Sunday, September 23, 2012

Most Popular Soups and Other Soup Trivia

A few years ago, I attended a food-service vendor show, sampling everything from chocolate to cheese, turkey to tacos, cake to calamari.
Toothpick heaven!
It was a bit disillusioning to realize that so much of the soups, sandwiches, salsas, guacamole and french-fried or mashed potatoes that restaurant-goers assume to be house-made are likely to be pre-fab products, factory-made, shipped and frozen until heated for serving.
I tried a white chicken chili made by Cobblestone Market, which offers soups both ready-to-use and in an add-water concentrate.
I also enjoyed creamy seafood chowder and savory tortilla chicken soup made by Heinz.
They all tasted perfectly seasoned and were studded with chunks of flavorful ingredients.
Heinz's accompanying "Soup Selling Strategies for the Operator" brochure suggested that restaurants can go a step further and add ingredients such as cheese, crab or mushrooms to come up with a "specialty" or "signature" soup.
Sounds like what home cooks do when they toss in a few extras from their cupboard to jazz up a frozen entree.
I found out a few more things from the "Soup Selling Strategies" booklet. For instance:
The soups ordered most often in restaurants are:
Chicken noodle 20 percent
Clam chowder 10 percent
Tomato 11 percent
Vegetable 10 percent
French onion 8 percent
Cream soup 7 percent
Chili 7 percent
House specialty 7 percent
Minestrone 6 percent
Hot & Sour 3 percent
Other 3 percent
Bean & lentil 2 percent
Potato 2 percent
The five ingredients that would make people more likely to order soup are:
Mushrooms 55.6 percent
Cheeses 50.3 percent
Crab 46.3 percent
Lobster 44.7 percent
Lentils 34.8 percent
Some other soup facts:
As people get older, they tend to like soup more. The bulk of soup-consumers fall between ages 25-64.  Soup is most appealing to ages 50-65-plus.
The majority of soup consumers are in the upper income bracket. Nearly half of them make $75,000-plus annually.
Although soup consumption peaks in colder months, it's steadily ordered through all four seasons.
Consumers perceive soup as healthy, second only to green salads.
Lunch consumption of soup is on the rise, driven by casual sandwich chains and combo meals.

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