A consumerist education on soup
Soup. Nothing says winter like soup—in Aspen, Colorado, there’s event a winter festival called Soupskol. But according to industry veteran Suley Muratoglu, a vice president at Tetra Pak Inc., “consumer attitudes toward the category have been chillier than winter in Alaska, and declining sales of this venerable and undeniably versatile dish have left soup manufacturers in need of some comfort themselves.”
Soup sales have “been on a downward trajectory across most of the Western world for half a decade,” noted Euromonitor International Research Analyst Daniel Grimsey earlier this year. What are manufacturers doing to prevent further soup slide?
New Flavors and Formulation
Fresh flavors and nutrient-rich formulations are helping fuel soup’s comeback. Regional and ethnic flavors, like pho, posole and menudo are increasingly popular; Seinfeld-inspired SoupMan just released four Louisiana-influenced flavors, including Jambalaya and Chicken Gumbo.
Modern and Sustainable Packaging and Design
“Helping to drive a shift in attitudes at the shelf is a revolution underway in soup packaging … it now features a solid billboard of cartons in single-serve and larger recloseable sizes. The package has now claimed 51 percent of U.S. broth unit market share,” says Muratoglu.
In soups overall, 89 percent are still in cans. Just 7 percent are in cartons. Campbell’s shocked the soup world in 2012, says Muratoglu, setting aside its iconic red and white can in favor of more graphically exciting “Go Soup” pouches aimed at Millennials—3 percent of soups are now packaged in pouches.
According to Brand Amplitude, nearly two-thirds of Millennials surveyed preferred the idea of soup from a carton, citing the package’s sustainability and the ability to reclose and refrigerate leftover carton soup for future meals.
Maybe you want to see the soup category’s reinvention as a metaphor: that it has far broader implications for food and beverage industry players by proving that by thinking out of the box, figuratively rather than literally in this case, it is possible to change the fortunes of an entire product category.
Or maybe you just crave a big, hot bowl of soup. Either way, it’s a win.
Soup is hydrating, nutritious, and delicious. And it’s like a warm hug, bringing happiness to the eater. Serve up some soup!