This post has been updated.
It’s hard out there for a K-Cup.
The novelty of Keurig’s convenient single-serving pods of coffee has worn off. They are expensive. Even their inventor has bemoaned their wastefulness. The company is trying to branch out beyond coffee, but that isn’t working out so well, either. Investors did not love the company’s hyped up “Kold” machine, a soda-dispensing, counter-top device designed with Coca-Cola that will retail for $299-$369, not including the pods themselves.
And now the K-Cup maker is unveiling another half-brewed idea: soup in a pod.
Developed with Campbell’s Soup, another struggling food company, this new invention raises a question: Why?
Here’s how it will work, according to the companies’ press release: “Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup kits are a two-step process; each kit includes a noodle packet and a broth K-Cup® pod. To brew soup, simply empty the soup packet into a 12-oz cup, insert the K-Cup® pod, brew, stir, let sit and enjoy!”
Two varieties are now available: Homestyle Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix and Southwest Style Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix. You can buy them on Amazon for $16.72 for six K-Cups and Noodle packets ($2.78/serving) or $42.31 for 20 ($2.12/serving). For comparison’s sake, a box of 24 Nissin Chicken Cup Noodles, which does not require a separate machine, sells for $9.49 ($0.40/serving). Campbell’s own Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup bowl goes for just $1.68.
Update: A spokesperson for Campbell’s told Quartz that the K-Cups allow Keurig owners to “use their brewer more often throughout the day.” The difference between the K-Cup and the Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup bowl, he said, is that the (more expensive) K-Cup is considered a snack, while the bowl is a meal.