It wasn’t too long ago when many dreamt of launching their own food or drink brand, whether it was a secret family recipe for a pasta sauce or a home kitchen muesli creation, these dreams were once left as such. Yet with our growing food obsession and thirst for offbeat food and drink experiences, these dreams are increasingly being turned into a reality.
The revolution in challenger food and drink brands is flourishing, taking market share from the big guys and gaining wide distribution. This is thanks to shoppers reaching for products that are novel with a rich story. They are often local and ethical, rarefied, containing better ingredients and satisfying the latest demands such as low in sugar and gluten free.
Further validation comes from a dramatic rise in investors eager to finance new food brands. Silicon Valley ‘accelerators’ are raising early-stage financing and supporting food innovators with management consulting to help them establish their manufacturing capacity and distribution channels.
Social media is an immensely effective free tool that makes it easier to build a brand-following and website providers such as squarespace give small food and drink businesses the opportunity to create slick websites that can often look better than their much bigger competitors. With such unprecedented access to these resources, there has never been a better time to launch a brand.
But what happens after launch? One scroll through instagram for #tea and the amount of new brands offering the latest herbal infusion, antioxidant, 100% pure ground, super-green chai tea is staggering. With such a flurry of new brands hitting the market, challenger and larger brands alike must continually build their brand and stand out to consumers.
To stand out in a crowd, brands need a purpose. Having a purpose is powerful, magnetic and creates emotional connection. We as customers prefer brands with a clear purpose that match our beliefs and morals. It shows the brand is not just about selling us a product we love, but also a mission to bring about change. It is a purpose far beyond just making a profit and compels us to buy that brand again and again.
Claudi and Fin are a UK brand that made the first frozen Greek-yoghurt lollies. Naturally low in sugar and enriched with Vitamin D, their products are made from 100% natural yoghurt and real fruit. In the UK, 1 in 5 children are deficient in Vitamin D. Co-founder, Lucy Woodhouse saw an opportunity to bring a healthy treat to the frozen food category that helped promote healthy bones and potentially solve this bigger problem. Throughout their time so far, Claudi and Fin have refused to compromise in any way on their brands purpose. From refusing to add emulsifiers to their ingredients to the unconventional packaging design for lollies, Claudi and Fin attest their success by staying true to what they stand for.
Karma Cola is a challenger brand taking on the soft drinks category with the most entrenched heavy hitters, Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. Offering a Fairtrade and organic version, Karma Cola’s purpose is to help the people who grow cola in Boma village, Sierra Leone. We globally drink 1.9 billion coke-based soft drinks per day, but the people behind growing cola often don’t get paid a cent. Karma Cola is changing that, plus their drink tastes great – a winning combination. In Australia, they grew by 100% with ambitions to grow another 100% in 2016 and they are widely stocked in other international markets such as the UK, now offering their cola in a can.
It is a phenomenal time to be a food and drink entrepreneur launching your own challenger brand. Yet those brands that neglect to determine a true purpose for why they exist ultimately lose their way by making choices and changes that unintentionally compromise the integrity of their product and brand. By having a worthy brand purpose and story, expressed through a compelling and distinctive way, the foundations are set for your brand to live now and long into the future.