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Direct-to-Consumer Food Brands Want to Change How You Eat


And strike fear into the hearts of CPG giants

At Nuggs, a direct-to-consumer brand that creates pea protein-based nuggets, customers are technically eating a prototype.

Thanks to the direct line DTC brands have to customer feedback, a company like Nuggs works on new versions of its nuggets, making it an ever-evolving product where the next box of Nuggs is better than the last.

Nuggs is part of the growing market of companies challenging CPG in a variety of categories, from the bathroom to the kitchen. Companies like Brightland, a digitally native brand selling California-grown olive oil, and Magic Spoon, a DTC cereal made for adults, are attracting venture capital and an organic following based on how these firms are challenging the CPG world and what they see in the market that others like General Mills and Tyson don’t—or just aren’t adapting to yet.

“These startup brands are either born from an opportunity they see in a category or [from an] ethos of transparency,” said Mary Zalla, global president of consumer brands at Landor.

Magic Spoon, for example, doesn’t necessarily want to upend the traditional cereal market, instead focusing on healthier breakfast foods, like protein shakes or açaí bowls, and selling its keto-friendly and gluten-free cereal in two options: a variety pack of its four flavors for $39 or a monthly subscription option that costs $35.10. Since debuting in April, Magic Spoon has scaled up after selling out its two-month inventory within the first week. The company also recently raised a $5.5 million seed round, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, to grow the team.

“There was a deep demand and yearning for cereal that tastes like childhood but [does] not [have] nutritional drawbacks,” said Gabi Lewis, co-founder of Magic Spoon.

Brightland, an extra virgin olive oil brand, started out to address the state of the olive oil industry where, according to a UC Davis report, 69% of imported olive oil does not meet international standards to qualify as extra virgin olive oil. Since its debut in 2018, Brightland has expanded through strategic partnerships with Neiman Marcus and Goop, as well as rolling out limited-edition olive oil flavorings and designs (the February collaboration with artist B.D. Graft sold out in 72 hours).

DTC and wholesale account for 80% and 20% of Brightland’s revenue, respectively, and 20% of its DTC customers are subscribers. The company declined to share specific numbers on its subscriber base and revenue. What it did say was that being an “omnichannel brand” is a necessity. It lacks the traditional venture capital funding to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, and currently, paid marketing accounts for less than 10% of Brightland’s media spend.

“We didn’t see this as a brand marketing play; we also saw this as a different business line,” said Aishwarya Iyer, founder and CEO of Brightland.

Nuggs, however, wants to be on every Instagram feed, but organically. Similar to Brightland, founder Ben Pasternak wants to run Nuggs without relying on Facebook and Instagram ads, instead growing a community of Nugg lovers. The Nuggs team has already started testing on other platforms like TikTok and sending those users free products.

With $7 million in funding from McCain Foods and others, Nuggs is targeting meat eaters for its product, as opposed to going after vegetarians and vegans. Nuggs is taking the DTC approach of listening to customers to develop its product more like an app with software updates. The brand has only existed for a few weeks, but it’s already working on Nuggs version 1.5 (set for fall release) and plans on generating more consumer feedback through its lab in New York.

“You can’t just buy users; you want to create community around it, and you want people to be really excited about it,” Pasternak said.

While these DTC brands are making waves, incumbent CPG brands are far from ignoring the situation. General Mills invested an undisclosed amount in Beyond Meat in 2013, and Kellogg’s acquired RxBars for $600 million in 2017. Zalla said it’s one indication that these legacy companies are worried and also acting opportunistically to gain more data and insight into who’s buying these DTC brands.

Considering that 16,000 smaller companies with annual sales of at least $100,000 raised their market share from 17% to 19% from 2014 to 2019, and large food and beverage CPG firms accounted for 31% of sales, according to Nielsen, there’s a clear financial reason to acquire or learn the tactics of DTC brands.

“Buying a brand that was born DTC allows them to own and compete in both channels: the traditional retail channel and the DTC channel,” Zalla said.


먹는 방법을 바꾸고 싶은 서비자 직접 (Direct-to-Consumer) 식품 브래드


DTC 브랜드의 고객 의견과 피드백 기능 덕분에 DTC 브랜드인 Nuggs와 같은 회사는 새로운 버전의 Nugget을 제작하여 회사의 다음 박스가 이전 박스에 비해 더 나은 진화하는 제품이 되었다. 

Nuggs는 욕실에서 부엌에 이르기까지 다양한 카테고리에서 세계적 소비재(CGP)에 도전하는 회사들이 성장하는 시장의 일부분이다. 캘리포니아산 올리브유를 판매하는 디지털 네이티브 브랜드 Brightland와 성인용 DTC 시리얼인 Magic Spoon과 같은 회사들은 CPG 세계에 도전하는 방식과 CPG 세계에 어떤 영향을 미치는지에 따라 벤처 캐피탈과 유기물을 유치하고 있는 동안 General Mills 및 Tyson과 같은 회사들은 이 시장에 왜 아직 적응을 못 한다. 

