September is here! All eyes are on the changing landscape—work, school, home and, of course, consumer shopping! Here's our selection of CPG news for the week that was. Enjoy!
Fresh Funding & Investments
PeaTos, a manufacturer of pea-based snacks, raised a $7 million Series A.
NotCo, a Latin America-based manufacturer of plant-based products (like NotMayo and NotIceCream, get it?) closed an $85 million Series C and plans to expand into the U.S. after huge successes in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile .
Honey Mama’s raised a $4.5 million Series A with Amber Ventures as a major investor. The funding will reportedly be used to expand distribution and sales & marketing efforts to push the cacao-nectar bar brand into the consumer spotlight.
CAVA 💚s RightRice
Fast-casual restaurant CAVA will offer RightRice, a low-carb shelf-stable veggie rice, in all of its U.S. restaurant locations as of Wednesday, offering customers a plant-based, healthier option as consumer interest in better-for-you items continues to blossom. Founded by Keith Belling of popchips, RightRice launched last year in Whole Foods and has expanded to many major retailers nationwide.
Said CAVA CEO Brett Schulman: “[RightRice] was the only [product] that delivers on the taste and nutritional profile we were looking for and uses Mediterranean ingredients and flavors we love. We are honored to be the first national restaurant partner for RightRice, and we intend to continue expanding our plant-based menu to meet our guests' needs."
Good Reads: Sustainable Packaging, Pandemic-Era Shopping, and The Future of the Retail Experience
- Shopify, Suddenly Worth $117 Billion, Is One of the Biggest Pandemic Winners [paywalled] by Inti Pacheco, Wall Street Journal
- Trendline: Packaging, FoodDive
- 7 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed How We Shop for Food, Kim Severson, New York Times
- Are Dark Stores the Future of Post-Pandemic Grocery?, Andy Frye, Winsight Grocery Business
- How Has the Pandemic Changed Independent Grocers?, Gus Lebiak, Winsight Grocery Business
Walmart Vs. Amazon Vs. Microsoft
Walmart is hosting its first-ever Open Call event, bringing over 4,800 brands together for the opportunity to be stocked on shelves. Names like Freedom Deodorant, Backyard Brine, and Amboseli Foods will be in attendance to pitch the retail giant and participate in a series of business owner-focused activities that hope to empower and encourage the fledgling companies.
Walmart is also launching Walmart+, which will offer consumers unlimited free deliveries, early access to promotions, touchless in-store purchasing directly from its app, other perks for $98/year. While Walmart has denied that the platform is an answer to Amazon’s Prime membership service, its release date sets it up to compete with the eCommerce giant on Black Friday and Prime Day.
Amazon opened its latest Amazon Go store on Wednesday in Seattle, making it their second location and positioning them in the same neighborhood as rival Microsoft. The cashless retailer will offer prepared food items, potentially attracting Microsoft employees, and will also cater to parents by stocking baby products like diapers and wipes.
Featuring local vendors like Donut Factory, Ellenos Yogurt, and Theo’s Chocolate, the experience is aimed at revolutionizing the brick-and-mortar retail experience, a goal Microsoft also has its eyes on. Both companies have introduced reimagined retail concepts, with Microsoft partnering with Kroger to create “smart shelves” and devices to make shopping more efficient, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s next for the physical shopping experience.
Whole Foods Meets Customers Where They Are
Whole Foods Market will expand its grocery pickup option to nearly all of its 487 U.S. locations by the end of the month, reports Jeff Wells for Food Dive. Just last month Whole Foods opened its first “dark” store in Brooklyn, which has the sole purpose of fulfilling online orders as in-person shopping falls out of style, and many chains are following suit: Target’s pickup location have grown to over 1,500 in the past few months.