Souped up shelves
A renewed focus on healthy eating, the introduction of filling ‘meal’ soups and rising demand for higher value fresh soups have all stimulated sector growth
13 October 2008
At a glance: soup
- The soup market is worth €54.8m in Ireland
- With an overall share of 33.9%, Knorr is the number one brand within the Irish soup sector, operating within the packet, instant and wet ambient soup markets
- Knorr is market leader in both packet and instant soup with a market share leadership of 70.4% and 59.5% respectively (AC Nielsen Extended Scantrack MAT to 10 August 2008)
- Avonmore Fresh Soup is Ireland’s favourite fresh soup, accounting for over 70% of the total fresh soup category.
- Erin Condensed Soups are the leading canned soup with a 37.3% value share (August 2008)
- Knorr Special Recipe soup has 41% of the pouch soup market
- Erin Soupfulls has a 44.4% value share of the pouch sector (August 2008)
- Cully & Sully soups won the international Sial D’Or competition in the chilled non-dairy category, a gold Great Taste 2008 award and a ‘Best in Ireland 2008’ Estragon Plaque by the Bridgestone Guide
Healthy eating has driven NPD across the soup sector, leading to the introduction of recipes which are lower in salt, sugar and fat and free from artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and MSG. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) reported that Irish soups and sauces manufacturers made a further 5% cut in salt in their products in 2006/7, helping to meet a key priority for the FSAI, its ‘salt commitments.’ These aim to significantly lower the salt content of foods by 2010.
In addition, in order to reinforce soups’ greater nutritional benefits, brands are increasingly adopting a more natural and wholesome image for tinned and fresh soups. Several manufacturers are also trying to extend consumption beyond the lunchtime/snacking occasion by positioning their brands as more filling meal options, states a recent Mintel report. Suppliers of wet ambient soups meanwhile have sought to communicate the quality proposition of fresh chilled soups with the launch of ambient soups in foil pouches, a style associated with freshness, reports Keynote Publications.
In certain cases, soups are also being marketed as a healthy means of achieving weight loss. A report published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that “97% of people who included soup as part of a low-calorie diet thought it was a valuable part of their weight loss plan.” Convenience is also a major factor in the soup sector category. It’s not surprising then that microwaveable soups which can be ready in minutes, while providing the same nutritious benefits of a home-cooked meal, are performing well.
Suppliers have also attempted to create further sales growth by introducing new flavours into the market, states a Keynote Publications report. In order to de-seasonalise the market (almost two-thirds of sales occur between September and March) they have encouraged the idea of soup as a summer product, with flavours designed to be served as chilled, such as gazpacho. While new flavours have made progress, research shows that a few traditional recipes, such as tomato, chicken, mushroom and vegetable, are the favourites and main flavours sold, with organic soup launches also becoming more common. The flexibility of canned soups is also appealing to consumers as they can be stocked up for a soup occasion or used as a cooking ingredient.
Warming meal solutions for winter months
Avonmore Fresh Soup is Ireland’s favourite fresh soup, accounting for over 70% of the total fresh soup category. Irish-made with the finest ingredients, Avonmore Fresh Soup is low in saturated fat and packed fresh to seal in valuable flavour and freshness, for a homemade experience. The range includes a broad variety of flavours and is popular with time-pressed consumers who want the goodness of homemade soup without the hassle.
Avonmore Fresh Chunky Soup also provides convenience for health-concious consumers short on time to cook homemade meals from scratch. The newest addition to the Avonmore Fresh Soup family, is a range of chunky and nutritious soups, which as a more filling ‘meal’ option, can satisfy hearty appetites. There are three flavours available, each of these providing consumers with between one and two portions of vegetables per serving and the soups are distinctively packaged in a range of microwaveable bowls.
A filling proposition
Baxters offers a range of premium soups, including Baxters new improved Healthy Choice Range, which has gone from strength to strength since its relaunch in November 2007. Baxters latest innovation brings consumers a healthy, nutritionally balanced range of soups that have been specially designed to deliver natural fibre, protein, carbohydrate and energy benefits. The Healthy Choice Chunky range offers consumers a heartier, more filling soup. Made with the finest ingredients the range can be prepared in minutes making healthy eating tasty and easy.
Baxters has long been a favourite with Irish consumers and its traditional Favourites range consists of the best-loved and most classic recipes from the brand’s large canned soup portfolio. The most popular lines from Baxters Favourites range continue to be Minestrone, Cream of Tomato, Potato and Leak and Scotch Vegetable. Baxters Oxtail is now available also, and is growing increasingly popular among consumers.
World class chefs create Real Food
In the early 1990s, a new generation of food producers began when a team of world class chefs took time out from Michelin Star restaurants to head for the Monaghan heartland. The resulting brand, Real Food, is rooted in tradition and carefully sourced to provide a wholesome taste of familiarity.
With the dark evenings and winter fast approaching Real Food soups are a convenient solution for consumers looking for healthy hot food on the go. Made using the finest ingredients to deliver authentic recipes, the range is available in a variety of flavours, including Chicken & Vegetable, Tomato & Basil, Leek & Potato, Mushroom and Rustic Vegetable.
The soups are simple to heat and ready for display in just 35 minutes. With supporting POS and soup kettle, the range offers a chance for retailers to expand their food to go offering and increase profits. The range will also satisfy health conscious consumers, as it is nutritonally balanced and MSG free with no hydrogenated vegetable oil and no added salt.
A scoop for award-winning soup
Cully & Sully have introduced a new range of award-winning chilled soups. The brand offers consumers a healthy, tasty and convenient choice. The soups are gluten free, low in fat and salt and the range is vegetarian, apart from one chicken variety. Seven flavours are available, including, Chicken & Vegetable, Full bodied Vegetable Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup, Carrot & Coriander, Mushroom, Pea & Mint and White Winter Vegetable Soup.
