If there's one lesson for food brands during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's this: it's absolutely critical to build a direct connection with the consumer of your product.
The reason is simple: distribution channels are fragile things and, sometimes due to circumstances often outside of your control, the possibility is real that some time you may wake up without any way to reach your customer, especially in a world where pandemics like COVID-19 force people to stay away from where they normally would buy your product.
For Jeremiah Kreisberg and his company Slow Up, this became a harsh reality when in March when the world shut down. The company sold its fresh snack bars through food service channels and so when everyone started working from home due to COVID-19, Kreisberg had to spin up a direct to consumer channel and fast.
But just putting up an e-commerce website wasn’t enough. Not only did the company need to find a way to sell online, but their fresh food product had a limited shelf life and required cold chain delivery.
For Vanessa Pham and Omsom, their COVID-19 related challenges were of a different sort. She and her sister had spent the last year preparing to launch a new consumer food brand targeted at early adopter Asian American’s aged 25 to 40, but when the world changed almost overnight, it was natural to wonder if they should wait.
They didn’t and, as it turns out, it was a savvy move. Their lineup of shelf-stable Asian food starters sold out almost immediately and now the company is planning new flavors and products as they eye the future.
I had a chance to talk with both Pham and Kreisberg in a recent Spoon Plus virtual event, “Building a Direct to Consumer Food Business In a Post-Pandemic World.” During the hour long sessions, the two CPG entrepreneurs shared insights on:
- How to build a community of dedicated customers
- The importance of communicating and reinforcing the brand’s values to its community
- How CPG food entrepreneurs should think about product evolution and SKU lineup complexity
- How a CPG food startup should think about and use data to hone their strategies
- How to build a growing customer base and find higher lifetime value consumers
- The “tech stack” needed to build a DTC business
And lots more, If you’re a Spoon Plus member, you can watch the full video of my conversation with these two founders to hear how they’re building their businesses.
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