Sonoma Brands hires PepsiCo exec to drive ZÜPA NOMA, build drinkable soup category

Initial response to drinkable soup ZÜPA NOMA is ‘off the charts,’ says Sonoma Brands

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Sonoma Brands hires PepsiCo exec to drive ZÜPA NOMA

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Drinkable soup ZÜPA NOMA has been flying off shelves in the west coast, according to owner Sonoma Brands, which has just recruited ex-PepsiCo exec Jennifer Berliner as director of marketing for the new brand.

The organic chilled vegetable soups - which are treated with high pressure processing and are designed to be eaten cold like gazpacho - debuted July 1 in around 1,000 stores on the west coast (MSRP $5.99/12oz bottle).

Lower in sugar and higher in fiber than cold pressed juice, they are a better option for a snack or meal replacement, according to Sonoma Brands founder Jon Sebastiani, who said most stores are carrying all six SKUs.

“Surprisingly there is equal performance amongst the flavors thus far. Our consumer response has been off the charts. To date, average velocities are approaching five bottles per SKU per store per week.  

“Literally, consumers are developing a loyalty to the brand reminding me of the immediate adoption of consumers in my KRAVE experience ​[Sebastiani founded KRAVE Jerky, which was sold to Hershey in 2015].  

"Whether they are looking to lose weight, get their daily fill of veggies or simply enjoy a better-for-you snack, our consumer base has proven to be incredibly sticky, incorporating ZÜPA NOMA into their daily diets.”

'Our consumer base has proven to be incredibly sticky...'

As for merchandising, it’s too early to say which position in store is the best, said Sebastiani, who has secured placements with retail partners in the produce section, the chilled grab & go beverage set, and in standalone refrigerators in the deli section.

“We continue to be merchandised alongside like-branded HPP products, primarily cold-pressed juices, [but] we will remain incredibly curious on where our merchandised home will ultimately be - whether in the produce set, dairy, or raw coolers. This 'Liquid Feast concept continues to show traction and resonate with our consumer base who are looking for convenient and healthy ways to be satisfied on-the-go.”

Zupa Noma SKUs

ZÜPA NOMA​ debuted in around 1,000 stores on the west coast on July 1, including Sprouts, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s, Lunardi’s, Draeger’s, PPC Natural Markets, New Seasons Market and many more independent retailers. 

 “If we prove out the ​[drinkable soup] concept, then retailers will probably take out some juice space as every retailer is now over-indexed on cold-pressed juices. I believe that souping is the new juicing and we’re going to tell a health and wellness story that’s very real.”

Jon Sebastiani, founder, Sonoma Brands

Jennifer brings an arsenal of knowledge and experience to ZÜPA NOMA

Jennifer Berliner
“Jenn is a fabulous hire - we are absolutely confident her skill-set and background will help pioneer the development of ZÜPA NOMA and the ‘souping’ category.” Jon Sebastiani, founder, Sonoma Brands

New hire Jennifer Berliner most recently led shopper marketing at PepsiCo for national retailers for LiptonTea, Hydration, and Frito-Lay multipack snacks, and has expertise in brand building, optimizing growth strategies and developing data-driven innovation, said Sebastiani. 

“Jennifer brings an arsenal of knowledge and experience to ZÜPA NOMA, and we know that she will contribute immensely to the exponential growth of the brand as a market leader in the category.

"Our investment in a marketing division at ZÜPA NOMA, led by Jennifer, marks a valuable addition to our team as we continue to make an impact on the soup category with innovation and creativity.”

Trailblazers food vision usa graphic 2016

Jon Sebastiani will be speaking on day one of Food Vision USA​ in Chicago on November 9.

Find out more about our TRAILBLAZERS​ initiative for entrepreneurs at Food Vision USA here, ​and get the full speaker list HERE​.

Read more about ZÜPA NOMA HERE​.


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