Updating Add-ons and Up-Sells: The Difference Dips and Soups Make


At DFA Ingredient Solutions, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the trends that will help foodservice establishments, brokers and distributors across the country rebound and thrive. With restrictions lifting, guests returning to restaurants and optimism everywhere, now’s a great time to look at your add-ons and up-sells for ways to add new excitement to menus. We’ve seen upticks in demand for ethnic flavors, increased snacking occasions and others shifts in traditional eating habits. Dips and soups provide the perfect platforms to capture guests’ attention and drive traffic.

Without a doubt, dairy is ideal for dips and soups. Cheese ingredients provide flavor and texture, while butter adds creaminess and enhances the appearance of all kinds of dishes. Elevating the overall experience of dips and soups will go far in helping restaurants serve up what guests are looking for.

— Dan Follese, DFA Ingredient Solutions Culinary Team


Though dinner is relatively constant, breakfast and lunch are continually being replaced by snacking.1 While snacks are primarily defined by item type and whether these items are consumed during nontraditional meal hours, shifts have occurred since 2018 with consumers increasingly defining snacks as small or inexpensive items — like dips and soups.2

Soups add lighter or smaller portions while dips can be included in appetizer or small plate offerings to help fulfill guests’ ever-changing preferences. Since they’re both so easily customizable, they’re great ways to test new flavors to gauge guest reactions.


Tastes from around the globe are driving innovation in dips. Guests are gravitating toward global flavors and ingredients from Mexican to the Middle East.3 Even with changing flavor profiles, dips can be found
on nearly a third of menus and still show 5 percent growth in the past 4 years.4

Consider crema cilantro dip. Its tangy, creamy profile provides a delicious alternative for tortilla chips, and it can also serve as a drizzle on many other spicy dishes.


While almost half of restaurant guests say dips add interest to appetizers,4 they are also perfect for meeting the growing desire for comfort foods.

Cheese offerings still top the list of preferred dips, and nothing says comfort like cheese. Queso varieties like yellow cheddar with baked Fundido and beans are a sure way to give guests the familiar tastes they want with an exciting new twist.

Latin inspired dips like guacamole and salsa are the second most popular. You can easily add unexpected updates to the classics by adding a blend of Mexican cheese and jalapeno cheese seasoning to bring some Hispanic flair. Dairy-based options like spinach artichoke and seafood dips are still preferred by more than 30 percent of guests.3

With a little innovation, dips can even meet the demand for pizza — preferred by 45 percent of guests since the pandemic.6 This queso pizza dip uses a blend of DFA Ingredient Solutions pepper jack and Monterey jack cheeses with bursts of salsa baked right into a pizza crust for the perfect pizza bowl.


Soup is able to function as both an in-between-meal option and a meal, especially with protein- forward or heartier options such as cheesy baked potato, chilis and cream-based soups like chowders. Varieties that draw inspiration from different regions are trending with consumers — ranging from gazpacho to pho to matzo ball.3

You can easily add some Latin flavor to your soup menu with a Soup de Queso. This blend of DFA Ingredient Solutions queso fresco and cheddar pairs perfectly with roasted chicken and fresh cilantro.

To combine international flavors with comfort food tastes, consider a chicken alfredo soup option. It’s loaded with mozzarella and heavy cream blended into a soup with cheese tortellini, roasted chicken and blistered sun ripened tomatoes. You can garnish it with minced crispy pancetta, basil and fresh shaved parmesan.


With an increase in family bundles and meals, adding soups is an easy way to provide more variety in your offerings without a lot of added labor and expense. Soups are highly seasonal and they add emotional impact, warmth and comfort. They currently hold a menu penetration of almost 68 percent.6

With an increased awareness of nutrition and ingredients, soup can be a truly healthy dish with many benefits. Recipes made with bone, vegetable, or meat broths deliver vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, such as collagen. They also taste great while minimizing added fats and calories. People are also finding that eating soup is an easy and tasty way to increase vegetables in their diets.7 Options like a soup and salad combos provide lighter choices for guests as well, giving them the ability to customize.



As consumers start to dine out more and cook in less, you can capitalize on global fare, snacking occasions and comfort favorites through dips and soups.

DFA Ingredients Solutions offers a variety of products to meet your consumers’ desires and enhance your current menu offerings or create your next seasonal item. With an extensive portfolio ranging from cheeses to rich butters, your takeout or dine-in menu will keep bringing them back.

We can help grow your menu offerings without overcomplicating your ingredients. We’ll partner with you to stay on top of the latest trends and meet ever-changing dining demands while also bringing new ideas to market in a timely manner.

Find out how DFA Ingredient Solutions can help you develop new flavors and choices in the dip and soup categories.

1 IFMA CPP 2020, Wave one Snacking Grab & Go, August 2020
2 Technomic, Snacking Insights – Smart Support Project, January 2021
3 Technomic – Dips, Dressings and Soup Insights. – Smart Support Project, Feb 2021
4 Datassential, Dip Snap Profile, March 25, 2021
5 Mintel, 2021 US Foodservice Trends, March 2021
6 Datassential, Soup Snap Profile, March 25, 2021
7 Healthline, “Is Soup Healthy, and Which Types Are Best?”

Related Content