At Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim this week, ZÜPA NOMA will refashion itself as Medlie and preview innovative products, including a new Glow Veggie Shot and Veggie Mashes, which will become available online at the end of March and in Spring 2019 respectively.
“These changes are really about broadening the brand and kind of setting ourselves up for success in the future,” and to better communicate what consumers love about its products and how they use them, CEO Jen Berliner told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We are fortunate being predominately a direct-to-consumer business to have pretty constant two-way communication with our consumers. And what they tell us is they are picking up ZÜPA NOMA, soon to be Medlie, because it has four servings of whole, organic vegetables that they can grab-and-go. The word soup actually doesn’t really come up in that conversation. It is not core to our value proposition,” she explained.
Rather, she added, “for most of our consumers it is that fresh, trusted, convenient source of veggies” that is the foundation of all of the company’s products and “we felt like Medlie was more inclusive and broader,” which is important as the brand introduces products beyond drinkable soup.
Beyond that, Berliner explained, that the young company landed on Medlie as the new name in part because “it is just a happy word that makes you smile,” but also because the company’s products “quite literally are vegetable medlies.”
Communicating the change to consumers
While rebranding can be exciting and good for a company’s long-term success, it also is risky because it can confuse consumers who expect one name or look and might not recognize the product after the refresh.
Berliner says the brand will help bring consumers along with the change by connecting with consumers on social media, through email and through its website, which is where most of its traffic is generated.
“The direct-to-consumer platform is one of the touchpoints and main ways that we interact with our consumers, and it lends itself a little better for us to directly share this information versus needing to worry about customers being on their own in the aisle of a grocery store and thinking, ‘Is this the product I am familiar with?’ We can explain everything more directly,” she said.
A new look
Along with the new name, the company says it also is introducing a new look that will be cohesive across all products and will continue ‘to champion the vegetables with its iconic, bold imagery.”
Like the old packaging, the new look will feature the same line drawings of vegetable drenched in super-saturated colors, but it will have a new script and streamlined call-outs.
Instead of the block lettering used for ZÜPA NOMA, Medlie will be written in a clean cursive and the product name will appear in all caps in white font on a black flag.
The products that are Whole 30 approved will continue to feature the claim front and center along with the organic description, but claims like ‘ready-to-enjoy’ and ‘superfood soup’ will be dropped in favor of calling the larger format product a ‘veggie drink.’
Along with the new look, Medlie will preview new products at Expo West, including a Whole30 Approved Glow Veggie Shot and a line of Veggie Mashes.
The company first introduced its 2-ounce shots last year at Expo West, but the new line will also include 4 grams of collagen protein, in addition to the serving of vegetables and gram of fiber, Berliner said.
She explained that the company decided to add collagen after it noticed its consumers on Instagram and social media squeezing a packet of collagen into their drinkable soups, shaking them up and enjoying them.
While the concept was a success, the DIY approach did not lead to the experience that Medlie wanted to offer because consumers sometimes had a large chunk of collagen that didn’t break up and didn’t taste great. By combing the veggies and collagen for consumers, Medlie can ensure a smooth consistent product that tastes better but offers the same function
In addition to the new shot, Medlie is introducing a line of ‘mashes,’ which have a cauliflower-mash base and can be consumed the same way as hummus or yogurt – two products that often are avoided by Medlie’s consumers who often follow the Whole30, Keto or Paleo diets.
The spoonable mashes come in small 6 ounce tubs and will be available in three flavors: Sweet Potato Cinnamon, Avocado Greens and Tomato Tahini.
Drinkable soups are here to stay
As the company expands its portfolio and changes it look, Berliner underscored that the company’s flagship drinkable veggie line will remain the same inside and continues to meet a consumer demand.
“The core product line in 12 ounce bottle is not changing at all. We know that people love them, they tell us how great they feel when they drink them, and they often drink multiple every week. So, it is not by any means changing from a product perspective,” she said.
She further explained that the “basics behind launching ZÜPA and drinkable soups 2.5 years ago still very much rings true. Then, as now, consumers were turning around their bottles of juice and their smoothies and realizing there was 50 grams of sugar and in the case of juice, maybe 1 gram of fiber in the whole thing.”
The drinkable veggie line offers a better-for-you alternative to juice that is packed with fiber and nutrients and far less sugar, which is something consumer want even more today than when ZÜPA NOMA first launched, she said.
Ultimately, Berliner said, “all the changes we are undertaking are about listening to our consumers, hearing what they are saying to us and figuring out how we can better play it back to them and set the stage for the next phase of our growth as a broader, fresh vegetable snacking platform.”