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CHICAGO -- Soup is hot — in more ways than one.
According to new research by The NPD Group, total dollar sales of soup shipped through broadline foodservice distributors to foodservice operators increased by more than 2 percent in the year ended July 2013 compared to the year-ago period, while unit shipments also increased by 2 percent. This is a trend reversal after several years of servings declines at restaurants and in other foodservice channels.
NPD's findings are based on its 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, according to the researcher.
“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.”
Other NPD SupplyTrack findings pertaining to soup sales include:
- Soup dollar volume sales grew the most at eating and drinking establishments (up nearly 3 percent for the 12 months ended in July), representing the largest share of the category’s dollar sales.
- Dollar volume sales also grew in retail foodservice outlets, which now represent the third largest share of soup dollar sales.
- Chili, refrigerated soup and soup base were the soup forms with the strongest dollar sales growth in the year ended in July.
- With respect to flavors, several varieties of chicken grew in dollars and units.