Beverage Boom, Baller Investments & Black-Owned Brands: CPG News, Week of Aug 17-21

by Kunal Kohli

3 minutes

It’s the dog days of summer, and the CPG industry remains hot. To keep up with the blazing speed of change—from new investments and category growth to the continued effects of Covid-19 on consumer purchasing behavior—here’s a selection of the news that matters now.


Dual image of L.A. Laker Kyle Kuzma and Detroit Piston Blake Griffin [Unioncrate]
L.A. Laker Kyle Kuzma (left) and Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons, co-investors in Lemon Perfect. (Source: Twitter)

Beverage Booms: NBA All-Stars Investments & More

Enhanced water brand Lemon Perfect announced $6.6M in funding, backed by a group that includes a number of NBAers, including Blake Griffin, Kyle Kuzma and former Bai COO, Barak Bar-Cohen. Its items are sold in about 3,000 doors nationwide. 

Investment from NBA entrepreneurs in beverage brands is not a new trend. Notably, this month it was announced that Stephen Curry entered intoa partnership with “recovery” water brand Oxigen. And in April we learned that Baron Davis, who was an early investor in VitaminWater, poured money into Kitu Super Coffee.

In more beverage news, Hint raised another $25M (Series D). Though its brick-and-mortar footprint is already 30,000 doors large, including a recent Costco partnership, its online business now reportedly makes up 60% of sales. 

The pets market continues to widen and get… more human. Out of Ocean Spray’s incubator comes the launch of Tally-Ho, a water-enhancer brand which touts benefits like “fresher breath, more calmness, or a healthier immune system.” It’s squeezable items are available via Indiegogo. (We’re into it; and yes, it’s because we love our pets.)

Austin-based sparkling water brand Waterloo has been acquired, although terms were not disclosed. It has distribution at 13,000 stores, including Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Publix and H-E-B. It’s unclear whether the brand’s name has anything to do with the eponymous Fleetwood Mac hit.


Discover F&B Brands Founded by Black Entrepreneurs

For August’s National Black Business Month, entrepreneurs from seven Black-owned food and beverage brands are offering a “Black Business Month Box.” The $40 discovery box includes goodies from Partake Foods, TeaSquares, Do Well, Triple A Chin Chin, Pat's Granola, Emily's Foods, and A Dozen Cousins.

Selection of healthy snacks, including Tea Squares, Partake, and A Dozen Cousins [Unioncrate]
(Source: @FamilyFarmed, Twitter)


Gum Sales Drop, Spice Spikes

Even though sales for legacy brands are slowing, measured channel growth remains strong for many of them, including “strong gains” of canned soup, herbs and spices, non-chocolate candy and frozen goods, writes Elaine Watson in Food Navigator USA. Citing IRI and Nielsen/Bernstein reports, she reports that McCormick saw nearly 30% YOY increase for the four weeks ending Aug. 8, with herbs and spices booming 45.6% and dry seasoning spiking by 35.4%. No wonder we can’t find any paprika.


On General Mills’ Shifting Brand Strategy

We enjoyed this article by Kenneth Hein in The Drum, in which he spoke with General Mills' Brand Chief, Brad Hiranaga about how the American giant is adapting its marketing strategies to meet consumers and appeal to the sociopolitical moment: distance learning, hunger, equality, social justice, and more.

“The silver lining of Covid-19 is that it has accelerated, forced, whatever you call it, marketers to really come forward with solutions,” he says. “It’s leaning into that understanding of the customer, where they’re facing problems and what triggers can be there to solve their problems.”


Good Reads: Tuna, Halloween, Alt-Protein

About Unioncrate

Unioncrate is an AI-powered Supply Chain Planning Platform that gives CPG brands the technology they need to compete and win in a rapidly changing consumer landscape. Our automated demand and supply forecasts deliver unmatched accuracy, collaborative visibility, and actionable intelligence, simplifying a manual-heavy process and slashing hours from your week.

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