Heinz is hoping to revolutionise the cup soup market with a range of soups made from a purée rather than a powder.

Squeeze & Stir soups are packed in individual sachets (rsp: 59p) containing the concentrated purée, which is designed to be squeezed into a cup and mixed with boiling water.

The four-strong range includes three flavours also available as a Heinz tinned soups cream of tomato, cream of tomato with basil and minestrone and new flavour Mediterranean vegetable.

The soups, which are pitched as a snack or an accompaniment to a lunchtime sandwich, will be sold in shelf-ready packaging containing 18 sachets of a single variety.

Their launch marks the first time that Heinz, which holds a 40.3% share of the total UK soup market [Nielsen 52w/e 14 May 2011], has moved into the cup soup category. Sales in the dry/instant soups category primarily made of powdered cup soups have fallen 1.1% year-on-year to £86m [Nielsen]. "We hope Heinz Squeeze & Stir will drive incremental sales for the category as a whole," said Heinz soups marketing controller Matthew Cullum.

The range contained one of the recommended five-a-day and no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or monosodium glutamate, added the company.

Its launch was described as "genuine new product development" by Mintel food analyst Alex Beckett, who said it offered the same convenience, affordability and low-calorie benefits as dry soup but in a more appetising format.

"The handy size should appeal to the 17% of consumers who eat soup for lunch while at work," he added. "It could also help entice the relatively disengaged 16 to 24-year-old ­demographic to the soup market. These consumers are most likely to see soup as a low-calorie food but are put off buying by the lack of convenience."

The launch is being supported by a £2m marketing push that will include in-store activity and TV ads.