Lynn, Mass.-based Kettle Cuisine’s Marketside Kickin’ Chicken Chowder is new to Wal-Mart instore delis, and it’s catching on quickly with the retailer’s customers, said Mike Seeger, Kettle Cuisine’s vice president of sales.

“It brings a special surprise to the standard chicken noodle soup,” Seeger said. “We use fresh chicken, raised without the use of antibiotics, and real cream and heaty potatoes for a creamy indulgent chowder.”

The “kickin’” comes courtesy of roasted poblanos and chili powder. The soup has been nominated for best new item at the Private Label Manufacturer Association awards show, Seeger said.

Based on feedback Kettle Cuisine has received thus far, customers like that the new offering is “on trend and exciting,” he added, without forfeiting quality.

“We continue to source premium, real ingredients and create each recipe using time-honored cooking techniques,” he said.

The pandemic has been tough on hot soup offerings instore, but Kettle Cuisine has seen several of its customers bounce back nicely. One of the company’s retail partners in the Northeast, for instance, has actually been able to expand its hot soup bars, using it as a way for consumers to vote with their palette on whether an item should become a full-time item in the deli section.

COVID has not increased the number of Kettle Cuisine soups being sold packaged in the deli/prepared sections of supermarkets, Seeger said.

In fact, the opposite is often the case — the pandemic has really let retailers know which items to keep and which items to prune.

COVID or no COVID, the soup category is a strong one in deli/prepared, Seeger said, and Kettle Cuisine looks forward to more growth and innovation.
 “I think soups here to stay whether it's pre or post pandemic,” he said. “With continued innovation, consumers will continue to seek healthy foods that taste great.”

Kettle Cuisine is working with its retailers to continue with the mindset of “ business as usual,” even if the definition of usual keeps changing, Seeger said. 

“Making fresh soup available day in and day out will always be the way the good retailers separate themselves from the rest of the pack.”