrigerated fresh soup/frozen soup, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

Market

Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

Consumer

Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

Brand/Company

Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

Data

Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Also, our reports come in PDF, Powerpoint, Word and Excel Databook formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Bell Logo - Mintel client
Boots Logo - Mintel Client
Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
Samsung Logo - Mintel client
Nike Logo - Mintel client
Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

Contact Us