On my podcast, you’ll hear episodes of my popular short-form Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) news segment "Consumed", a long-form CPG entrepreneurship interview segment "Formula For:", deeper dive segments "Deep Dish CPG", public speaking engagements, and any of my new and current thoughts that I record specifically for this audio experience!
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The largest distributor of nutritional and sports supplements was hit hard by the “COVID-19 Effect” and it could be on the verge of bankruptcy. This might confuse my community a bit because I’ve stated on many occasions (and gave supporting data on) how exceptionally well the overall nutritional supplements and ancillary functional CPG market has performed against the pandemic business environment over the last 12-15 months. So, how can the largest distributor of these various functional CPG product categories be struggling? In this podcast episode, I'll discuss some of my hypotheses on what went wrong at Europa Sports Products and what's could be next for the nutritional and sports supplements distributor.
During the last piece of Celsius Holdings content, I asked “what happens after you get to the moon”, which was a reference to passing the $100 million sales mark that’s elusive for energy drink brands that don't also have a national distribution contract or share a cap table with one of the five large beverage portfolios. At $50 million in 21Q1 net sales ($200 million run rate), I guess they have their sights set on reaching Mars to complete this space exploration analogy. Within the larger retail and distribution performance, I breakout three specific channels for different reasons that show why Celsius Holdings should have a lot of runway left to grow for many years in the energy drinks market. Celsius Holdings has proved over the last 15 months that it can compete on the same level with the big players in the energy drink space. It’s strengthened distribution channels combined and increased market awareness has positioned Celsius to take even more market share away from mainstream competitors. What’s next will be interesting for the brand, as they could grow organically to $250M in revenue over 2021, but still be at a crossroads that could see themselves readying for the sell-side of an M&A deal.
Did Glanbia Performance Nutrition benefit from pent-up global demand or is something else at play here? Glanbia Performance Nutrition 21Q1 net revenues increased 17.6% YoY on a like-for-like basis from both strong pricing and volume increases. While that growth is extremely strong, leadership did note on the earnings call that about one-third of the consumption growth can be attributed to inventory builds with retailers. As part of the Glanbia Performance Nutrition transformation program, the company again adjusted the organizational and reporting structure. Instead of the recently instituted “Lifestyle”, “Sports Nutrition” and "International/DTC", it will now be "Americas" and "International" only. That being said, Glanbia Performance Nutrition hired two new leadership positions; Chief Growth Officer (focuses by brand) and Chief Commercialization Officer (focuses on channels). Additionally, with almost three-fourths of Glanbia Performance Nutrition revenue is now made up of Optimum Nutrition and Slim Fast. Even with increased advertising spend on both brands planned through the entire 2021, I do think these brands have different 5-year trajectories though, and outside of increased CAPEX spending, Glanbia will need to utilize it's strengthened balance sheet to be more aggressive with M&A. We've yet to see any deals yet from Glanbia Performance Nutrition side while competitors have been gobbling up prime targets.
While the “COVID-19 Effect” challenged Glanbia in 2020, the well-timed transformation plan and improving environment around long-term secular trends should make the company stronger for the future. That being said, problems still lie on recalibrating the GPN brand portfolio and one they will have to address head-on in the next year if they want to sustain their market leadership against large CPG portfolios like Nestle.
Positive in-store (and digital) same store comps will attract a larger pool of interested franchisees and the “COVID-19 Effect” lingering further only strengthens the consumer behavioral pattern around prioritizing all things health and wellness. This combination makes The Vitamin Shoppe potentially very attractive for prospective franchisees. With a run rate of almost $1.2 billion, the specialty supplement retailer would be back to the 2014-2016 height of company (from a revenue perspective). This is no small feat and should be getting more attention than it does because they would be achieving it with a smaller store fleet. While it hasn’t been the flashiest turnaround, the Vitamin Shoppe has quietly been putting in the required work in the gym to now be able to flex its bigger muscles in the market.
