Posts by Brad Avery
On Wednesday, more than two dozen brands took to Instagram Live for a series of discussions on racial equity and the Black experience in the food and beverage sector as part of the #OnTheMenuNow Initiative. The series of video conversations paired Black founders and CEOs with white brand leaders and covered topics including job opportunities, the pandemic and systemic racism.
On Tuesday, Oatly closed one of the largest food and beverage financing deals of the year when it announced a $200 million funding round led by Blackstone Growth. Speaking with BevNET, Oatly CEO Toni Petersson said the financing represents a diversification of the company’s ownership structure, bringing in an American firm that will work directly with its European and Asian arms.
Though the current market has been thoroughly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving uncertainty about how consumer behavior will shift long term, a new report by market research firm IRI showed that last year was marked by numerous “blockbuster” food and beverage launches as both conglomerates and smaller companies introduced new products that quickly surpassed $100 million in sales.
Shaka Tea, a Hawaii-based maker of ready-to-drink and bagged tea products, has raised $2.3 million in a funding round led by farming company Mahi Pono, bringing the brand’s total financing to $4.1 million.
In a webinar hosted by the Hirshberg Institute on Wednesday, three leaders in the natural grocery space discussed how distributors and retailers are responding to the fast-changing environment and what brands can do to stay on top of the crisis.
Last week, three new reports from market research firms IRI, Datassential and Blue Chip, shone light on how consumer behavior has changed since March and what the industry should anticipate as the crisis eases and a new normal for consumer buying habits emerges.
Yesterday, John Raiche, EVP of supplier services at UNFI, discussed in detail how the industry is adapting to the changes brought on by the novel coronavirus in a webinar hosted by the Hirshberg Enterprise Institute. Raiche offered advice for how brands can adapt to the new environment while providing an update on how UNFI is responding to the demands of the crisis.
As consumers meet with the stress and chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of daily life, finding ways to relax and unwind has taken on even higher importance. Many brands from both the THC and CBD sides of the ledger quickly found sales growth as consumers rushed to stockpile goods from nearly all CPG sectors, but cannabis suppliers and entrepreneurs are now wondering what their industry will look like once the crisis passes.
While many established companies are bearing up under the storm thus far, small entrepreneurial brands, from early stage startups to regional players, who often have less distribution to start, are feeling the pain from retail disruptions. However, amidst lost supermarket sales or cancelled expansion plans, online is providing a possible bright spot for these brands.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces businesses around the world to close for the foreseeable future, food and beverage brands have found many traditional routes to market in brick and mortar retail have suddenly shuttered. The global lockdown has made ecommerce (along with grocery and drug channels) more vital than ever in sustaining sales during an uncertain economic period.