Soup and Salad Struggle Despite Growing Health Concerns


Technomic reveals the latest trends in consumers’ shifting behaviours toward soup and salad

According to new research by Chicago-based Technomic, consumers are ordering soup and salad at restaurants less frequently now than they were two years ago. The recently released 2018 Soup & Salad Consumer Trend Report says factors contributing to this decline include a shift in menu offerings; soup and salad are trending down on menus, likely due to the growth of more unique, alternative healthy options such as roasted cauliflower dishes and poke bowls.

“While soup and salad have traditionally served as go-to options for health-conscious guests, consumers now have a wider variety of healthy options to choose from,” says Anne Mills, senior manager of Consumer Insights at Technomic. “As more healthy foods become available and health definitions shift, brands will need to find new ways to differentiate soup and salad, perhaps with ethnic varieties that offer a balance of health and flavour.”

While soup-and-salad combos adapt well to trends around healthy eating, snacking and seasonal ingredients, Mills says value concerns increasingly deter sales. These shifting value perceptions come as leading operators reduce their number of soup-and-salad offerings, indicating a limited variety or lack of innovation may be playing a role.

“Soup and salad can effectively serve as starters, sides or entrees. As these dishes face increasing competition for share of stomach from the growth of unique options, it will be critical to ensure offerings meet consumers’ evolving needs across mealparts,” says Mills. “For instance, consumers purchasing soup and salad as entrees look for options that are filling yet lighter and more affordable than other entrees, while those ordering soup appetizers often look for smaller portions of unique soups to try.”

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • 14 per cent of consumers order salad every time they visit a restaurant
  • 17 per cent of consumers who purchase soup are likely to order it as a snack, up from 11 per cent percent in 2015
  • 52 per cent of consumers who purchase salad say they feel healthier after eating meals that include salad

The report was compiled from more than 1,500 consumers, as well as Technomic’s MenuMonitor and Digital Resource Library.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.