Bellring Brands (NYSE: BRBR) growth storm has further strengthened from the recent performance of Dymatize Nutrition, but what takes the active nutrition brand portfolio to the next level? BellRing Brands is a portfolio that owns a collection of convenient nutrition brands like Premier Protein, Dymatize Nutrition, Powerbar, Joint Juice, and Supreme Protein (recently shuttered), which was previously wholly-owned by Post Holdings. A fast-paced and busy lifestyle is pushing consumers to switch to quick and healthy meal options. This has resulted in the increased household penetration of RTD protein shakes that promote active lifestyles. In this latest podcast episode, I'll utilize the recent BellRing Brands earnings report, earnings call, and publicly disclosed news as the backdrop to discuss what it could mean to the overall active nutrition market in the liquids, powders, and bars formats. Because Premier Protein makes up 84% of the portfolio’s total revenue, I’ll dive deeper into that brand, but also provide more commentary on the turnaround story that's happening at Dymatize Nutrition. Finally, I run through the four strategic pillars of Bellring Brands that will unlock organic growth. Only time will tell how this plays out, but Bellring Brands will certainly be an interesting name to pay close attention to in the near-term.
Today’s consumers are increasingly wanting more than simple products. The value they are looking for comes from experiencing the use of a product that is tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Delivering such experiences often requires complex and integrated systems that can no longer satisfied by functional CPG brands only offering “off the rack” products without additional value creating ecosystems. That being said, is it time for your functional CPG brand to deploy an ecosystem strategy? Any functional CPG brand undertaking this level of strategic shift must remember that discovering new customer value through ecosystems is a process (not a project). Most successful ecosystems started with a broad idea of where the potential for new value might lie, and only after learning through customer feedback loops and embracing an iterative innovation mindset does a winning combination emerge. Ecosystems that are successful in the long run need to be adaptable and be ready to modify their designs in anticipation of shifts in markets, technologies, regulations, and public sentiment. Designing an ecosystem is a major undertaking, but one that’s well-designed has the potential to create entire new industries or substantially shape and transform existing industries.
To help explain ecosystem strategies better, I'll utilize three diverse case studies from functional CPG brands already deploying them in the market; Proper Sleep, Nestle, and Revive MD.
Increased transparency is great for every supplement industry stakeholder, right? Ask any key leader within the supplement industry and they will mention that there’s a clear connection between increased transparency and consumer trust. As more consumers add supplements into their daily routine, it’s imperative every player within the value-chain embrace a greater level of transparency to ensure that only high-quality supplements enter the market in order to reduce risk to consumers. While transparency is an evolutionary standard, the brand side of the supplement industry has mostly obliged with this consumer demand for more information. That being said, supplement brands will start demanding more from the supplyside (ie. ingredient suppliers, flavor companies, and contract manufacturers) that eventually turns transparency into full blown traceability. Without a doubt, the supplyside will respond and eventually provide “full traceability”, but what happens next might catch them those supplyside companies off guard!
Even before it’s announcement to buy The Bountiful Company, Nestle was quietly becoming one of most important players (if not the most important player) in the supplement industry. If you haven’t heard by now, Nestle agreed to buy a collection of brands from VMS portfolio The Bountiful Company for $5.75 billion. I believe this M&A activity has huge short-term and long-term implications for the entire supplement industry. In the short-term, supplement companies will have to contend with a new powerhouse that will seek to gain pricing power and additional market share. In the long-term, Nestle has the upper-hand right now on a larger portion of the personalization equation that will define the CPG industry of the future. While “scraps” will always fall from the table of giants to feed a group of peasants below, an increasingly competitive market will force many sports/active nutrition and VMS brands to adapt or die.
