One company leading the trend is Profi, a Polish manufacturer of soups, ready meals and savoury spreads.
The company's marketing and brand manager, Maja Tereszkiewicz, told FoodNavigator: “The unique selling point is that the product is versatile and can be consumed either hot or cold depending on the time of year and the preference of the consumer."
“In general a smoothie is a raw cocktail that is made from raw fruits and ingredients such as yogurt, seeds, oats or raw vegetables and can be quite heavy and full of fibre which may not be desirable. On the other hand Profi hot or cold fruit soups are considerably lighter and more refreshing in comparison to smoothies and our success has been prove be the demand for our soups. Profi soups do not have a fibrous texture, rather a liquid consistency.
The addition of pasta or fruit pieces also differentiates the soups from ready-to-drink smoothies. Its range includes the flavours apple with cinnamon and noodles;
cherry soup with noodles; and forest fruit with noodles.
According to Tereszkiewicz, the concept of eating sweet soups in Poland is nothing new for Poles. “Fruits soups have been an integral part of the Polish cuisine, culture and history for many years. In the past during the times of hardship, and when food was more difficult to come by, it was popular for people to utilise whatever nature provided them with.”
This is also why it has named the range ‘Wspomnienie Dzieciństwa’, meaning Childhood Memories, appealing to adults who may remember fruit soups from their childhood holidays in the Polish countryside, she says, but also to children.
Although still very much a niche trend in Europe, sweet soups are limited to the Polish market. Danish company Skælskør Frugtplantage launched strawberry soup, while Collados in Spain has strawberry gazpacho.
Meanwhile French brand M.de Turenne pairs fruit and vegetables, such as carrot and orange gazpacho, in order bridge the gap between traditional and novel.
The rise in popularity of sweet soups is due to a blurring of categories between cold, fruit-based soups and smoothies, according to global food & drink analyst at Mintel Regina Maiseviciute Haydon.
“Firstly, soup producers are trying to reduce seasonality stigma of warm soups. Secondly, busy lifestyles of many
consumers globally are impacting the development of more on-the-go products, and soups try to tap into this trend.
“Thirdly, depending on the country, cold soups hold a certain level of limitation with warmer climates helping to boost the appeal of these chilled options. Therefore, all three product types can benefit from blurring lines between them as it could help to obtain more traction with wider consumer groups.”
This blurring of the boundaries can also be seen in the packaging formats. “Some products are offering creative fruit-infused twists on traditional gazpachos in portable packaging and drinkable formats, a trend that is building momentum as soup manufacturers explore the boundaries between soup and juice products.”
New fruit and spice pairings
Maiseviciute Haydon says while it is difficult to predict which flavours will become popular, we can expect manufacturers to try out new flavours to keep consumers interested. According to Mintel data, 71% of French, 57% of German, 67% of Italian, 63% of Spanish and 72% of Polish consumers say they are interested in trying out new soup flavours.
“It is likely we should see more pairings with fruits or different spices, as well as recipes inspired from abroad, in order to keep consumers interested and entice them to try out different products.”
Profi exports its products around the world including to the UK, US, Canada, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Germany. Its fruit soups are available in Poland and some parts of UK.