“It is hard to go out there to a retailer and say we are creating a new category, and it is just us!” said Austin Allan, “totally important officer” and founder of Tio Gazpacho, which launched last fall. But with the addition of more players, Allan said, the idea of drinkable soup as a category is easier to sell.
“If there is a little bit of awareness and a little bit of competition out there, that is a good thing” in part because it makes the idea of drinkable soup more legitimate, he added.
He also says he is not threatened by the newcomers because his business is well established already, and is growing quickly. In the last six months, Tio Gazpacho expanded distribution across the Northeast and in the Mid-Atlantic regions and he is exploring how to move into the West Coast.
He also is adding two new soup flavors to his existing line of three flavors. Next year he will start offering a White Gazpacho and a Watermelon Gazpacho, in addition to his Gazpacho Classico, Gazpacho Verde and Gazpacho de Sol.
Move over for Mucho Gazpacho
One of the new players in the drinkable soup category is Bodega Barcelona, which launched Mucho Gazpacho at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City June 28-30.
Mucho Gazpacho is a traditional gazpacho made from tomato, cucumber, onions, bell peppers, olive oil and a little bit of salt, said Miriam Cloquell, co-founder and managing director of Bodega Barcelona. In addition to the traditional Bravo Tomato Gazpacho, the firm sells a Beet Gazpacho and a Green Gazpacho.
But what sets Mucho Gazpacho apart from Tio Gazpacho’s soups is that it is shelf stable, while Tio Gazpacho’s soups are fresh.
“Our product is shelf stable for 12 months due to the gentle, flash pasteurization,” a spokesman said, adding that the soup is additive free, has two servings of vegetables in each bottle and tastes “remarkably fresh.”
The Splendid Spoon offers more than gazpacho
Another emerging player in the market is The Splendid Spoon, which currently offers five drinkable soups that have been cooked to enhance nutrient absorption and availability, said Nicole Chaszar, the company founder and “spoon captain.”
The lineup includes a Market Gazpacho, which will compete directly with Tio Gazpacho and Mucho Gazpacho. But from there it branches out to include more exotic flavors, including Strawberry Rubarb, which Chaszar says she drinks for breakfast, a Vegan Bone Broth with prebiotics for gut health, Carrot Turmeric Elixer, which has a spicy hit of cayenne and ginger, and Chaszar’s favorite Coconut Cauliflower.
A filling alternative to juicing
All three companies are building the category off the well-established platform created by the ongoing juicing craze, but unlike juicing, they say drinkable soups tend to be more filling with fewer calories and less sugar.
“Juice is just a beverage, soup is a meal,” The Splendid Spoon declares in marketing materials. It adds that “souping” is a healthier alternative to juicing because soups are packed with protein and fiber that stave-off hunger and headaches that are commonly associated with juice cleanses.
While consumers are quick to understand the concept, they still struggle with the idea of a drinkable soup, said Allan. For example, he explained, consumers often ask if they are supposed to pour the soup into a bowl or heat it – demonstrating the new category still has some explaining to do.
Despite this hurdle, Allan sees “souping” as the next big thing “with a capital T,” and thinks there is plenty of space for all the companies to grow.