How can the first fitness influencer in history help us anticipate the future of influencer marketing? What’s happening today is not new, with most being remixed strategies and methods from years, decades, and even sometimes centuries past. Recently, I was reading an Economist article that made me ponder the trend of fitness influencers. If asked when did fitness influencers start, you might say person XYZ from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Web 1.0 Internet forums or blogs. If you’re a bit older you might say Arnold Schwarzenegger, but what if I told you the “first fitness influencer” came to relevance in the late 1890s. For my bodybuilding fans, you will recognize the name as he’s immortalized with being the trophy given to the annual Mr. Olympia. Though other Victorian strongmen faded from memory, Eugen Sandow remains a household name in the fitness industry. Why are these lessons from Eugen Sandow so important now?
After a year-long delay stemming from the “COVID-19 Effect”, The Vitamin Shoppe finally opened itself up to a refranchising process. As many of my followers know, I’ve said The Vitamin Shoppe would move to a franchise model since their acquisition announcement in August of 2019. The franchise disclosure documents should have been ready in 2020, but the “COVID-19 Effect” created an uncertain business environment where it was better to dig in and execute on existing plans without rocking the boat. Now that we have publicly disclosed information and interested parties can apply to be a franchisee, I wanted to provide you with an overview of those details, discuss how they compare to their biggest competitor GNC, explain why this refranchising is happening, and most importantly discuss what’s could be coming next at The Vitamin Shoppe.
I’ve always believed that Hip Hop and CPG entrepreneurship are linked together. Firstly, Hip Hop is seen as counterculture to other music genres, which is similar to CPG entrepreneurship in today’s “technology” filled founder landscape. Additionally, Hip Hop and CPG entrepreneurship are both centered around being salesmanship and the ability to hustle. Moreover, Hip Hop music is rooted in remixing (or sampling) previous music, and this iterative innovation process is also core to the CPG industry. Finally, Hip Hop is more than music, it's a cultural lifestyle...which anyone in the CPG industry knows it functions in the exact same way. This is probably why you see so many hip-hop artists that are involved with CPG entrepreneurship (or investing). Unfortunately, we never got to see if Notorious B.I.G. would have made this list before his untimely death, but he did provide us hints likely would have been a great CPG entrepreneur. So, what can you learn from the hip-hop legend?
Quest Nutrition has unlocked growth from leveraging the strengthening functional confectionery trend, but the question of whether it's enough to offset declines in the Quest Bar and Atkins protein bar SKUs is still uncertain. In this latest podcast episode, I'll utilize the 2021Q2 Simply Good Foods Company (NASDAQ: SMPL) earnings report, earnings call, and supplemental presentations as the backdrop to provide broad health and fitness snacking market insights. Quest Nutrition and Atkins Nutritionals each continued to have a mixed bag of performance at the product category level, including protein bars and nutritional bars performing worse on a YoY basis (though both continue to outperform the category average). Within my last quarterly update on the Simply Good Foods Company, I provided a business case for why the company should transition to a more "snackier" product portfolio regardless of positive macro trends around consumer mobility. It looks like at least the Quest Nutrition brand was already on the same wavelength. After successfully re-releasing their Quest Peanut Butter Cups to rave reviews and strong sales velocity, they decided to build on that momentum by launching their Quest Candy Bites and Quest Candy Bar this week. In an original article that I wrote just over 3 years ago (Read it here), I called for active nutrition companies to look beyond protein bars and into more confectionary categories that they could add a functional twist to. I mentioned in that article that “if you follow the sports nutrition CPG space closely enough, you have seen some launches that would be more associated confectionery-type CPG products. While most active nutrition brands have not innovated in this manner, are these product launches an indicator of the future?” I think the resounding answer in 2021 is yes…
MusclePharm slammed home its first profitable year in company history, as the sports nutrition brand finally sees some fruits of its labor stemming from the extensive multi-year turnaround plan. For this podcast episode, I'll utilize the MusclePharm Corporation (OTCMKTS: MSLP) 2020Q4 earnings report, that was released on 3/30/2021, to breakdown the most important key updates surrounding the maker of Combat protein powder. With profitability now being achieved consistently, where does MusclePharm go from here? While the sports nutrition brand is obviously far from rewriting its history of accumulated operating losses, these results are baby steps in the right direction. It must now focus on; stabilizing falling global sales, building direct-to-consumer (DTC) capabilities, understanding its legacy role in the market, and rebuilding investor relations to build stakeholder support and optionality for the business in the future.
