April marks start of soup season and it's big business
New Zealand is heading into soup season – and it means big business.
Last year, New Zealanders ate 7.8 thousand tonnes of bought soup between them. This country is one of the biggest consumers of packaged soup, per capita, in the world. We spend about $84 million a year on it.
While tinned soup is still the most popular type with shoppers, chilled soup in pouches is growing in popularity. Sales are increasing at a rate of 4 per cent per year, according to Countdown. But packet and sachet soup still represents 42 per cent of all soup sales, slightly ahead of canned soup.
Greta Taylor, Countdown business manager for the category, said people were looking for more gourmet, international flavours. She said there was also a trend towards healthier options, such as those with reduced sodium.
Watties has the biggest share of the market, at 32 per cent in value terms.
Tomato is the top seller for canned soup, followed by pumpkin and cream of mushroom. But across all types of soup, chicken is still the favourite.
Maggi onion soup takes out the top spot for packet soup, but King soup's hearty vegetable and vegetable is in the second and third spots respectively.
Countdown said Wellingtonians in particular were keen on chunky soups. It said chunkier varieties made up 36 per cent of soup sales in the region.
The region least inclined to purchase chunky soup is Northland, at 26 per cent.
Statistics NZ data shows that soup prices usually fall in March and April. In March, New Zealanders paid an average $3.18 for 500g of canned soup, down from $3.36 in February but up from $2.83 in March 2007.