It may be chilly outside, but soup sales are heating up! Soups with a healthful bent or an ethnic twist are especially popular, according to recent menu and consumer trend research. Often a canvas for flavor, soups exemplify the top food and flavor trends we see across a variety of menu parts. Flavor and the Menu reports, “global inflections, herbal accents, spicy flavors and updated proteins provide new twists on everyday soups. Asian-style soups—particularly ramen soups—are growing in popularity. Hearty Moroccan soups are also moving to the forefront. Healthy and gluten-free soups, as well as seasonal soups that underscore the freshness of produce, are another recent theme.”
Not only are soup sales up, recent research from Technomic shows that “many consumers go to restaurants specifically because they enjoy the soups or salads there. They are particularly attracted to premium ingredients.” 46% of consumers visit restaurants just because they like the soup there. Also, half of consumers want to try new and unique soups. In fact more than one-third of foodservice customers say they order soup from the menu specifically to try a new soup variety, according to Integrative Flavors.
As an operator, you can always heat up your menu with popular flavor trends. From Parmesan rinds to thyme stalks, here are simple additions to boost flavor and make your soup taste more satisfying.
- Thai Chicken Noodle: Try an exotic take on the basic chicken noodle soup with coconut milk, jalapenos and zesty spices.
- Tom Kha Gai Butternut Squash: Tom kha gai is a broth- and coconut milk-based soup whose primary flavors are ginger, lemongrass and chili. Try an American twist on it with butternut squash.
- Spicy Potato & Kale: Try this hearty recipe with or without chorizo to give vegetarians a spicy soup.
- Beef Ramen Noodle: Tasty ramen stands up to the earthy enoki mushrooms, tender flank steak and choy sum in this classic dish.
- Tomato with a Twist: Slow cook this vegan soup and top it with freshly popped popcorn for a unique take on the classic.
- Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup: A chunkier soup, this hearty dish will definitely warm customers up.
As the temperature drops for winter, help customers fight the bitter cold by offering a hot bowl of soup! Encourage customer traffic by offering a variety of delicious flavors and letting them customize their own bowl. Not only can you create a better-for-you soup that appeals to health conscious consumers, but you can also target the consumers that are looking for new and unique flavors! With such a wide range of ingredients available, it’s never been easier to mix up a brand new batch of soup. Discover a new menu favorite soup by adding your personal touch.