Baxters is embarking on its most significant new product development for ten years this month with the launch of a range of premium fresh soups. It is introducing six premium single serve soups in microwaveable containers for the “buy, heat and eat” market.

Fresh soup is one of the fastest growing segments of the £317m ready to serve market, increasing at 6.3% a year, three times the market’s growth rate [Information Resources]. Baxters is aiming for a 10% share within a year. “It is a logical step for a company with such a strong heritage in soup. Fresh soup is the natural place for us and we see enormous potential for premium branded products,” said Baxters fresh soups brand manager Jo Wren.

The launch is backed by a £1m marketing campaign, concentrating on television advertisements, which break on February 7, and sampling. The ads show an overwrought chef, emphasising the length of time needed to make proper soup, who becomes distraught when faced with Baxters’ four minute microwave version. The range is positioned as the closest you can get to homemade.

It includes traditional flavours such as minestrone and French onion, and modern varieties, such as carrot and crème fraîche with coriander. The soups are aimed at 25 to 40 year old ABC1s looking for a snack, starter or healthy, light meal. They contain no artificial or GM ingredients. Rsp is 99p for 300g.