New Products, Partnerships, & Anniversaries
The Cure•ist, a wellness brand that specializes in a prescription bath bomb service, has released a line of pill-shaped bath bombs and will donate 10% of net profits to nonprofit organization BEAM Collective, which works to dismantle the barriers faced by Black communities when they seek mental healthcare.
Skyn Iceland announced the expansion of its retail footprint to stores including Ulta Beauty and Anthropologie, joining the former’s Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty platform, which offers clean beauty products and focus on product and package sustainability.
Popchips is expanding their product profile with two new lines, Popchip grain free and Popchip corn chips, the first new product lines since the brand was acquired by VMG Partners last year. The better-for-you, non-GMO chips are available nationwide in Kroger now with plans to expand retail presence in the near future.
Genius Gourmet Inc. is adding an RTD chocolate keto shake, which has joined the Genius Gourmet line online and in brick-and-mortar stores across the country.
Love Corn is celebrating its fourth birthday and over 10 million bags sold, collaborating with production studio weareseventeen to make a video showcasing the products they’ve unveiled over the years.
The Pink Bakery, the vegan bakery based in Tennessee, has received a $10,000 grant from Beyoncé through the superstar’s Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund, created earlier this year to assist Black-owned small businesses that were impacted by the pandemic. The Pink Bakery, which started as a custom order baking business, was forced to halt most of their operations when Covid-19 hit and began selling at-home baking mixes to adapt to customer demand. Founder Nubian Simmons says, “I’m still on a high from [the] announcement and I cannot believe that my company is sitting on Beyonce’s website right now with the other recipients from Round 2.” The grant will be used to purchase supplies, pay off debt, and improve packaging.
Ingredion Inc. will acquire plant-based protein manufacturer Verdient Foods, it was announced this week.
Nestlé has purchased meal delivery service Freshly for $950 million, the companies announced in a joint statement. The deal comes nearly four years after Nestlé acquired a 16% stake in the company to test the market, and is part of a sustained effort from the food giant to include healthier options in its portfolio.
New York-based food company Atlast has secured a $7 million seed round.
Brand Licensing Meets Marketing
The Hershey Company is taking a new approach to marketing by using the licensing of some of its iconic products as part of its strategy. The company has had a string of product mashups in 2020, the most recent being its unlikely collaboration with Yuengling for a limited edition chocolate flavored porter brew that will be available in 22 states this fall. "There are many more categories that we belong in, but we don't have direct access," says Hershey’s senior director of global licensing and business development Ernie Savo. "Being able to remind people of our brands when they are shopping outside of our core competency is extremely important to us." Licensing is no longer seen simply as a business venture, but as an opportunity to reach consumers outside of the core markets that Hershey typically sells to.
The company found that these extensions of products beyond their normal lineup earns a considerable return for them, with shoppers who have Reese’s Puffs cereal, a partnership with General Mills, in their carts more than 40% likely to pick up a package of Reese’s candy on the same shopping trip. However, Savo warns that simply adding a brand name to a product’s packaging is not enough to receive the benefits of the licensing marketing strategy. "[Brand slapping] tends to water down the value of the brand and the licensing," Savo said. "One of the nuances we look from is, how does the licensing proposition fit within the licensee's portfolio?" The licensee should have capabilities that the licenser does not in order to reach the widest audience possible, and Savo emphasizes that trust and communication are key to a successful partnership. The relationship between the two parties allows for a mutually beneficial product that brings both brands to new markets and opportunities.
PepsiCo has pledged to increase Black and Hispanic representation in managerial roles over the next five years, with goals to increase the former by 30% and the latter by 10% by 2025. Additionally, last month the company announced its intention to reach global gender parity in management positions as well, with women making up roughly 41% of senior level professionals worldwide. "While our history is strong, we know we have much work to do," notes Ronald Schellekens, executive VP and chief human resources officer for PepsiCo. The company is somewhat of a “pioneer” in promoting diversity in high level positions, making Harvey C. Russell, a member of the all-Black sales team they hired in 1946, the first Black American to be appointed to a VP role at a multinational corporation in 1962. There’s a severe gap in diversity, both racial and gender-related, in the U.S., with 70.9% of executive roles belonging to White employees, while only 8.4% are held by Hispanic employees and 6.3% by Black employees.
The company will conduct their employment searches through several different channels, including partnering with HBCUs to recruit recent graduates and engaging minority-owned search firms to help fill positions. "Our company is strongest when we embrace the full spectrum of humanity," says Tina Bigalke, PepsiCo’s chief diversity and engagement officer. "That means both building a more diverse, more inclusive workplace, and promoting what we call courageous engagement in our company and the communities we serve."
Celebrating the Holidays in 2020
As Covid-19 cases spike again across the country, consumers are rethinking how they’ll spend the holidays and are switching up their shopping habits to adapt to 2020’s winter season. Information Resources, Inc. has reported that the gatherings held will be noticeably smaller than normal, and will include shifts in product trends. For the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday many households will look for smaller turkeys, or just cuts, to account for fewer people at the table. December holidays are also looking scaled back, with just 32% of consumers saying they will host meals for family members who do not live with them, down from 48% last year.
The news isn’t all bad for CPG brands though, as the number of households planning to eat holiday meals at a restaurant is also expected to fall with the cold weather and resurgence of social distancing concerns that many are experiencing. Resultantly, there is new business to be gained, with IRI suggesting festive packaging and premium seasonal product offerings to encourage customers to spend more.
Embracing the Era of Online Shopping
Despite hesitations that many grocery chains have had to use online delivery services like Instacart or Shipt to manage online shopping and deliveries, a potential second wave of the pandemic has many rethinking that move. While the use of third party services limits the operational control that the chains have, it’s hard to deny that they’ve had a huge impact on consumer culture in the era of Covid-19, and holding back from using them could do more harm than good. "Instacart generates so much traffic and online has grown so much since the pandemic [began] that you simply have to be there to capture that customer base," says retail industry analyst Nick Shields. "Simply put, these grocers are willing to give up control of the customer experience and the data that they may gather just to capture those customers because it’s a necessity for them." Instacart has had tremendous success with quickly scaling its business up as demand increases, and their millions of new customers and key partnerships with certain brands and retailers has allowed for access to a new market of shoppers.
Aside from the influx of consumers that rely on Instacart for deliveries of goods they don’t want to go into a physical store to get themselves, the service also allows smaller grocery stores to provide a delivery service to their customers even if they don’t have the capability to do so themselves. As online and delivery options become a necessity for retailers to keep up with demand for remote shopping from consumers and another wave becomes imminent, many chains will find ways to work with third party delivery services while maintaining a control of operations that works for them.
COVID-19 and our food: Temporary change or a new normal? by Joseph Clayton, Food Dive
Walmart Scraps Plans to Have Robots Scan Shelves by Sarah Nassauer, The Wall Street Journal
Supermarkets Get New Looks as Shoppers Adapt to Pandemic by Jaewong Kang, The Wall Street Journal
Q&A: Krasdale Foods' Steve Silver says COVID-19 supply hurdles remain by Russell Redman, Supermarket News
How Brands Can Adapt To Changing Consumer Demands by Implementing Digital Retailing Strategies by Andrew Rains, Forbes