Blount Fine Foods has launched of a full line of Blount-brand premium organic soups created to meet the demand for authentic, certified organic foods by an ever-growing segment of the marketplace. The rollout comes after more than two years of testing, development and innovation of organic soup recipes, including ingredient sourcing and handling, as well as consumer packaging and marketing.
“As the popularity of prepared foods has exploded at retail, we have seen the call for organics to be part of the solution grow from a murmur to a rumble to a roar,” says Bob Sewall, Blount’s executive vice president of sales and marketing. “For the last two years, our chefs have been working with restaurant chefs to refine our true-to-nature, delicious handcrafted organic recipes; improving our sourcing and collaboration with certified organic farmers; and testing and studying consumer attitudes, tastes and desires as they relate to premium organic soups.”
The Blount Organics line is available nationally in seven varieties, including two brand new recipes that have never been offered anywhere:
- Organic Vegetarian Chili (gluten-free, vegetarian) is made with hearty black beans, onions, potatoes and red bell peppers that are simmered in a rich vegetable stock with a hint of spice.
- Organic Tomato Bisque (gluten-free, vegetarian) is made with ripe tomatoes and a creamy combination of milk, butter and spices that are gently simmered to create this hearty bisque.
- Organic Coconut Lentil Soup NEW (gluten-free, vegetarian) is a robust, protein-rich vegetarian lentil soup with a mild, sweet coconut curry broth.
- Organic Ancient Grain Minestrone Soup (vegetarian) has a classic minestrone flavor with an ancient twist: farro, quinoa, and barley to satisfy high demand from a health-conscious marketplace.
- Organic Savory Harvest Bisque (vegetarian) features sweet butternut squash and carrots pureed with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon and finished with diced apples, sweet potatoes and a hint of rosemary.
- Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup (low-fat, chicken raised without antibiotics) is made with tender antibiotic-free chicken, flavorful roasted corn, diced tomatoes, Monterey Jack cheese and jalapeño peppers.
- Organic Broccoli Cheddar Soup (gluten-free) is a new flavor made with generous pieces of broccoli, creamy sharp cheddar cheese and a touch of spice, and is now certified organic.
In addition to the two new varieties, the rest of the line has undergone recipe improvements to further bring out the delicious layers of flavor Blount soups are known for, say company officials. The Blount brand has undergone a complete redesign to highlight product features and make the soups more attention grabbing and attractive to shoppers passing them in the refrigerated foods section. All soups come in 16-ounce microwavable cups with Blount’s exclusive Cool Grip Rim that makes picking up a cup of hot soup easy.
The line will launch with both trade and consumer promotional campaigns, the latter being a first for Blount. The retail trade campaign kicks off in June 2016, with online and print advertisements in food trade publications, and direct response marketing electronically and via mail. Products and packaging will be introduced to buyers attending the International Dairy, Deli, Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) annual Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar & Expo which will be held in Houston June 5-7 (booth 1901). Retailers also have access to a catalog of in-store collateral support from Blount that includes digital files for video screens and social media, floor signage and menu boards, tabletop soup ID cards for cross-promoting at the hot-to-go bar in the prepared foods section, channel strips, shelf-talkers and floor graphics.
For the first time, Blount will also market its soups to consumers with a campaign that kicks off in September. A consumer website will educate consumers on products, offer suggestions on menu pairings and serving via videos designed for social media sharing, but also give them a glimpse at just how much care and effort goes into bringing a premium organic soup to market. Blount will offer in-store sampling, purchase incentive via FSIs, and undertake “foodie influencer” outreach and communications. The company will also bring its brand experience on the road with out-of-store sampling in unique and unexpected ways throughout the autumn as the days get colder and shorter, and Soup Season kicks into high gear.
“Our consumer marketing strategy up until now has been to use licensing agreements to sell retail soups under well-known and respected brands consumers seek out, and to be the manufacturer of choice for many of the country’s most successful private label soup programs, both of which will only be enhanced by our entering the Blount brand into the marketplace,” adds Sewall. “With this launch, we are introducing a third option, the brand restaurant chefs have loved and trusted for decades, and a brand consumers will quickly come to understand gives them more.”
To accommodate the production demands of the new retail line, Blount will manufacture out of both its Massachusetts headquarters plant, as well as the McKinney, Texas plant it acquired in January 2016, which is currently being retrofitted for soup production and logistics, and working to achieve several certifications, including as a USDA “organic” manufacturer.