FAST FOOD EMBRACES THE LIQUID LUNCH.

nina | November 29th, 2013 - 9:00 am

Soup is not a particularly elegant food. It scalds the tongues of the impatient, and dribbles down the chins of the shaky.

But those drawbacks somehow haven’t dented soup’s reputation as a hearty, affordable comfort food with increasing popularity at fast-food restaurants. Servings of soup at U.S. restaurants grew by 3 percent to 1.6 billion units in the year ending in July, according to research firm, and quick-service restaurants led the way by ladling out 8 percent more than a year ago.

Speed and affordability have also helped the category. Data show that soup has become increasingly common on fast-food menus—with nearly 50 percent growth over the last five years—and less common at casual and fine-dining establishments. Another factor driving soup’s growth is that it’s popular with those 50 and older, and this age group is visiting restaurants more than any other age group.  SUch varieties as tortilla soup, bisque, and tomato soup are showing up more often, according to food industry researchers.

The rising tide of broth is not lifting all soup spoons: Canned soup sales at grocers have declined as consumers opt for foods they perceive to be fresher. Fast-food soup, it seems, is fresh enough.

Source:  businessweek.com, 11-26-13

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