Soup is primarily a liquid food that is made by mixing ingredients such as vegetables and meat with water, juice, stock, or any other edible liquid, and generally served hot or warm (but can be cold or cool). Hot soups are characterized by the steaming of solid ingredients in liquids in a container until it forms a broth into which the flavors are extracted. Soups are of two kinds primarily: thick soups and clear soups. Thick soups can be subdivided depending upon the thickening agent type that is used: purées of vegetable soups, thickened with starch; puréed shellfish or vegetable-made bisques, thickened with cream; béchamel sauce, which is used to thicken cream soups; and butter, eggs, and cream, which are used to thicken veloutés. Grains, flour, lentils, rice, and eggs are other ingredients that are generally used to thicken broths and soups. Soups are like stews, and in some instances there is no clear difference between them. However, stews generally have less liquid than soups.
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Packaged soups are canned for longer shelf life and can be consumed instantly. They are manufactured for the convenience of consumers and are readily available in the market. The global packaged soup market is segmented on the basis of product type, distribution channel, and geography. On the basis of product type, the global market for packaged soup is segregated into ready-to-drink soups and microwavable soups. Ready-to-drink soups can be simply consumed after heating in a pan. They do not need any liquid to be added in. Microwavable soups require an addition of water before they are heated and consumed. Microwavable soup held the dominant market share in 2015 and is forecasted to witness stable growth rate during the forecast period. The rise of the working class population and changing lifestyles are propelling the growth of this segment, as consumers seek healthy food options that need minimum time for preparation. On the basis of distribution channels, the global packaged soup market is divided into the convenience store, cash & carry store, and supermarket & hypermarket segments. The supermarket & hypermarket segment held the dominant market share in 2015 and is forecasted to hold its dominance over the forecast period. Growth in the organized retail sector globally is a major propellant of the growth of this segment.
Major drivers of the global packaged soup market include increased urbanization in developing economies, which is inclining consumers to consume convenience foods that take less time and energy for preparation and yet are healthy. In addition, increasing investment by global players in start-ups that manufacture packaged soups is another major driver of the global market for packaged soups. Rising awareness about the harmful effects of preservatives that are used in packaged soups for longer shelf life is a major restraint of the market.
Geographically, the global packaged soup market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. North America held the dominant market share in 2015. This is attributed to the large number of consumers who prefer convenience food products that can be quickly prepared. Asia Pacific is the rapidly growing region in the global market owing to increased urbanization and a growing working population.
Major players of the global packaged soup market include the Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Greencore, Hain Celestial Group, Baxters Food Group, and Pacific Foods.
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