Review: Zupa Noma Chilled Ready-to-Sip Soups
Covers Products: Organic Tomatillo Jalapeno, Organic Yellow Pepper Habanero, Organic Beet Orange Basil, Organic Carrot Coconut Lime, Organic Tomato Gazpacho, Organic Cucumber Avocado Fennel
Zupa Noma is a USDA Organic and high pressure processed (HPP) product (we won’t yet call it a beverage) that is looking to disrupt the soup category. To do this, the brand is taking a variety (six, to be exact) of soup formulations, putting them into bottles, and in essence marketing them as the savory counterpart to HPP juice.
In terms of the flavor lineup, the back of the bottle has a “Flavor Intensity” scale that rates the products from sweet to spicy. However, it doesn’t always accurately reflect the overall intensity of the flavor. This is true with their Gazpacho offering, which, despite being in the middle of the scale, has a relatively assertive flavor. The product, which has an almost pureed texture, has all the right notes that you’d expect to find in a classic gazpacho, including tomato, onion, garlic, pepper, and cucumber. It is, at least as far as the limited bar for bottled gazpacho is concerned, a flavorful and enjoyable offering that kicks off the brand quite nicely.
From there, the Yellow Pepper Habanero and Tomatillo Jalapeno provide two spicy flavor profiles. These two flavors, which are our favorites of the initial six, are assertive, but balanced. And, more importantly, they have greater depth than some of the other flavors. As for the three other varieties, which include Beet Orange Basil, Carrot Coconut Lime, and Cucumber Avocado Fennel, they are a bit more mellow in flavor, but heartier in body. The Beet Orange Basil and Carrot Coconut Lime also have slightly sweet notes, but the Cucumber Avocado does not. Of all the flavors, these were, at least for us, the ones we felt like we’d rather eat with a spoon.
Packaging is a 12 oz. square plastic bottle with a clear label and a black cap. The design feels like something that’s a sibling of HPP juice, with an illustrated design that includes a slightly conceptual image of the ingredients used in each flavor. The package does a nice job of explaining what the product is (“Ready-to-sip chilled vegetable soup”), but there is certainly education that needs to happen for this or any other product in the category to take off. If there’s anything that would help the appearance of the product, it would be the visual differentiation between some of the flavors (the green ones in particular). Otherwise, we think the concept and the execution of the package are great.
Ultimately, coming up with a six-flavor line of chilled drinkable soups is a challenge, especially with this concept being a relatively new one and it being somewhat trial and error in terms of which soups are going to work in this format and which won’t. After our sampling of all six of the initial flavors, we’d definitely lean more towards the spicy and assertive ones. Regardless, Zupa Noma has a nice sturdy core set of flavors and packaging that should, assuming the the drinkable soup concept continues to catch on, lead to this brand being a serious player.