Tesco’s latest venture brand looks like bad news for New Covent Garden Soup Co. Less than a week after The Grocer revealed owner Daniels Group was up for sale, it’s facing competition from the New York Soup Company.

Tesco launched its five-strong range of chilled soups this week, inspired by the delis and soup bars of the Big Apple. Flavours include Spicy Pumpkin, Chicken Jambalaya and Corn Chowder, and retail at £2 to £2.20 per 600g tub in the same ballpark as New Covent Garden’s core range.

It is the latest in a string of new venture brands from Tesco, including Chokablok ice cream and Italian range Parioli.

New Covent Garden soup was delisted by Tesco earlier this year following pricing issues a move that hampered value sales, and meant it posted 2% growth [SymphonyIRI grocery 52w/e 9 July 2011] versus double-digit growth from own label and younger brands such as Glorious! and Yorkshire Provender.

New Covent Garden group marketing director Nigel Parrott said the issues with Tesco had been resolved and it had restored the brand’s listings, giving it an extra 1,000 distribution points in-store.

However, industry sources said the New York Soup Co could spell trouble. “It’s clearly backing own label and complementing that with a new range rather than using New Covent Garden as a volume driver,” said one source.

But Dragon Rouge client director Simon Sholl said the recently redesigned and well-liked New Covent Garden soup range would provide stiff competition.