After several years of servings declines at restaurants and other foodservice channels, soup has regained its favor with U.S. foodservice consumers, according to 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 percent in the year ending July 2013 compared to same period year ago, and unit shipments increased by 2 percent, according to NPD’s SupplyTrack, which is the first 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 percent 12-month increase through July. Dollar volume sales also grew in the non-commercial segment, which represents the second largest share, and retail foodservice outlets, which represents the third largest share of soup dollar sales, reports SupplyTrack. 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,” says Annie Roberts, vice president, 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.”

Consumer Trends, News