CHICAGOAn ongoing emphasis on healthy foods, along with the rise of the fast-casual segment and retail prepared foods, is helping drive soup and salad sales in the United States, according to a new report from Technomic.
Foodservice operators are capitalizing on the popularity of soup and salad; however, restaurants now face considerable competition from the retail segment. According to Technomic, 54% of consumers surveyed say they source soup from home at least once a week, which means it is important for restaurant operators to emphasize uniqueness in order to keep soup and salad lovers coming through the door.
"Soup and salad are traditional favorites, but consumers still expect variety and something different on the menu," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, Inc. "Catering to consumers' need for variety when dining outwhile also striking a balance between cravable, healthy, and innovative yet familiar offerings that justify price pointswill be important in driving soup and salad purchases. Operators may also have room to ramp up soup and salad orders by promoting their appeal across dayparts and mealparts."
Technomics Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad Consumer Trend Report" found more than two-fifths of consumers strongly agree that they visit certain restaurants specifically because they enjoy the soup (46%) and salad (43%) these restaurants offer. Half of consumers (51%) say it is important that soup can be bundled with other items while 60% say the same regarding salad. Whats more, 58% of consumers even say that they are more likely to order soup as a combo meal than as a single item, and 50% want to try new and unique soups. Thirty-five percent of consumers say they purchase soup because they want to try new varieties, and 21% say the same for salad.
Technomic also found ethnic and innovative soups, such as Asian-style ramen and chilled varieties, are poised for growth, particularly among younger consumers. Kale, chopped and grain-based salads are trending forward at the restaurant-chain level and in the retail space.