Tesco drops New Covent Garden Soup


Larry Crowe/PA

As the weather chills and soup season kicks in, Tesco has dropped leading brand New Covent Garden Soup Co - a year after the supermarket launched its own chilled soup range.

Sales of the popular NCG brand, which has been credited with pioneering fresh soup for retail, have fallen this year as it faces increasing pressure from supermarkets' own chilled soup ranges.

Tesco said the move is part of a winter range review it regularly carries out to reflect changes in consumer buying habits.

"Tesco believe they can grow the category without the leading brand," Rob Dixon, marketing controller at NCG owner Hain Daniels, told The Grocer magazine.

According to Nielsen, sales of New Covent Garden Soups were £54.7m in the year ending 2011, the second most-popular soup in the country behind Heinz, the market leader, with sales of £176.9m.

However, the news will come to a blow to New Covent Garden, which has fallen 8.3% by value year-on-year, according to Neilson, as it faces pressure from supermarket own brands.

The pioneering fresh soup company has been particularly hit since the roll out of Tesco's New York Soup Co brand a year ago, which has expanded recently with the Fully Loaded sub-brand of chunky fresh soups.

According to The Grocer, Dixon said: "Clearly Tesco has made a decision to invest in their own tertiary brands."

New Covent Garden Soup Co recently revamped its packaging and is launching a campaign, including TV ads, later this month.

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