Sales within the UK soup market grew by 7% in value terms and 2% in volume terms, to be worth £562m at the beginning of 2012, driven by the introduction of new, more exotic flavours is helping the category to move away from the perception of being a winter-only meal.
The UK soup market can be divided into three principal categories: wet ambient, fresh chilled and dry soups. In 2011, 82.3% of the UK population bought manufactured soups. By retail sales value, the wet ambient sector makes up 61% of the total market, followed by the fresh chilled sector (27.6%) and the dry soup sector (11.4%).
Soup is seen as a healthy/low calorie option by 19 million adults, although households with young children under 5yrs old are less interested. Manufacturers should encourage 16-24year olds to eat soup as a snack at home more. At the moment, this age group restrict soup consumption to evening meals.
The share of the market accounted for by fresh chilled soups grew the most in 2011, due to the demand for gourmet lunches and the perception that these kinds of soup are the healthiest option.
Over the past several years, the dry soup sector has struggled, because it is thought to be the least healthy of the soup categories.
HJ Heinz Co Ltd continues to lead the United Kingdom soup market in 2012, registering a value share of 38%. The company dominates canned/preserved soup, where it registered a 68% value share in 2012.
The company developed a successful marketing campaign which promoted its canned/preserved soup products as a cooking ingredient. HJ Heinz Co Ltd also introduced Heinz Squeeze & Stir, a new instant soup in concentrated purée format which comes in easy to-carry sachets. Squeeze & Stir was launched in 2011 and in its first year recorded value sales of £6 million.
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