MELROSE PARK, Ill. (FNS) -- A private-label initiative for both hot and packaged soups in the deli department has led to a huge sales jump in the category for Jewel-Osco stores in the Midwest.
"Our entire soup business has increased 600%," said Karen Ramos, a spokeswoman for the chain, following the adoption of the deli department's Chef's Kitchen private label for the products, plus new varieties and additional promotional activity.
Jewel deli departments have had a hot soup program for some time, but last year the chain switched suppliers for that program and rebranded the hot soups, using the Chef's Kitchen designation that also identifies the entire deli department, Ramos said. Jewel also uses the Chef's Kitchen brand for prepared salads, rotisserie chickens, sandwiches, fresh salsa, dips and similar items in the department.
This past fall, Jewel added a line of seven packaged soups in European-style asceptic pouches under the Chef's Kitchen brand.
Those soups, from food-service supplier United Signature Foods of Indianapolis, are now in all stores and "are doing very well," said Ramos.
The refrigerated soups are displayed in refrigerated cases with other prepared items, such as salads, chicken wings, Mexican specialties, and chilled items from the rotisserie, all carrying the Chef's Kitchen brand.
The heavy plastic pouches hold 20 ounces of soup and can stand on end for display. A distinctive red and black label carries the private-brand name, and a clear portion on the front of the packages permits the soup inside to be seen. The pouches have a resealable zip top, and retail for $2.99 per container.