New introductions should put some heat back into the soup category. The category’s performance — according to a recent report from Mintel — has been lukewarm, with a compounded annual growth rate of only 1% from 2006 to 2011.
Mintel expects performance to improve as the economy bounces back and as manufacturers bring more innovation to the sleepy category. The market research firm expects the soup market to reach $7.2 billion in sales in current dollars by 2016, a compounded growth of more than 2%.
Innovative new products have been entering the wet soup segment, which commands 60% of category sales. New products in packaging that make heating easier are designed to position soup as a quick, year-round meal option for consumers.
Campbell Soup, the category leader with more than 60% share of category sales, recently began a roll out of 50 products in new ethnically-inspired flavors — including Moroccan Style Chicken, Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder, and Spicy Chorizo — designed to tempt consumers with increasingly sophisticated palates.
The new soups feature such ingredients as tomatillos, coconut milk and shiitake mushrooms, and are packaged in easy-to-open plastic pouches that can be heated in a microwave in less than three minutes.
General Mills recently launched two light Progresso soups: Light Creamy Potato with Bacon and Cheese, and Light Chicken Pot Pie Style. Both contain 100 calories or less.
Dry soup sales, which have been growing annually, are likely to continue to climb, according to Mintel’s report. Ramen noodle sales represent a huge portion of the dry soup category and are dominated by category leader Maruchan, which posted an 8.5% sales increase in 2011.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Pantry/Grocery Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.