CHANNEL LENS: BROKERS ON THE STATE OF RETAILING
As natural CPG expands further into conventional retail, are mass channels supportive environments ripe with opportunity? At NOSH Live Summer 2019, BevNET and NOSH editor-in-chief Jeffrey Klineman led a discussion with a panel of revered industry brokers: TJ Varecka, principal at KMG Group; Tregg Brown, chief sales officer at Team Direct Management, which works with Walmart and Sam’s Club, and Tracy Miedema, VP of innovation and brand development at Presence Marketing, about retailer relationships — and why mass channels “no longer have to be the last piece of the puzzle,” Varecka said.
Ten years ago, 25% of natural and organic CPG was through conventional retail; now it’s about 65% and will continue to evolve, Miedema noted. Though traditionally considered the last place to start, mass retail now provides a nurturing environment for entrepreneurial brands in order to offer shoppers a curated selection of offerings. In turn, big retailers can provide brands with omnichannel opportunities, including click-and-collect and shipping from store locations, which creates “an area of unlimited shelf space” that allows tribes to find their brands, Miedema said.
The panel also touched on the slow emergence of CBD products in larger retailers, suggesting that both Target and Walmart are following FDA guidance before selling CBD.
In the video above, the panel helps navigate the world of large retail, the importance of a clear channel strategy and how to prepare for entering mass channels. With consumers spending just a few seconds at the shelf, transparent brand messaging is one of the most crucial ingredients.
INDUSTRY ALL-STARS HAVE SPOKEN AT NOSH LIVE
Founder & CEO, CAULIPOWER and Vegolutionary Foods
Gail Becker is the Founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER and Vegolutionary Foods. Already well known in professional circles, Gail’s career reached the highest levels of media, politics and business - including executive roles at Warner Bros., The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and Edelman. But as a mom of two boys with celiac disease, Gail was not happy with the gluten-free options available to her family. Who wants pizza that’s full of sugar and chemicals, or doesn’t taste anything like pizza, or takes 90 minutes to make? Seeing that the food industry offered no nutritious solutions for busy, foodie families to enjoy together, Gail took matters into her own hands and launched CAULIPOWER in early 2017. CAULIPOWER disrupted one of grocery’s most stagnant categories and is now the #1 gluten-free pizza and #1 fastest growing pizza brand in the U.S., with availability in over 22,000 stores. Earlier this year, CAULIPOWER was honored with Walmart’s “Supplier of the Year, Innovation” award. In 2018, Gail launched a new mother brand, Vegolutionary Foods, as a platform for innovative, approachable and convenient meal-hacking products, including the world’s first superfood toast, Sweet PotaTOASTS. Gail is a passionate advocate for new entrepreneurs, women in business and making vegetable nutrition accessible and delicious to all - especially kids.
Former co-CEO, Whole Foods Market; Principal, Stonewall Robb Advisors
An investor, mentor and advisor to the next generation of American food companies, former co- CEO of Whole Foods Market Walter Robb has a long and varied entrepreneurial history, ranging from natural food retailer to farmer to consultant. Robb joined Whole Foods Market in 1991 and in 2010 was named co-CEO along with John Mackey, at which time he joined the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors. In 2017, Robb transitioned his leadership focus to his role as a passionate advocate for greater food access in underserved communities, serving as Chairman of the Board for Whole Kids Foundation and Whole Cities Foundation. Robb also serves on the Board of Directors for Union Square Hospitality Group, The Container Store, FoodMaven, HeatGenie and Apeel Sciences.
EVP, Retailer Services, SPINS
Kathryn Peters has served SPINS for 10 years across numerous key areas of the growing business. Her commitment to and passion for retail inspires her work developing and sustaining valuable retail relationships at the foundation of the SPINS ecosystem. Kathryn’s insight into helping retailers succeed with SPINS is informed by her previous vice president roles in merchandising and marketing at Ahold and BI-LO, LLC. as well as years of category management and sales experience with retailers during her time with Ralston Purina.
