Food & Beverage Manufacturing

Soups & Sides

Find a U.S. Dairy Supplier

Access to 100+ U.S. Companies

New global product launches of soup product applications grew more than 48% from 2012 to 2013.1 Side items like pasta and noodles, rice and salads have also experienced growth, with a 45% increase in global product launches of pasta and noodles from 2011 to 2013, a 58% increase in rice products and a 42% increase in salads. 2,3,4

Flavor, nutrition and comfort are three characteristics consumers are looking for in their diets. All types of soup and sides can benefit from the nutrition, flavor and textures U.S. cheese, whey and milk proteins, permeates, yogurt and other dairy ingredients provide. Dairy ingredients and products from the United States help product developers keep on-trend with innovation in the soups and sides category. Learn more about U.S. dairy products in the Product Section.

Trends in Soups and Sides

Soups and sidesHectic lifestyles make easy-to-prepare soups and sides a natural choice for consumers to dine on at home as meal accompaniments or even center of plate items for heartier fare.  

Product innovation is on the rise as formulators create items designed to meet consumer demands in categories including pasta and noodles. The natural healthfulness perception of ingredient lists continues to gain prominence as consumers seek clean labels.  

Pasta and Noodles

Pasta and noodles, both prepared and plain, are popular side items. In fact, prepared and plain pasta and noodles combined to account for nearly 42% of all new global product launches in the ready meals category in 2013.2  

Cheese was a feature of nearly 10% of all global prepared pasta and noodle products launched in 2013, and was the second-most popular flavor/variety that year.2 The addition of cheese and U.S. dairy ingredients to pasta and noodle side items can be a valuable inclusion. Whey protein also is a useful ingredient, providing essential protein content that is easily digestible.

Clean Label

There is a marked trend for food marketing based on the intrinsic, natural healthfulness of the product and its ingredients.5 New global product development activity in the soup category supports consumers' desire for a clean label,  with "no additives" the top positioning claim for new soup products globally.1 Meanwhile, "all natural" positioning fuels growth in the prepared pasta and noodles market.6  

One important consumer cue to discern real, fresh and natural foods is a short list of recognizable ingredients. Dairy-based ingredients and products provide a source of good nutrition and are perceived to be less-processed.  


The chart below illustrates the benefits of common dairy ingredients.

 Butter & Milkfat(Details)Cheese(Details)Reduced-fat Evaporated Milk(Details)Whey Permeate(Details)Whey Proteins(Details)Yogurt(Details)
Appearance yes       yes  
Blending yes       yes  
Calorie Reduction   yes     yes yes
Flavor yes yes yes   yes yes
Mouthfeel yes       yes  
Nutrient Fortification   yes   yes    
Opacity         yes  
Sodium Reduction       yes    
  Butter & Milkfat Details Cheese Details Milk Powder Details Permeate Details Whey Details

Formulas & Recipes

Access U.S. Dairy Export Council prototype formulations for inspiration on delicious soups and sides incorporating a variety of U.S. dairy products.

Squash and Apple Soup

Squash and Apple Soup

Simmer up a pot of this golden potage and bask in the delightful combination of squash and apple.


Italian Bread Balls

Italian Bread Balls

These classic Italian bread balls with soft and fluffy interiors are great as a snack to nibble on. Serve with antipasti and dipping sauce for a scrumptious accompaniment to an Italian meal.


Reduced-sodium Protein Udon Soup

Reduced-sodium Protein Udon Soup

Easy-to-prepare comfort food gets upgraded with this fresh take on a popular dish.


Resources & Insights

Looking for further innovation ideas and technical support? Download the resources below for more information on developing soup and side dish applications with U.S. Dairy.

Whey Protein Concentrates in Low-Fat Applications

Their high nutritional quality and unique range of functional properties make whey ingredients valuable in a variety of low-fat products.

1Innova Database. Soup. January 2014.
2Innova Database. Prepared Pasta and Noodles. April 2014.
3Innova Database. Rice. February 2014.
4Innova Database. Prepared Salads. June 2014.
512 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2014. November 2013.
6Innova Database. Be Prepared for More Health for Prepared Pasta and Noodles. September 2013.