February is here, which means several events are coming that are of industry interest: the Super Bowl (hello, marketers and ad performance), Valentine’s Day (hello, candy sales), and the CAGNY conference (hello, investors and executives). The foundation of these events, though, is the trends they reflect — something I examine in this week’s Friday Flavors. This week, all eyes fell on mayonnaise (again) and the aforementioned Super Bowl:
What’s Hampton Creek up to?
Tuesday, Hellmann’s released an eggless variety that was an obvious nod to its battle with eggless mayonnaise startup Hampton Creek. Hampton Creek's Just Mayo ignited a lawsuit from Hellmann's parent company Unilever in 2014, though it dropped the suit following consumer backlash.
Unilever's new entrant doesn't bother the company's CEO, Josh Tetrick. In an interview with Food Dive, he reiterated that Hampton Creek is not a mayo or spread company, and that the core market is a single mom with two kids looking for cheaper sustainable food that complements a hamburger. Tetrick's aim is to shake up the food system.
"No one's gonna change the world with mayo, but you can put a dent in it," he said.
The company — which saw 350% sales growth in the last year, in addition to new headquarters and now at 110 employees — is aiming for more products than just mayo, so to speak:
Tetrick added he doesn't know why Unilever didn't outright call its product mayonnaise (something Hampton Creek had to contend with the FDA), but that product names do matter and are key to a product's identity.
Tetrick also slipped a scoop to Food Dive: The company is expected to lanch its cookie dough in 250 Super Targets in the next 30 days.
SEE ALSO: Here's why you can't buy Hampton Creek
Super Bowl a super opportunity for e-commerce
Our Marketing Dive editor Natalia Angulo and I walked through new approaches to Super Bowl marketing, but I also caught up with Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insight at Profitero, to gauge the latest in food and beverage e-commerce approaches.
Though manufacturers know e-commerce is growing 15% to 25% year-over-year and brick-and-mortar is only 2% to 4%, e-commerce is only 1% to 2% of the entire grocery business — so it's not a big deal yet. General Mills' e-commerce director Matt Pierre told Food Dive late last year that e-commerce will soon be mission critical for the industry.
Anderson made a critical point that gets to the heart of the matter for e-commerce and large CPG companies that applies far after the Super Bowl is over: "More and more are trying to go direct to consumer, but it doesn’t matter how beloved your brand is. You can get a little bit of a boost from these kind of seasonal events, but ultimately nobody is shopping for just one brand of chip, cookie, beer — I mean everybody is looking for some degree of variety, which is why the indirect e-commerce channel (basically retailers) is still the No. 1 focus for almost every brand that I’ve encountered."
Still, companies like Mondelez are pushing fast into e-commerce, and Anderson will be keeping an eye on the brand’s efforts during the game — in addition to watching the Broncos win, per his prediction (note: he’s from Colorado).
He added that startups approach e-commerce differently. Emerging brands have nothing to lose on the e-commerce front, and many move the opposite direction: from initially selling online to gaining brick-and-mortar shelf space.
What's coming next
More earnings insight is coming as reports pour in. Here's what to expect next week:
- Feb. 9: Coca-Cola
- Feb. 10: Flowers Foods (earnings release Feb. 10 after market close, earnings call Feb. 11)
- Feb. 11: Kellogg, Molson Coors, Pepsi, WhiteWave Foods, TreeHouse Foods, Bunge
We'll be putting all these in the context of trends. Check out our earnings coverage from earlier this week; is there anything else you'd like to see? Shoot me an email: [email protected].
Craziest story of the week
I'm from New Jersey, so bagels are a life staple. These rainbow bagels don't exactly scream natural colors.