Soup top products

Source: Unsplash

Boing! That’s the sound of soup bouncing back. Having been in the doldrums last year, the category is in value growth again.

Ambient has been the big winner, of course, adding £35.5m after shoppers stockpiled tinned soups for the first lockdown. The sector grew by 9.4% in volume this year with market leader Heinz Classic the biggest success in absolute terms, now worth an extra £13.5m.

Almost all the leading branded ranges enjoyed double-digit percentage growth, however – further boosted by a decline in promotions initially – but own-label soups outperformed brands. “The consumer reaction to the coronavirus crisis was a dash to the supermarket to stock up on store cupboard essentials,” points out Gordon Sloan, category & shopper development controller at Baxters. “The industry had to respond quickly to unprecedented consumer demand, reinforcing the incredible pace of our industry to adapt and change.”

With the food-to-go market hammered by millions working from home, the performance of fresh soup was more disappointing, falling 1.8%, albeit that was an improvement on 2019, with branded players in particular proving better able to capitalise on shoppers looking to boost their immune systems.

“Due to the pandemic, health is at the forefront of a lot of consumers’ minds,” says Nicci Clark, CEO & founder of startup Re:Nourish, which pulled in almost £1m in sales from a standing start. “Consumers are looking for fresh, nutrient-dense and low-fat foods. Our Immunity soup has seen a huge increase in sales and remains our most popular to date, currently accounting for 30% of sales.”

As the pandemic brought new challenges and opportunities for soup brands, the trend for plant-based and organic products continued without interruption. Take Tideford Organics, which saw the biggest leap with value sales up more than 100%.

“There are three million meat eaters and flexitarians in the UK actively seeking to reduce their meat consumption, motivated by a desire for a healthier diet and a healthier planet,” says executive chair David Page.

Maybe, then, the soup market will continue to bounce high for a while yet.


Top Products 2020

In association with Nielsen

Top 10 Ambient Soup
        £m £ change %
Total volume change: 9.4%   Total Category: 345.6 35.5 11.5
      Total Own Label: 52.1 6.7 14.9
This year’s rank Last year’s rank Brand Manufacturer £m change (£m) change (%)
1 1 Heinz Classic Soup Kraft Heinz Company 144.6 13.5 10.3
2 2 Batchelors Cup a Soup Premier Foods 28.0 2.9 11.6
3 3 Heinz Big Soup Kraft Heinz Company 25.0 2.7 12.0
4 4 Baxters Favourites Baxters 18.8 2.4 14.4
5 5 Baxters Vegetarian Baxters 9.8 1.2 14.4
6 6 Heinz Classic Cup Soup Kraft Heinz Company 8.8 0.4 4.4
7 7 Campbell’s Euro Food Brands 5.8 0.6 12.0
8 12 Crosse & Blackwell Princes 5.3 2.3 79.3
9 8 Ainsley Harriott Cup Soup Euro Food Brands 5.2 0.5 10.1
10 10 Knorr Unilever 4.5 0.4 10.6
Top 10 Fresh Soup
        £m £ change %
Total volume change: -1.8%   Total Category: 167.8 0.7 0.5
      Total Own Label: 99.1 -8.2 -7.7
This year’s rank Last year’s rank Brand Manufacturer £m change (£m) change (%)
1 1 New Covent Garden Hain Celestial 28.3 0.0 0.0
2 2 Yorkshire Provender Hain Celestial 22.5 4.8 26.8
3 3 Glorious The Sauce Company 8.3 0.7 9.6
4 4 Tideford Organics Tideford Foods 3.2 1.6 102.4
5 5 Immune Boosting Super Soup Bol Foods 2.0 0.7 49.6
6 6 Alvalle PepsiCo 1.9 0.6 50.9
7 NEW Re:Nourish Re:Nourish 0.9 0.9
8 7 Scotty Brand Scotty Brand 0.9 0.0 3.1
9 8 Soupologie Soupologie 0.2 –0.2 –56.3
10 9 Watmuff & Beckett Watmuff & Beckett 0.1 0.0 –13.3

The Grocer’s Top Launch

Baxters Plant-Based Soup

Baxters Plant Based, Baxters Food Group

Baxters cashed in on the meat-free trend in April with the launch of its first vegan tinned soup range. The new trio – Jackfruit, Three Bean & Chipotle; Sri Lankan Sweet Potato; and Butternut Squash & Lentil Dhansak – are the result of two years’ development, says the brand. Each provides two or three of the 5 a day. They mark part of an “ongoing commitment to ensure there is a convenient and delicious choice for all customers”.


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