"이러한 스타트업 브랜드는 제품 카테고리에서 볼 수 있는 기회나 투명성에서 탄생한 것이다,"라고 랜도르 소비자 브랜드 글로벌 사장인 메리 잘라는 말했다.

예를 들어, Magic Spoon은 전통적인 시리얼 시장을 늘리기 위해서가 아니라 단백질 쉐이크나 아사이 보울과 같은 건강에 좋은 아침식사에 초점을 맞추고, 케토 친화적이고 글루텐이 없는 시리얼을 39달러에 4가지 맛의 다양한 제품이나 35.10달러의 월 구독 옵션으로 판매한다. 매직 스푼2019년 4월 등장후 첫 주 안에 2개월간의 재고를 팔았다. 또한 최근 팀을 성장시키기 위해 Lightspeed Venture Partners가 이끄는 550만 달러의 시드 라운드도 마련했다. Magic Spoon의 공동 창립자인 Gabi Lewis는 “어린 시절과 같은 맛은 있지만 영양 단점은 없는 시리얼에 대한 깊은 수요와 열망이 있었다”고 말했다. 

UC 데이비스 보고서에 따르면 수입 올리브유의 69%가 국제 기준에 부합하지 않아 엑스트라 버진 올리브유의 자격을 얻지 못한다. 이 문제를 알고 브라이트랜드는 2018년 시장에 등장했다. Neiman Marcus 및 Goop과 전략적 파트너십을 통해 확장되었다. 또한  한정판 올리브 오일 향료 및 디자인을 생산하며 (\아티스트 B.D. Graft와의 2 월 공동 작업은 72 시간 만에 매진되었다. 

DTC와 도매가 각각 브라이트랜드 매출의 80% 및 20%를 차지하며, DTC 고객 중 20%가 서브스크라이버다. 페이스북과 인스타그램에 광고하기 위한 전통적인 벤처 자금 지원이 부족하며, 현재 유료 마케팅은 브라이트랜드의 미디어 지출의 10% 미만을 차지한다. 브라이트랜드의 창업자 겸 CEO인 아이쉬와랴 아이어는 "우리는 이것을 브랜드 마케팅 플레이로 보지 않았다. 우리는 이것을 다른 사업 라인으로 보았다"고 말했다. 

그러나 누그스는 모든 인스타그램피드에 있고 싶지만 유기적으로 있기를 원하다. 설립자 Ben Pasternak은 브라리트렌드와 마찬가지로 페이스북 및 인스타그램 광고에 의존하지 않고 너그스를 운영하고, 그 대신 너그스 애호가 커뮤니티를 키우고 싶어합한다. Nuggs 팀은 이미 TikTok과 같은 다른 플랫폼에서 테스트를 시작했으며 해당 사용자에게 무료 제품을 제공했다.

매케인 푸드 등으로부터 7백만 달러의 자금을 지원받은 누그스는 채식주의자와 비건 주의자를 다겟하기보다는 육류 소비자들을 다게팅한다Nuggs는 고객의 의견을 듣고 소프트웨어 업데이트가 포함 된 앱처럼 제품을 개발하는 DTC 접근 방식을 취하고 있다.  이 브랜드는 몇 주 동안 만 존재했지만 이미 Nuggs 버전 1.5에서 작업 중이며 뉴욕 실험실을 통해 더 많은 소비자 피드백을 생성 할 계획이다. 

"사용자들을 매수할 수는 없다. 당신은 그 주변에 커뮤니티를 만들고 싶고, 사람들이 그것에 대해 정말 흥분하게 만들어야 한다."라고 Pasternak이 말했다.

이런 DTC 브랜드가 새로운 트랜드를 만들고 있지만 기존 CPG 브랜드들은 이 상황을 외면하기엔 거리가 멀다. 제너럴 밀스는 2013년 비욘드 고기에 투자했고, 켈로그는 2017년 RxBars를 6억 달러에 인수했다. 잘라는 이것이 이러한 레거시 기업들이 걱정하며 또한 누가 이러한 DTC 브랜드를 구입하는지에 대한 더 많은 데이터와 통찰력을 얻기 위해 기회주의적으로 행동하고 있다는 것을 보여주는 것이라고 말했다.

닐슨에 따르면 연간 매출이 10만 달러 이상인 1만6000 개의 소규모 회사들이 2014년부터 2019년까지 시장점유율을 17%에서 19%로 끌어올렸고, 대형 식음료 CPG 업체가 매출의 31%를 차지한 점을 감안하면 DTC 브랜드의 전술을 인수하거나 익힐 수 있는 확실한 재정적 이유가 있다고 한다.

잘라는 "DTC로 탄생한 브랜드를 구입하면 기존의 소매 채널과 DTC 채널 두 채널을 모두 소유하고 경쟁할 수 있다"고 말했다.


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  • 기사등록 2020-04-22 11:16:10
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