Soupman in major marketing drive for soup brand, resto

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Soupman Inc., maker of The Original Soupman soup and operator of restaurants of the same name, is embarking on an aggressive sales campaign for its soup brand to keep a strong foothold of the $6 billion retail soup market.

The company has doubled the retail distribution of its soup line, improved the packaging design of the product and introduced new flavors, according to Soupman CEO Lloyd Sugarman.

“We wanted to create classy and eye-catching new package graphics that are as good as our soups so consumers could immediately spot the Original Soupman soup cartons on the shelf in the soup aisle,” Sugarman said in a press release. “We firmly believe that as we increase the attention of the shopping audience to our cartons it will directly translate into more trial and repeat sales.”

Sugarman said the soft and reusable package of its soup brands also gives the company a competitive edge over canned soup makers Campbell and Progresso.

Sugarman also revealed that three new unique varieties–Crab Corn Chowder, Chicken Gumbo and Jambalaya—have been introduced to the market. Some of the company’s other soup products and flavors are Lobster Bisque, Tomato Bisque, Lentil and Chicken Noodle.

“We generally have 25 or more ingredients and over 30 percent hearty particulates in our soups. It is an entirely different approach to making soup and we believe that is why our footprint has been growing so rapidly in the $6 billion supermarket soup retail space, with over 3,000 new items placements on shelves added in just the last four months,” said Sugarman.

The CEO said they expect customers who try the soups created by Al Yeganeh to be a customer for life because of their taste and quality. Yeganeh was popularized in a 1995 episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, where Larry Thomas portrayed his character.

Soupman is also in the process of expanding its soup restaurant chain. In February, the company opened Soupman’s Famous New York Delicatessen & Restaurant at Resorts Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

Sugarman said the company plans to open more similar restaurants serving The Original Soupman soups in casinos and airports throughout North America.

“Casinos have a great appeal as entertainment centers. At Atlantic City, our Lobster Rolls, Rueben’s, Pastrami sandwiches and other items are selling great. Also selling well is the take home soups from the restaurants. After a guest has the soup at the restaurant, they take even more home. We are selling four times as much at the restaurant locations as a result,” said Sugarman.

Further, trucks called Soup Mobile will be deployed to provide consumers with the company’s famous and delicious soups as Soupman joins the food truck revolution, one of the hottest trends in the culinary industry. The Soup Mobile will also offer the company’s famous soups making the products the only national food brands available on food truck. More than 25 Soup Mobiles are planned to be on the road this year.

Soupman’s expansion binge follows a court settlement of its three-year legal dispute with Soup Kitchen International Inc. (SKII) over the purchase of the latter’s assets. The court case challenged the purchase price paid in December 2009 to acquire The Original Soupman assets from SKII. Under the terms of the settlement approved by a U.S. federal court, Soupman will continue to retain all rights to the brand, trade dress, intellectual property and assets including the famed Original Soupman soups.

“We are extremely gratified that this protracted case, which we have always considered to be without merit, is now behind us,” said Sugarman. “We have been vindicated on the facts related to the purchase of the brand rights and assets of Original Soupman, and have agreed to contribute only $350,000 towards the settlement, which is less than the cost of the litigation itself.”

Meanwhile, Tim Gannon, chairman of the board of Soupman and co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, said, “With this case resolved, I am thrilled that we can now focus our efforts on the business of selling the best- tasting soup in the world. I believe we have a very special brand and product in a category that is massive, mature and in need of innovation.”

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