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Why To Include Healthy Soups and Salads At Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Why To Include Healthy Soups and Salads At Your Truckstop

Most truckstops are now offering some type of salad offering which has been a positive for sales and profitability.

If you have not considered soups as part of your fresh food offering, it is time to do so.

When it comes to soups it is important to keep a very open mind to what may sell in the ever changing food environment. Ongoing emphasis on healthful eating along with the rise of the fast-casual segment and retail prepared foods are both creating greater demand for soups and salads. The research firm Technomic reports that 54 percent of consumers purchase soup from a dining establishment at least once a week.

Technomic recently released its soup and salad consumer trend report. The report found that almost half of consumers said they visit certain restaurants specifically because they enjoy the soup and salad at the location. The report also found that:

  • Half of consumers—51 percent—say it is important that soup be bundled with other items
  • 60 percent said the same regarding salad
  • 58 percent of consumers said that they are more likely to order soup as a combo meal than as a single item
  • 50 percent of consumers reported that they want to try new and unique soups
  • 35 percent of consumers said they purchase soup because they want to try new varieties
  • 21 percent said the same for salad

Creating an expansive soup section within your truckstop is an opportunity to drive additional sales into your establishment as well as to the cash register. Highlighting soups within your grocery gondola section along with supporting these soups in and around the grab-n-go area of your location will lead to an improved awareness from your consumer that you are in this growing category.

Technomic also reported that ethnic and innovative soups, such as Asian-style ramen and chilled varieties, are poised for growth, particularly among younger consumers.

Asian and Japanese quick-cook soups placed next to convection ovens and or microwaves drive the point home that your location deems these quick but healthy fares important to offer.

South American and Mexican soups are also growing in popularity. Manufacturers continue to place a great deal of emphasis on the quality and taste of these products, to the point that they are beginning to pop up in boutique casual dining, coffee shops and airport kiosks specifically for those on the move. Kale, chopped and grain-based salads are trending forward at the restaurant-chain level and in the retail space. 

Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, said it is vital for restaurant operators to emphasize uniqueness in order to keep soup and salad lovers coming through the door.

"Catering to consumers' need for variety when dining out—while also striking a balance between craveable, healthy and innovative yet familiar offerings that justify price points—will be important in driving soup and salad purchases. Operators may also have room to ramp up soup and salad orders by promoting their appeal across day parts and meal parts," Tristano said. 


/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  



Join the conversation! Have you started offering more heathy soups and salads at your truckstop?

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.