The total soup market is valued at £491.2m, an increase of £36.7m on 2008. This growth is largely down to price rises, with the average unit price increasing from 65p to 71p.

With prices up, there has been a 1.7% decline in volume as shoppers buy less per trip. Wet ambient soup, which is the main driver of price rises, has fallen in volume by 5% while the other soup sectors have grown in volume.

Fresh soup had the strongest volume growth, up 7.6%, driven largely by shoppers switching from wet ambient products. Some of this switching is likely to have been caused by promotional activity as fresh soup has been the heaviest promoted sub-sector in the past year, with 50% of volume sold on deal. Ambient, meanwhile, has been the only sector to have reduced promotions.

The big four dominate soup retailing, holding more than 70% of the market by value. Tesco and Sainsbury's have both lost share, while Asda and Morrisons have gained share by growing ahead of the market. Waitrose and Morrisons have had the largest overtrade in the category, followed by Tesco and Somerfield.

Sales of branded soups grew ahead of own label, with sales up 8.6% on last year, compared with 6.3% growth for own label. Branded also still accounts for the lion's share at 77% of the market to own label's 23% of spend. Morrisons standard and Asda standard soups have moved up the TNS soup league table. Some brands have bucked the decline in wet ambient, particularly Baxters and Batchelors, with volume growth driven by a mixture of promotions and NPD.

Focus On Soup