CCD Helmsman on drinkable soups in the Wall Street Journal

Put Down That Spoon—This Soup is for Drinking: As people seek alternatives to sweet beverages and try to consume more vegetables, food makers offer soup packaged for sipping—from chilled bottles to cups with lids — Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2019; by Anne-Marie Chaker (available to WSJ digital subscribers)

Our summary of some of the key points: With chilled soups sold fresh in grocery stores growing while shelf-stable cans and Tetrapaks slump, will sippable cold soups in handy bottles catch on? This article explores some of the new products trying to fit into busy consumers lives by providing nourishing, but chilled, vegetable soups, such as Tio Gazpacho.

Kara Nielsen, of CCD Helmsman questions whether enough consumers will find soup appealing as a cold beverage. “When I think about the things that make soup attractive, they are: the heat, the garnish and the things you eat with it, like a cracker or a breadstick,” she says.

However, the approach is working for some producers. Sara Polon, owner of Washington, D.C.-based Soupergirl, which sells its homemade soups in restaurants and stores in mid-Atlantic states, says she saw a sales increase of as much as 30% when she began putting her cold gazpacho in bottles this past summer. She says consumers were already drinking it right out of the takeout tubs anyway.

Sonoma Brands, the Sonoma, Calif.-based marketers of Smashmallow candies and Dang coconut chips, has launched a Züpa Noma brand of chilled soups in 12-ounce bottles at grocery stores and health food markets in cities including San Francisco and New York and via its website.

It is approaching stores slowly as it grapples with where it should go on shelves. “There’s not really a set [category] for drinkable soup right now,” says Jen Berliner, Züpa Noma’s president. “We’re trying to take a very strategic approach.”

Kara Nielsen