Savor the Simmer: Unveiling the Hidden Powers of Soup in Todays Culinary Landscape

For centuries, various food items have had their time in the spotlight – think the cupcake and kale crazes of the early 2000s and 2010s to name a few. When a food item earns a place in the cultural zeitgeist, it means that the product speaks to a collective of attitudes, behaviors of its time. Soup is one product that has proven it can stand this test of time, rising to the occasion when it matters most for consumers financially or for their health. The power of soup lies in its versatility when it comes to occasion, flavor, and format, making it a true culinary canvas. By swapping out various bases and added ingredients in soup recipes, different benefits can be achieved.

The ingredients we add to soup bases provide our bodies with essential nutrients. For example, many of us know soups like chicken noodle to be the perfect cure. Amanda Sauceda, RDN, shares, “The ingredients in chicken soup are full of vitamins and antioxidants which can help promote your body’s natural healing process.” She then emphasizes how one popular soup ingredient can accomplish much more, “Carrots are a source of vitamin A, which is critical for the health of your immune system and also for the cells lining your GI tract, which is the first line of defense for your body.” The soup ingredients we often take for granted can serve valuable purposes. Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, acknowledges that veggie soups not only add more fiber to the diet but also help us feel fuller. Oftentimes, the functional aspects of beloved soups go unnoticed, simply because consumers may not be aware of them in the first place.

Consumers are ready to acknowledge soup’s functional qualities and see it as a remedy for much more than the common cold alone. When drawing this connection for consumers, it is imperative that brands promote what their products can offer, such as vitamins or gut-healthy ingredients, or in turn, what they don’t, which includes low/no and free-from claims. Sensient can play a role in lowering sodium content, aligning with this shift towards healthier options. Building this awareness for consumers can help create a newfound appreciation for commonplace aspects of soup that can serve a multitude of purposes, from its base to its additional ingredients.

In the age of information, consumers are excited to learn more about what different products can offer them. This desire fuels exploration in areas like soup functionality, from its ingredients to its base. In 2023, a quarter of young adult men and one in five young adult women reported that they consumed soup as a beverage1. Bone broth’s numerous health benefits that consumers can read about for themselves online have made it a driver of reimagined consumption habits like drinkable soup. Some areas that bone broth supports include collagen, digestion, the immune system, joint pain and stiffness, and healthy sleep. Bone broth’s array of abilities can be largely attributed to its gelatin, cartilage, and amino acids, the building blocks of protein2. Other soup options with anti-inflammatory properties or fiber-filled foods inside have the potential to pique a similar interest. Sensient can further assist here with enhancing soup functionality.

A recent Sensient survey presents an opportunity for consumers seeking out better-for-you lifestyle changes. Of those that have increased their soup consumption, 59% have done so because they are trying to eat healthier. Additionally, of consumers that have lowered their soup consumption, 38% report that this decision is because they are cooking more often3. If awareness of the functional benefits of soup isn’t tempting enough, Mintel suggests that offering customization options is a way to expand engagement while offering a true benefit to consumers looking for guidance in the kitchen. In a Mintel survey, 68% of participants feel that brands should offer more ideas for using soup as an ingredient, in an entree, dip, or appetizer, for example. In the soup aisle, there are plenty of ways to meet consumers where they are to offer a positive experience.

Soup is ready to step into the limelight as a food capable of true healing, one that can bring immense value to the lives of consumers in a number of formats. Soup also speaks to our time, as people look to expand their palate, stretch their pantry items further, and equip their kitchens with functional foods that will help them feel good from the inside out.

We’re bubbling with excitement to ensure your next soup makes a big splash! Let’s be taste buds!



3Sensient Proprietary Research