The company started out as a ‘soup cleanse’ program that sold prepared soups direct to consumers. This year, it caught the eye of venture capital firm Spiral Sun Ventures, which focuses on better-for-you consumer products, and Skinny Souping unveiled its plan to go on retail shelves at the Good Food Festival in Chicago earlier this month.
“Grab-and-go prepared foods is growing so much, we’re seeing explosive growth in that particular market segment,” founder Alison Velazquez told FoodNavigator-USA. “Additionally, there’s an increase of interest from consumers on healthy products, so we’re hitting the crossroads on both of those.”
Can soup fill juice’s void?
On Skinny Souping’s website, Velazquez touts the benefits of soup over juice. “The biggest complaints from the medical community when it comes to juicing is the lack of fiber and the spikes in blood sugar levels,” it says.
Bottled, shelf-stable soup (as opposed to canned) is a category in its infancy. There are only a few brands playing in the space: Tio Gazpacho, which raised $1.25m on CircleUp led by General Mills’ new venturing unit, and Sonoma Brands’ ZÜPA NOMA.
As both brands are positioned as cold soups, what Velazquez wants to bring to the playing field is an option that’s more flexible. “Our product, from inception, from design of the packaging to the design of the flavor profile were designed to be delicious hot or cold,” Velazquez said.
Planning a route to market
From the brand’s time as a direct-to-consumer brand, Velazquez said that she benefitted with direct communication to her target audience, women on-the-go. “Our retail line really developed from customer demand, and they wanted easier access and more frequent access to our product on a single-serve basis,” she said.
“We’re currently in talks with Whole Foods, and they’re excited to bring our products onto shelves, so we’re finalizing our initial launch date,” she continued, adding that its slated to hit store shelves in the Chicago area sometime this month.
The soups will start at $7.99, the same price range as many cold-pressed juices, in 16oz jars with a twistable top. Velazquez, who has a Culinary Arts degree from Kendall College in Chicago, designed the recipes, which range from rosemary, white bean, and leek, to cinnamon, apple, and amaranth.
For now, the soups are all cooked before bottled, but Velazquez said she is interested to look at high pressure processing (HPP) as the brand grows so that the products will have a longer shelf life. A big part of the brand is its transparent container, “in order for consumers to understand that our product is completely fresh,” she said.