Could drinking soup become a new trend in the UK?

A start-up has created a reheatable bottle to store its soup, so people can chuck in it their bag and sip or gulp it down on the go.

2 May 2019
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image credit: Re:Nourish

It’s a grab-and-go soup, but not as you know it. Food start-up Re:Nourish has created a range of soups that can either be eaten cold or hot because they come in a nifty heatable bottle, which can be opened, microwaved, resealed and stored in a handbag or backpack.

The brand was started by a former nurse, Nicci Clarke, who previously launched a fresh food delivery company back in 2010.

On a research trip to New York and Los Angeles a few years ago, Clarke investigated the soup landscape and found US consumers were turning their back on the fresh fruit juice craze, due to concerns about the high sugar content. Instead, they were drinking soup.

It led her to develop a range of four soups, targeted towards different health areas. There’s a roasted carrot and ginger soup aimed at digestion, and kale, spinach and turmeric for immunity. The two others relate more to mood, with the tomato, basil and passion fruit designed for calmness, while the spicy red pepper and maca enhances “power and love,” according to Re:Nourish.

The products have already launched into Planet Organic and other independent stores with an RRP of £2.80, while retailers and one big coffee chain have also expressed interest. A light summer soup is planned for launch soon too.

While the pricing is in line with other fresh soups on the market, the size is smaller, coming in at 500g – but Clarke believes this size is better suited to customers.

“The research said that with a 600g bottle, guys were drinking all of it but girls wouldn’t finish it and would throw some away,” Clarke told Food Spark’s sister site Food Navigator. “We don’t want wastage and it’s a fully recyclable bottle. We want you to either reuse or recycle it.”

The new juicing?

Clarke believes the soup market in the UK is really antiquated and one of the major selling points for Re:Nourish is the patented microwavable bottle, which took nine months to develop.

“I felt that the consumer, if [this range] was out there, would feel this would be a really healthy and flexible option for them, giving them the benefit that they can put the soup in your bag,” she said. “They can drink it on-the-go and you can have our soups hot or cold straight from the bottle if you want. That’s disrupting a big lunch market where there’s not the option to take a bottle of soup and put it in and out of your bag.”

The soups are all plant-based, although Clarke wasn’t keen to highlight the vegan aspect on the packaging, since some studies have shown that people think vegan products don’t taste as good. Each serving is packed with vitamins and minerals, is a source of fibre, and contains no added sugar, gluten, artificial preservatives or additives.

Clarke is convinced that ‘souping’ is the new juicing and that, now the convenience factor has been addressed, this trend is ready to take off in the UK. She was also determined to create a container that had a similar appearance to juice bottles, with simple branding and a transparent exterior so consumers could see inside.

Taste has also been crucial to the soup development and Clarke believes it will help her stand out from the crowd.

“People tell us it doesn’t taste like soup. People are used to that own-label, from the same manufacturer, all tasting the same,” she commented. “And what was so revolutionary about New Covent Garden soup when they first came to market was they tasted like soup that you made yourself – and that’s what we’ve gone back to, not this mass produced soup that tastes bland. We taste really good.”

Logistically, it will be difficult to take a fresh food brand international, but Clarke sees her concept making its way to the US and around the world. It’s clearly got potential, as serial entrepreneur John Stapleton, who has built up and sold brands like the New Covent Soup Garden Company, is assisting Re:Nourish with its rollout.

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