Soup, a classic comfort food, and salad, quintessential healthy fare, are favorites of the American diet. Ongoing emphasis on healthful eating, along with the rise of the fast-casual segment and retail prepared foods—both strong channels for soup and salad—continue to keep these offerings in the limelight.
Across the foodservice spectrum, operators are capitalizing on the popularity of soup and salad. Restaurants offering soup and salad now face considerable competition from the retail segment; in fact, 54 percent of consumers told Technomic that they source soup from home at least once a week. It's vital 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 out—while also striking a balance between craveable, healthy, and innovative yet familiar offerings that justify price points—will 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."
To help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding soup and salad, Technomic has published its Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad Consumer Trend Report. Interesting findings include:
- More than two-fifths of consumers strongly agree that they visit certain restaurants specifically because they enjoy the soup (46 percent) and salad (43 percent) these restaurants offer.
- Half of consumers (51 percent) say it is important that soup can be bundled with other items; 60 percent say the same regarding salad. Additionally, 58 percent of consumers even say that they are more likely to order soup as a combo meal than as a single item.
- Fifty percent of consumers want to try new and unique soups. Further, more than a third (35 percent) of consumers say they purchase soup because they want to try new varieties; 21 percent say the same for salad.
- 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.
Menu Insights—utilizes Technomic's MenuMonitor database to provide year-to-year menu data on soup and salad offerings at Top 500 restaurant chains and independent restaurants.
Retail Soup & Salad Trends—details the numerous flavor and preparation trends that are taking shape for soup and salad offerings in the retail segment.
Consumer Insights—analyzes consumer preferences and attitudes toward soup and salad, based on findings from a nationally representative survey of 1,500 U.S. consumers.
Outlook: Trends to Watch—explores emerging menu, concept and consumer trends that are poised to impact how restaurant operators promote soup and salad in the future.
Profiles—appendices feature in-depth profiles for 10 trend-setting foodservice brands featuring menus and service formats that are positioned around soup and salad.
Technomic publishes a complete library of consumer trend reports. To learn more, please visit Technomic.com.
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