Even the GNC bankruptcy couldn’t take down the transformation plans that are in-process at FitLife Brands (OTCMKTS: FTLF). A national provider of nutritional supplements for health-conscious consumers, FitLife Brands markets under two brand segment names; NDS Products (sold through the GNC network) and iSatori Products (sold through a diversified retail mix of 17,000 locations). I'll utilize the recent 2020Q4 FitLife Brands earnings report and any additional publicly disclosed information to discuss some broader strategic insights regarding the nutritional supplements market. I'll end the podcast by trying to answer the question, "where does the company go from here?"
Looking at its recent performance, GURU Organic Energy is giving off a Celsius Holdings vibe from 2-3 years ago. For those that aren't aware of the brand, GURU Organic Energy launched in 1999 as the world’s first plant-based all-natural energy drink in Quebec, Canada. In the U.S. market, they launched in 2005 with Whole Foods Market. The current CEO Carl Goyette joined in 2014 and is really credited for the recent growth of the clean energy brand. GURU Organic Energy went public in 2020 through an reverse takeover transaction, which is similar to a SPAC in the U.S., and now trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker GURU. At a current ARR of about $4M in U.S. market sales (~$21M total), they still have a lot of heavy lifting to do if they want to make any impact in the hyper-competitive beverage category. That being said, their products are aligned with growing trends in the U.S. energy drinks market. If they can maintain the right balance of a clean, natural ingredient profile and mainstream taste and branding, while also riding the momentum of Celsius Holdings, it could allow them an opportunity to grow substantially throughout the next 12 months in the U.S. market.
How did Laird Superfood (NYSE: LSF) do at navigating the big waves of Wall Street in Year 1 as a publicly-traded company? For those unfamiliar, Laird Superfood was co-founded in 2015 by namesake Laird Hamilton, which is most famously known as the greatest big wave surfer of all-time. Laird Superfood is an emerging consumer products platform focused on manufacturing and marketing highly differentiated plant-based functional CPG. Trifecta of CPG trends are benefitting Laird Superfood; Better-For-You, Plant-Based, and Functional. Within the CPG category, there's an ongoing secular shift from highly processed legacy products that demonstrate little nutritional benefit to natural, nutrient-dense, functional and plant-based alternatives. Laird Superfood has three major product platforms, including; SuperFood Creamers, Hydration and Beverage Enhancers, and Coffee, Tea, and Hot Chocolate. These total addressable markets are growing and Laird Superfood will see strong growth in 2021, but great products only get you so far in today’s hyper-competitive CPG industry. The real point of differentiation continues to be the Laird Hamilton lifestyle that appeals to anyone that is trying to fight back Father time and taste a bit of what the aging super athlete has found that’s working for him.
Celsius Holdings went "to the moon”, but what happens next? For those that might not understand that "Reddit or Fintwit reference", it's a phrase used when someone thinks the price of a stock is going to see a huge increase. Celsius Holdings has skyrocketed close to 1000% in the last 12 months, but they also hit the elusive $100 million mark in yearly revenue. This is a sales target that is extremely difficult to reach for energy drink brands that also are not owned by a large beverage portfolio or have a national beverage distribution partnership. I'll further explain the impressive performance by covering information from the Celsius Holdings (Nasdaq: CELH) 2020Q4 earnings report and conference call that was recently released on 3/11/21. Additionally, I'll use that recent financial news as the backdrop to talk about larger functional energy drink categorical and strategic insights. Key points within the content piece include retail and DSD distribution increases, digital sales details with Amazon highlights, and other positive metrics that show you why Celsius Holdings is transforming itself from a niche energy drink brand into a real viable mainstream player. What’s next will be interesting for the brand, as they could grow organically to $250M in 2021 while also diversifying into RTE and other RTD (protein) through its FAST European brand that’s set to hit the U.S. market in Q2 of 2021. I still think Celsius is a bolt-on M&A target, but last year's aggressive stock moves (even with the pullback) has pushed the market cap above $3B making the deal extremely expensive at this current timing.
