Three Steps to Finding A Great Package Designer

Folks new to the industry often get shocked when they start uncovering how much some design firms will charge to re-do their package graphics, essentially. A considerable strategy fee (for what?). Some kind of brand/visual identity fee (OK). A whole lot per UPC/SKU (penalizing a

Exponential Growth Can’t Rely on B2B Sales

The vast majority of CPG startups operate as B2B businesses. They don’t interact with their consumers, even when they sell DTC (!). They aren’t even curious about how ordinary people receive and use their products. As long as case volume sales grow, they’re happy. As

The Fallacy of Huge Demand for Plant-based Meat Analogues

Billions have flowed into plant-based and cell-based meat ventures in recent years. The behavioral assumption they all make is that there is a very large addressable market of consumers, ordinary middle-class consumers, waiting for environmentally responsible meat substitutes to appear.  Meat alternatives originated in the 1970s

You are in the Wrong Category With the Right Innovation

Actually, I don’t know if you are. But what if you are? Categories are cultural spaces full of meanings and experiential expectations. Cheddar cheese tastes like X. I tend to want it on Z, but not on W. And down the nuanced rabbit hole we

Why Are My Velocities So Unstable?

Many new CPG founders are concerned about the highly unstable, week-to-week velocities and month-month sell-in volumes for their product lines. The fear is heightened once you are inside a significant chain. I get it. But here’s the thing. This is completely normal. It’s like your

Covid Pandemic Supply Chain Lessons for Exponential Growth Brands

As Omicron peaks, CPG retail out-of stocks are at an all-time high. IRI calculates them at around 88% of full, which is approximately 7% below normal levels. In Food, the situation is worse, especially in shelf-stable, center store categories, where OOS are hovering around 84%

Liquid Death – Will It Keep Growing and How Far?

Those in the beverage category have been watching bottled water brand Liquid Death (LD) very closely, long before last week’s Series C announcement. LD came out of the gates quickly for a team with no prior (publicly known) beverage operating experience. If the average early-stage

Margins, Margins, Oh My

Your margin is calling. But which one? Gross? Net? Retailer? Distributor? This math is annoying, especially in routes-to-market reliant on 3P distribution. However, most new founders focus on their wholesale price and NOT on any of the ‘prices’ up the value chain to the shelf, where the consumer will

Industry Indifference to Others’ Incompetence is Your Big Risk

I’m one of the few CPG industry veterans willing to air the industry’s dirty laundry in public, so others without big industry networks don’t crash. And there is a lot of smelly laundry in a very loosely regulated industry, most of it operating in the

Fighting Gender Discrimination in Funding

Trigger warning: I’m not going to offer a comfortable or even politically correct solution in this post. I want to add real value to female founders, so they know how to counter misogynistic behavior or frighten off the true manipulators. So, I’m following a social