Soup Makes Comeback Across Foodservice Channels

Chili, refrigerated soup, soup base see strongest dollar sales growth: NPD


CHICAGO -- After several years of servings declines at restaurants and other foodservice channels, soup has regained its favor with U.S. foodservice consumers, according to a recent report by The NPD Group, a leading global information company.

Total dollar sales of soup shipped through broadline foodservice distributors to foodservice operators increased by more than 2% in the year ending July 2013 compared to same period year ago, and (equivalized) unit shipments increased by 2%, according to NPD's SupplyTrack, a monthly tracking service that codes, aggregates and tracks every product shipped from a critical mass of leading broadline distributors to each of their foodservice operators.

Soup dollar volume sales grew the most at eating and drinking establishments, which represent the largest share of the category's dollar sales, with a nearly 3% 12-month increase through July. Dollar volume sales also grew in the noncommercial segment, which represents the second largest share, and retail foodservice outlets, which represents the third largest share of soup dollar sales, reported SupplyTrack, which captures information on categories, brands, items, product attributes and operator segment. The lodging and recreation channels also realized dollar gains in the period.

Chili, refrigerated soup and soup base are the soup forms with the strongest dollar sales growth in the year ending July 2013. With respect to flavors, several varieties of chicken grew in dollars and units.

"Soup is an example of how understanding a category's market dynamics and performance metrics can identify a growth opportunity for distributors, manufacturers and operators," said Annie Roberts, vice president of NPD SupplyTrack. "In the competitive foodservice marketplace where it's a battle for share, the ability to pinpoint white space and other ways to grow market share is key."

The NPD Group, Chicago, provides global information and advisory services to the automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, foodservice, home, office supply, sports, technology, toy, video game and wireless industries.