The range was the winner of the international Sial D’Or competition in the chilled non-dairy category, and also received a gold Great Taste 2008 award and Estragon Plaque awarded by the Bridgestone Guide to mark it ‘Best in Ireland 2008.’
Soup star drives innovation
With over 40 years in the Irish market, Erin Soups offers a wide range of pouched, canned, packet and instant soups. Following the 2008 Campbell’s to Erin migration, the revitalised Erin brand is driving innovation with new flavours in the hugely popular Soupfulls pouch range.
Erin Condensed Soups are the leading canned soup with a 37.3% value share (August 2008). A classic and versatile soup, the Erin Condensed range has 13 different soups including Low Fat, Family and Special Choice packs that provide easy meal solutions for all occasions.
Erin Soupfulls has a 44.4% value share of the pouch sector (August 2008). Specially created for today’s busy lifestyles, Soupfulls are full of chunky meat, pasta and vegetables and are ready in just minutes. This Autumn, Soupfulls has a selection of new varieties available, which include Minestrone and a new range called Soupfulls Smooth. This range of smooth and wholesome soups includes three flavours; Tomato and Basil, Carrot & Coriander and Cream of Mushroom.
Erin HotCup is the second biggest instant soup brand on the market with a wide offering for all consumer tastes. Erin HotCup Original, Erin HotCup with Croutons and HotCup Creamy guarantee something for all tastes for a quick, convenient, anytime snack. Heavy investment in TV advertising, below the line activity and PR by Premier Foods Ireland will continue to drive Erin’s growth in the Irish soup market.
A firm family favourite
The Heinz and Weight Watchers from Heinz soup ranges have long proven popular with Irish consumers. Heinz remains relevant to its consumers through continual investment in its soup portfolio, to drive incremental sales and satisfy consumer needs such as eating on the go and health. The Heinz Classics range remains a firm family favourite with classic recipes such as Cream of Tomato and Cream of Chicken remaining as sought after as ever.
Increased consumer demand for premium, convenient, ready-to-serve soups saw the Heinz Soup portfolio extend in 2007, with the introduction of a number of new ranges and formats. Heinz Taste of Home is a range of soups ready from the microwave in three minutes. Each generous 430g single serve microwaveable pot offers a chunky, traditional, home-style soup ideal for lunch or as a light meal solution and is available in varieties such as Chicken & Vegetable Casserole, Country Vegetable Casserole and Lancashire Lamb Hotpot. Heinz Farmers Market is a new range of soups made with selected ingredients and inspired by farmers’ markets. In a larger 515g can, Heinz Farmers Market soups offer varieties including Chicken & Country Vegetable, and Lamb & Root Vegetable.
Heinz remains ever responsive to consumer demands for healthy and convenient products that do not compromise on taste. Weight Watchers from Heinz, the number one healthy eating soup brand has added a number of new varieties in a larger 400g sized can including Chicken, Potato & Leek and Tuscan Minestrone. All Weight Watchers from Heinz varieties exclusively carry the Weight Watchers Points Value on pack.
Hearty and tempting
In preparation for the cold winter days ahead, Kerryfresh has launched the latest addition to its wholesome range of fresh soups, Beef & Vegetable Soup. A hearty and nutritious soup with large chunks of fresh vegetables and Irish beef in a tasty beef stock, this soup is a warming and nutritious meal in itself.
From smooth and creamy soups like chicken & chive to nutritious and healthy soups like tomato & basil, Kerryfresh have a soup to suit all consumer tastes. Eye-catching point of sale, designed to inform and tempt consumers, is also available.
‘Souper’ sales for market leader
The soup market is worth €54.8m in Ireland and with an overall share of 33.9%, Knorr is proud to be the number one brand in this market. Knorr operates within the packet, instant and wet ambient soup markets and is market leader in both packet and instant soup, with a market shares of 70.4% and 59.5% respectively (AC Nielsen Extended Scantrack (MAT to 10th August 2008).
Knorr is also growing quickly within the wet ambient soup market, thanks to the huge success of Knorr Special Recipe Soup. Knorr Special Recipe soup has 41% of the pouch soup market and is growing strongly. These pouch soups have a fresh, homemade taste and come in a variety of flavours and pack sizes to suit the one to two person household and families alike.
Knorr claims to be the main brand driving innovation in the soup market at present, with launches of new varieties of pouch soup and a range of organic packet soup coming this Autumn.
Bowled over by wholesome soups
A recent Mintel report shows soup brands are increasingly adopting a more natural and wholesome image, such as Heinz’s 2007 launch of its Farmers’ Market brand of tinned and fresh soups. The report revealed that when the company last reported on the market in 2006, sales of soup appeared to be in decline. However in the UK, sales of soup increased by 4% in 2007 to reach £462 million. The report also showed that the strongest growth was achieved by chilled soup, although the larger ambient sector also returned a positive performance.
A recent Leatherhead International report confirms that the chilled sector is driving sales. It stated that, “Healthy varieties are a mainstay within sectors such as ready meals, prepared sandwiches and chilled soups.”
An increased emphasis on a wholesome image should attract a growing number of health conscious consumers in Ireland also, who are concerned about issues such as food traceability. It was revealed at Bord Bia’s national organic conference last month, that organic food in Ireland has increased by 82% in the last two years and is now worth €104 million.
New research presented at the Maximising Ireland’s Potential conference in Waterford heard that in the year to July 2006, the organic market was worth €57 million but has grown dramatically since then. Research also showed that 45% of Irish grocery shoppers bought an organic product in the last month, indicating a 20% increase over 2003 figures.