Taste Radio Podcast: Culture and Condiments with Scott Norton

Carol Ortenberg

On this week’s episode of Taste Radio, recorded during last month’s BevNET Live, Project NOSH Editor Carol Ortenberg and BevNET Senior Brand Specialist Jon Landis sat down with Sir Kensington’s co-founder Scott Norton.

The “condiments with character” maker, which has seen explosive growth over its seven year history, was recently acquired by CPG giant Unilever. In the podcast, Norton discussed how the acquisition came about (hint: it wasn’t planned) and why Sir Kensington’s team felt Unilever was the right partner to take the company to the next level.

“We thought we had a long way to go under our stewardship and under our responsibility,” Norton said. “But what we learned through that process was that Unilever really has an enlightened approach to business that is very in-line with the way we think.”

Sir Kensington’s was able to previously attract investors –and then a top tier acquirer– in part, because of its relentless focus on data, consumer research and company culture, according to Norton. He spoke about Sir Kensington’s “secret sauce” for attacking those focus points explaining how he thinks small brands can use a similar strategy.

Beyond its internal operations, the company has seen retail success by going beyond traditional marketing in order to connect with consumers where it matters most. For example, the brand has placed special effort on getting their line into restaurants and other food service locations where consumers are in a “theater of food” and feeling more adventurous.

“We have this saying ‘Make news, not ads.’ Advertising is an absolutely last resort,” Norton told Taste Radio. “The idea that someone should see your message because you’ve coopted some space and paid for it and they’re forced to see it, that’s not where people are primed to adopt products and adopt products.”

In addition to Norton, this week’s podcast features an “Elevator Pitch” segment with rapidly expanding, lactose-free ice cream brand, Minus the Moo.

To listen to the full episode, listen below.

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