Soup’s Up

LAKELAND, Fla. While soup sales in the food channel were flat to sinking across the U.S., unusually cold weather in the Sunshine State spurred a sizeable spurt in demand for the comfort food. At a time when tomatoes for salads and sandwiches were harder to come by due to frost, Publix Super Markets shoppers seem to have found a suitable replacement in warm bowls of soup. Sales have exceeded last year

LAKELAND, Fla. — While soup sales in the food channel were flat to sinking across the U.S., unusually cold weather in the “Sunshine State” spurred a sizeable spurt in demand for the comfort food. At a time when tomatoes for salads and sandwiches were harder to come by due to frost, Publix Super Markets shoppers seem to have found a suitable replacement in warm bowls of soup.

“Sales have exceeded last year by double digits,” Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told SN.

Particularly popular were Publix-brand condensed soups in Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken. But ready-to-serve varieties also benefited from the trend.

It wasn't only lower temperatures that drove shoppers to the category.

“The relatively low cost per serving and aggressive promotions are driving increased sales for both condensed and ready-to-serve soups,” noted Brous.

The chain hopes to keep shoppers interested in the category with its Publix Healthy Chunky line of RTS soup, which hit shelves last week.

The soups are 98% fat-free and have less sodium than a traditional soup of that flavor. Varieties include Chicken Noodle (51% less sodium), New England Clam Chowder (51% less), Vegetable Beef (46% less), Minestrone (41% less) and Chicken/Sausage Gumbo (42% less).