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Soup in Eastern Europe

January 2020

The role and relevance of soup is explored in Eastern Europe where this product is largely influenced by long-standing traditions and local cuisines. Poland’s key focus is examined on top of taking the most important economic factors into consideration. The most notable product and segment developments are highlighted within the marketplace where competition is highly consolidated but is getting more fierce as soup continues to expand and diversify.

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Key Findings

Economies and soup

The moderate historic growth of soup in Eastern Europe was heavily affected by the Ukrainian crisis, greatly influencing its trajectory. Thriving economies of most countries and rising interest, mainly in Romania and Poland, counterbalanced the decline until customer behaviour and manufacturer activities have started to become more influential than economic factors.

Unfolding divergence

The breakdown of soup may look homogenous at first with dehydrated and instant products being the most popular in almost every country, but there are multiple signs of divergence. These goods continue to rise swiftly in Romania, but in Hungary chilled soup gets the spotlight while alternatives for packaged soup are preferred in Slovakia - to a name a few ongoing developments.

Poland leading in soup

The Polish market is of key importance in the region, in part due to its size but also due to the ongoing structural changes in soup. Interest in chilled soup - and to some extent for frozen soup - is growing rapidly, while the mature instant and dehydrated products are falling out of favour.

Concentrated competition

Over the historic period, more than half of the market share was owned by the top five companies, but more importantly, Nestlé and Unilever still own 47% of it in 2019. Despite marketing, distribution and brand management efforts, these companies were losing share to local rivals that are offering cheaper or innovative products.

Future growth of soup

As health and convenience trends collide, soup products that are able to satisfy both needs are expected to prevail and keep on growing, but only if the traditional local flavours are kept intact to suit the specific needs of those Eastern European customers who cherish soup and the traditions that come with it.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Maturity in disguise
Soup transitions as the region stabilises
Poland leads the reformation of soup market
Agile answers and solutions lead to success
Economic factors versus industry trends
Out with the old, in with the new (1)
Out with the old, in with the new (2)
Change cannot be discounted (1)
Change cannot be discounted (2)

Leading Companies and Brands

Concentration decreases as new stars arise
Complacency leads to stagnation and decline
Stretching wide for the top positions
Slow and steady wins the race

Forecast Projections

Broadly different circumstances underlying future growth
Broadly different circumstances underlying future growth
Soft drivers can be heavy hitters (1)
Soft drivers can be heavy hitters (2)

Country Snapshots

Poland: market context
Poland: competitive and retail landscape
Serbia: market context
Serbia: competitive and retail landscape
Hungary: market context
Hungary: competitive and retail landscape
Russia: market context
Russia: competitive and retail landscape
Romania: market context
Romania: competitive and retail landscape
Bosnia and Herzegovina: market context
Bosnia and Herzegovina: competitive and retail landscape
Ukraine: market context
Ukraine: competitive and retail landscape
Estonia: market context
Estonia: competitive and retail landscape
Czech Republic: market context
Czech Republic: competitive and retail landscape
Belarus: market context
Belarus: competitive and retail landscape
North Macedonia: market context
North Macedonia: competitive and retail landscape
Lithuania: market context
Lithuania: competitive and retail landscape
Croatia: market context
Croatia: competitive and retail landscape
Georgia: market context
Georgia: competitive and retail landscape
Slovenia: market context
Slovenia: competitive and retail landscape
Bulgaria: market context
Bulgaria: competitive and retail landscape
Latvia: market context
Latvia: competitive and retail landscape
Slovakia: market context
Slovakia: competitive and retail landscape


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