Sonoma Brands’ ZÜPA NOMA organic chilled vegetable soups - which are treated with high pressure processing and are designed to be eaten cold like gazpacho – were launched in summer 2016 (MSRP $5.99/12oz bottle) and are lower in sugar and higher in fiber than cold pressed juice, said Sebastiani.
“Really the story we’re telling at ZÜPA NOMA [Sonoma Brands’ new drinkable soup brand] is a fiber and a [lack of] sugar story," he told FoodNavigator-USA editor Elaine Watson at the Winter Fancy Food Show.
“We believe that there is a large consumer segment that is used to purchasing an on-the-go, convenient snack food or meal replacement, but using fruit is going to generate about 50g of sugar in your body. With ZÜPA NOMA, you’re getting four servings of fresh vegetables per bottle.”
Less sugar, less waste, more fiber…
So how does drinkable soup compare to green juices, which also emphasize a lower sugar message?
“So the biggest similarity is the fact that most pressed juices are HPP [high pressure processed], so they preserve the freshness and vibrancy of the fruits or vegetables,” said Sebastiani.
“But the difference with ZÜPA NOMA is that we are not pressing out the juice; we’re actually leaving in the seeds and skins within the beverage, thereby giving us the fiber. We’re also not creating the waste. A fresh-pressed juice is maybe creating four and a half pounds of waste per bottle.”
Souping... the new juicing?
Asked what terminology around drinkable soup resonates the most with consumers, he said: “As a new brand we’re learning on the go,” with some consumers embracing the ‘souping’ concept and others referring to the soups as ‘superfood smoothies' or ‘savory smoothies,’ or other things, he said.
“The L.A. Times had a full page article a few weeks ago saying ‘Souping is the new juicing,’ so those types of pieces get picked up around the country and drive a ton of business.”
Merchandising options for drinkable soup
As for merchandising, ZÜPA NOMA has grabbed store real estate in the chilled grab & go beverage set, the produce section, and in standalone refrigerators with other chilled snacks such as Perfect Bars near the deli or the checkout – with the latter two placements working particularly well for the brand, he said.
“The challenge [when ZÜPA NOMA is merchandised alongside traditional juices] is that it blends in with the rest of the products, and this product requires the consumer to understand why is this different, which is hard to do when you’re with a sea of other brands.”
Further reading: Tio Gazpacho gears up for significant expansion in 2017