New product development and innovation have been key to the success of canned soup in the past year

Innovation has been key to the success of canned soup, according to TNS, but the big brands say the new product development seen is just for starters.
The 6.2% value growth for the year to June 19 is nearly three times that of total canned goods, with new products accounting for 37.6% of sales.
Premier Foods has revealed that it is to tap into the health-conscious mum’s psyche by launching a Scooby-Doo Blood Red Tomato Soup with Pasta Ghouls. “Soup is a healthy option for children and a great convenience food for mums, but it can often be viewed as boring. The new Scooby-Doo variant, which has an rsp of 89p, ties in with the start of winter and Hallowe’en. We are keen to maximise opportunities created by seasonal changes,” says Martin Hall, category insight and development manager.
Although the UK’s number one soup
supplier, Heinz, recently attributed blame for poor European sales to “softness in soup” in the UK, Nina Holdaway, marketing manager for Heinz soup, says the foundations have been laid to take canned soup forward.
“Soup has been relatively quiet for many years but there is so much planned for the category. There has not been as much focus on soup as there
could have been, but we have now started the changes on a positive note.”
Heinz replaced six million cans of soup in 5,000 stores overnight in August 2004 as it reformulated its Classic soups, adding more of the main ingredients and ensuring the lowest levels of salt, sugar and fat across the category.
“It was a huge piece of work to change the range overnight, but consumers have given us a lot of positive feedback. Consumers are much more health-conscious and are aware of salt and sugar content in foods. They see soup as a healthy and convenient option.”
Holdaway says Heinz is in the process of tweaking the changes to its soups and is already planning the next big thing for the category.
Heinz also introduced its Special range last August,
which has proved to be a step in the right direction to drive sales.
Holdaway explains: “The soup market is gradually changing. It is becoming more of a light meal or snack, and people are wanting a soup for their whole lunch - a 400g can is not for two any more.”
Baxters, the UK’s number two soup supplier, has also seen this trend emerge.
Brand controller Murray Calder says Baxters is capitalising on health. He says its market share has grown to a record 16.5% this year and that sales have risen by the same amount
“We have provided the consumer with the health options they want by launching our Healthy Choice and Healthy Helpings range. Healthy Helpings, which is almost a meal replacement, has been in the market for nearly a year now and is really helping to drive the business.”
Calder says Baxters’ Luxury range is also helping to drive value in the market as people are willing to spend more on healthy, quality products.
Own-label soups have also been driving the market and are up 12.8% in value on last year, but Calder says that there is room for everyone.
“Own label and branded should be complementary, not competitive. We have ongoing discussions with retailers to work together to drive the category.”