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Shoppers have gone cold on canned and packet soups. Unit sales have slumped 7.3%, driven by a decline in brands, which account for three-quarters of total category volume. Many established names, including Baxters and Campbell’s, have recorded double-digit volume losses.

“Ambient soups had a moment during the worst of Covid, when consumers were stockpiling,” says Amanda Argent, co-founder of Soupologie. “With the lifting of restrictions, it’s unsurprising consumers have reverted to wanting fresh soup.”

There are exceptions to that rule, of course. Korean instant soup brand Nongshim, for example, has recorded double-digit volume growth and an additional £700k.

Far Eastern flavours have also benefited Itsu. Its Japanese-inspired ambient soups have made their top 10 debut with 32.3% value growth (albeit from a small base).

And that’s a modest gain when compared with Itsu’s performance in fresh soup. It’s grown value nearly sixfold, having sold more than 420,000 extra packs.

It’s particularly impressive  given the fresh sector is led by own label – which commands £116.4m versus the £90.7m of brands.

Own label also dominated chilled soup growth this year, accounting for £12.6m of the £15.3m rise in market value. “There’s no doubt own label has done a great job at creating products that are equal in quality to some leading brands, with price points that are perhaps less expensive,” says Jessica Vara, brand & portfolio team leader at Bol Foods.

Bol’s own growth – units are up 56.5% – has been driven by disrupting the fixture and recruiting younger shoppers, she explains.

The brand’s functional Power Soup range, for example, over-indexes with 18 to 45-year-olds, lured by its immunity, protein and energy claims.

The same kind of health claims have also bolstered Re:Nourish sales. The brand has delivered a 24.7% rise in volumes, thanks to lines that boast high fibre, high protein and vitamins C, A, E and B1.

Says CEO Nicci Clark: “The health credentials of our brand, combined with the convenience of our unique grab & go bottle, are a winner with consumers.”

Top Launch 2022

Souper Cubes | Soupologie


The Pea & Leek variant isn’t the only green thing about Souper Cubes, which were developed with the environment front of mind. Designed to reduce food waste, each pack contains six 150g cubes of flash-frozen soup (rsp: £4.25), so consumers can scale their serving according to appetite. The outer packaging of Souper Cubes – also available in Carrot & Turmeric – is made from recyclable card, while the inner bag is made from wood pulp and is fully compostable.

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