Soup’s On in NYC as Tio Gazpacho Launches East Coast Expansion

Tio GazpachoIn the nearly three months since its resounding victory in BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 8, Tio Gazpacho has aligned itself with some powerful partners, and is now in midst for a big distribution push along the East Coast.

Last month, the Miami-based company made its first foray outside of South Florida with the launch of its high pressure processed (HPP) organic soup blends, which are bottled and promoted with the tagline “no bowl required,” in New York City. Gourmet Guru is distributing the products in the metro region, and the brand is currently represented in a variety of independent grocers, including Brooklyn Harvest Market and Nature’s Pantry.

Tio founder Austin Allan praised Gourmet Guru, which first encountered the company at the 2014 Natural Products Expo East, as an enthusiastic partner that is working quickly to expand the brand’s presence in New York. Typically, Gourmet Guru incubates new brands in its portfolio by pre-selling product to major retailers and later to independent retailers, Allan said. However, he noted that the DSD distributor wanted to take advantage of growing interest in Tio that has been building since its September showing at Expo East.

Along with Gourmet Guru, Tio has also signed wholesaler agreements with KeHe and UNFI, and Allan expects the distribution giants to play a key role in opening new markets for the brand, particularly in cities from Miami to Washington D.C.

Assisting in the retail development of the brand is Presence Marketing, the natural and organic products broker that has been a critical ally for a number of CPG brands including Suja, which has rapidly emerged as the top-selling HPP juice brand in the country. While still very early in the relationship, Allan views Presence, which also works with a few other super-premium juice brands, including Tumeric Alive and RIPE Craft Bar Mixers, as a partner that will “open up doors that would otherwise be closed” for the company.

While the brand is currently only sold among independent grocers, Allan said that Tio is making headway with a few major retailers in the New York region, including Balducci’s and Shaw’s, as well as online grocer Fresh Direct. As for the nation’s leading natural foods grocer, Whole Foods, Tio’s distributors have presented for placement in the chain’s Northeast, North Atlantic and Florida divisions.

Available in three varieties, Clasico, Verde and De Sol, Tio Gazpacho retails for $8.99 to $9.99 for a 12 oz. bottle, a premium price point even for HPP juice, with brands in the category gradually reducing cost to consumers over the past year (Suja recently dropped the everyday price of its 16 oz. “Classic” line to $5.99 for some varieties and $7.99 for others.) That said, Allan is hopeful that as Tio begins to scale, a greater sales will enable the company decrease the price.

Allan is also eyeing an extension of the brand with two new varieties, one of which includes a blend of a watermelon, habanero and cilantro (“it’s incredible delicious,” he raved). Allan kept the other innovation under wraps, but noted that both new products should make their debut in September and introduced the 2015 Natural Products Expo East.