While the Vitamin Shoppe had arguably the most challenging year of its 44-year history, it ended up coming out of 2020 smelling like roses. How is that possible? To help express this notion, I'll run through The Vitamin Shoppe 2020Q4 earnings report that was released 3/10/2021 under its owner Franchise Group Inc. While the financial information in the report continues to be relatively small, I was able to collect insightful information on the quarterly performance from the Franchise Group conference call, previous corporate press releases, and public interviews from CEO Sharon Leite and other leadership team members at the specialty supplement retailer. Additionally, I'll explain the recent merchandising partnerships with WW (Weight Watchers), CTRL, Martha Stewart CBD, and CBD private label activity. Finally, I talk about my previously predicted operating model change to franchising at The Vitamin Shoppe that was given more formality by Franchise Group CEO Brian Kahn speaking out the "value of the franchise potential" for franchisees and the portfolio.
Other original content mentioned in this podcast:
Canopy Growth Acquires BioSteel - https://youtu.be/2UsZDEgCYfE
CTRL & FaZe Clan - https://youtu.be/r0aYQPHD_ks
Read just about any fitness article that mentions the consumption of alcohol and it have you believing it will absolutely destroy any of your physique goals. So, why have more fitness-focused companies aligned themselves with alcoholic beverages? Fact is, negativity towards alcohol within a healthy person's life wasn't always so grim, as advertising in the 1920s said “Guinness is good for you!” Today's "sensationalism drives consumerism mindset" has tried to replace balance, but three shifts in the last 10 years have fitness-focused and alcoholic beverage brands converging and leveraging common ground. The strongest functional CPG lifestyle brands (ie. Alani Nu) will continue to push the boundaries on product development that expands outside of traditional categories. Additionally, the trend of partnering with alcoholic beverages on marketing activations is only getting started as fitness-focused brands embrace the reality that being “hardcore chicken/veggies/rice 24/7/365" is about as valuable as those plastic trophies single-minded fitness competitors ruin their lives for in today's dynamic business environment.
Historically speaking, there were these unwritten rules that children were off limits to functional CPG brands, but do those rules hold weight anymore? That being said, most of us have been drinking ready-to-mix supplement powders from birth with brands like Similac essentially being a watered-down vitamin/mineral-fortified meal replacement shake. As we grew older, we continued to take Flintstones vitamins and Carnation instant breakfast powders. Almost all of those early functional products came from brands within multi-billion-dollar CPG portfolios...so I guess it was OK, right? That "monopoly" on kids' functional CPG products slowly started to erode over the last 5-7 years as Millennial parents grew up with more information on nutrition. In this latest podcast episode, I'll deep dive into how the “COVID-19 Effect” sped up what was happening with the trend and also what could happen in the future with product development and marketing towards the youth market.