Co-Founder & CEO, Once Upon a Farm
John is the Co-founder and CEO of Once Upon A Farm, a company with the mission of providing yummy and nutritious “farm-to-family” foods to kids of all ages. Company information can be found at www.onceuponafarmorganics.com Prior to his new start-up, John spent more than 30 years in the natural and organic food industry running businesses with a sharp focus on sustainability and social responsibility. John was the longtime leader of Annie’s, Inc., a leading natural & organic food brand, in the US from 1999 to 2017. As CEO of Annie’s, he took the company public in 2012 under the symbol BNNY before General Mills acquired the business in 2014 for $820 million. For the following three years John ran the Annie’s operating unit and also advised General Mills’ small business incubator 301, Inc. He was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2015 in Northern California. In August 2017, he transitioned into a new role as Chairman of the Bunny, where he continues to work with General Mills to drive leadership in company culture, organic and regenerative agriculture, and strategy support. Foraker received a B.S. in agricultural economics from UC Davis and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
Chairman, Beyond Meat; TeaEO, Honest Tea
Seth Goldman co-founded Honest® Tea in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. In March 2011, Honest Tea was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company, helping to further the reach and impact of Honest Tea’s mission by becoming the first organic and Fair Trade brand in the world's largest beverage distribution system. Today, Honest Tea is the nation’s top selling ready-to-drink organic bottled tea and Honest Kids® is the nation’s top-selling organic kids’ juice drink. The brands are carried in more than 130,000 outlets in the United States, including all Wendy’s, Chik-fil-A, and SUBWAY restaurants. In 2016 Honest Tea’s distribution expanded to Europe. In 2016, Seth transitioned to a new role at Honest Tea as TeaEO Emeritus and Innovation Catalyst for Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands business unit. This transition allows him to take on an additional role as Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat, a privately held California-based enterprise on the cutting edge of plant-based protein research and development. In 2015 Seth was named the #1 Disruptor by Beverage World, and Beverage Executive of the Year by Beverage Industry magazine; he was also inducted into the Washington DC Business Hall of Fame. Seth has also been recognized by the United States Healthful Food Council with a REAL Food Innovator Award for helping change the food landscape by providing options that are healthier for both the body and the planet. Seth serves on the advisory boards of Ripple Foods, the Yale School of Management, the American Beverage Association, and Bethesda Green (a local sustainability non-profit he co-founded). He graduated from Harvard College (1987) and the Yale School of Management (1995), and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Seth and Barry are the authors, along with graphic artist Soongyun Choi, of The New York Times bestseller Mission in a Bottle. The book, told in comic book form, captures their efforts to create a mission-driven business in a profit-driven world. Seth lives with his wife and three sons near Honest Tea’s Bethesda, MD headquarters in an eco-friendly house.
Jeni Britton Bauer
Founder, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni Britton Bauer is an American ice cream maker and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the artisan ice cream movement, she introduced a modern, ingredient-driven style of ice cream making that has been widely emulated across the world but never duplicated. Jeni opened her first ice cream shop, Scream, in 1996, then founded Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002. Her first cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and won a coveted James Beard Award in 2012. It quickly became the de facto bible for anybody making their own ice cream or thinking about opening a new-style ice cream shop. Her second cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (2014), took ice cream to the next level with an array of incredible plated, layered, and piled-high ice cream-centric desserts. Today, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a Certified B Corporation with 34 scoop shops, an online shop at jenis.com, and distribution in top grocery stores across the country. As Founder, Jeni remains the beating heart of the company and is in charge of all creative output—from the ice cream itself to the supporting details that enhance the experience of eating it. Jeni is a 2017 Henry Crown Fellow and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business today.
Founder, Wild Ventures
John Durant is the founder of Wild Ventures, an influencer-based venture fund focused on consumer health. John was a pre-launch advisor to Thrive Market, Kettle & Fire, Magic Spoon, and part of the only funding round in Primal Kitchen (recently acquired by Kraft Heinz). John runs Wild Ventures out of Thrive Market's headquarters in Los Angeles, where he recruited the earliest health influencers to invest in the company’s seed round and designed an influencer strategy that drove 20k+ paid members four months after launch with $0 media spend and helped the company achieve a $100M ARR 16 months after launch. Wild Ventures deals include top health & wellness influencers, such as Wellness Mama, Melissa Hartwig Urban (Whole30), Thrive Market co-founders, and Mark Sisson (Primal Kitchen). More than just “influencers” – now a buzzword – Wild Ventures works with authentic leaders who are domain experts, have significant digital platforms, and love helping founders build a better future. John is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Manifesto and Spartan Fit! with Joe De Sena, the founder of Spartan Race. He has been featured in the New York Times and The New Yorker, interviewed on The Colbert Report and NPR Morning Edition, and has been rated one of The 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness. He studied evolutionary psychology at Harvard under Steven Pinker. John loves barrel saunas, ice baths, bone marrow, and thinks intermittent fasting is still underrated.
Head of CPG Strategy, Pinterest
Arthur Sevilla (@arthursevilla) is Pinterest's CPG vertical strategy lead. Committed to inspiring brands to think beyond media metrics and value the context of consumer engagement, Arthur is a passionate brand builder. Before joining Pinterest, Sevilla spent a decade at Kraft Foods and Mondelez International, in global equity and innovation roles within the grocery and confectionary categories. Most recently he was a Director of Global eCommerce where he set the strategic roadmap for the 2020 ambition of $1B in revenue and executed Oreo Colorfilled, the first DTC activation for the iconic brand. He lives in NYC with his wife and currently is saving ideas about dinner party recipes and a Southeast Asia trip.
NEXT CONFERENCE: NOSH LIVE WINTER 2019 IN SANTA MONICA
The next NOSH Live event takes place at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel on December 4th and 5th. More than 300 natural food industry founder and executives come together to move their businesses forward and discover what's next for the industry. Plan ahead and secure your seat at the two-day conference for the natural food industry. Early registration savings of $200 per ticket ends October 25th.