How is the American economy doing? According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, most businesses remain optimistic regarding the next 6-12 months as economic activity expanded in the first part of 2021, but what about the CPG industry specifically? The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication that collects mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from District sources. This consumer data creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in the available quantitative economic data. Additionally, most CPG businesses today are offered nationally through e-commerce or large brick and mortar retail chains, so it’s important to understand that America is not a one-size-fits-all economy, especially during the coronavirus. Because of that, the Beige Book can potentially help you with regional insights that can be applied to create advantages in your business. To save you time from reading the whole document that comes out every 45 days, I started a content series that takes five CPG industry related highlights that I found most insightful from the latest Beige Book, such as consumer confidence growing in the Middle Atlantic Region, logistics demand is far exceeding supply across all modalities, and minority- and women-owned business enterprises are struggling in comparison to the national average. On CPG industry Beige Book Vol.6, I also provided some additional bonus quantitative January retail data that came from the U.S. Census Bureau and February jobs data from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Coca-Cola Energy seemed like it was a strong opening poker hand, but after a year in-market, should The Coca-Cola Company hold them or fold them? To be completely honest, when The Coca-Cola Company announced it was launching a branded energy drink in the U.S. market in late 2019, I believed Coca-Cola Energy would do more for the U.S. energy drink market than any other product/brand since Red Bull originally landed on the shores of California in 1997. My logic behind that prediction is still sound, but a combination of bad execution and challenging market dynamics left Coca-Cola Energy short of reaching $100 million in sales during its first year. So, what happened? I'll dig into that and also discuss why The Coca-Cola Company isn't quick to discontinue its Coca-Cola Energy drink.
Is it time for wellness brands to start channeling their inner Silver Fox and Gray Panther spirit animals? As it stands, the 50+ crowd is largely ignored by fitness and wellness brands. That is changing fast, as companies wake up to the huge underserved market that no longer subscribes to the “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” commercials of the late 1980s. While seniors control 70% of the America’s disposable income, they only attract around 10% of marketing budgets and less than 1% of innovation. Everyone from Peloton to Apple to "you name it functional CPG brand" has rushed into focusing on the highly coveted consumer demographic/psychographic known as H.E.N.R.Y. (high earner, not rich yet). That’s slowly starting to change recently, as start-ups realize seniors are an active, vivacious and connected group deserving of the same empowering, aspirational attention lauded on younger consumers. Millennials and baby boomers increasingly mirror one another in adopting healthy lifestyle habits, and you’re seeing this play out with new startups.
Glanbia Performance Nutrition is in the free fall portion of the bungee jump, but will the strategic transformation cord catch it before it’s too late? Glanbia plc (LON:GLB) is a global nutrition company that's comprised of two wholly-owned segments; Glanbia Nutritionals and Glanbia Performance Nutrition. For this podcast episode, I'll mainly focus on the latter, which comprises of various nutritional supplement and sports nutrition brands. By diving into the recent earnings report, earnings conference call, and presentation slides, I'll update you on how the Glanbia Performance Nutrition portfolio is performing against the complex operating environment. Additionally, I will discuss how the Glanbia Performance Nutrition transformation project is progressing against the original goals and timeline. Finally, Glanbia's progressively stronger balance sheet is setting up for them to add another acquisition in the near-term, so I suggest several functional CPG brands to the Glanbia leadership team should consider for M&A activity.
Can you imagine living without frozen pizza, potato chips, ice cream or Tennessee whiskey? Fact is, these CPG food and beverage staples and many more would likely not exist today in their current iteration if it wasn’t for the innovative and inventive minds of Black Americans throughout history. Every year I grow older (and hopefully a bit wiser), I’ve found it increasingly important to study the American history that wasn't taught in traditional school curriculum. History is an academic subject, but the "history of history" is actually rooted deep in marketing strategy. It’s critical that we all realize that before the greatest marketers sold consumer packaged goods, they sold subjective observations that eventually became objective truths. This piece of content was adapted from an article I wrote for my client OneSpace (read here - https://www.onespace.com/blog/2020/09/10-black-americans-who-have-shaped-the-cpg-industry/). It includes additional historically prominent Black Americans that impacted the CPG industry which can further your educational journey.
Once an epicenter of the suburban lifestyle, the purpose and importance of shopping malls have slowly faded way. The “fall of the mall” or more broadly the “retail apocalypse” was happening long before the pandemic started, but things accelerated over the last twelve months as consumers stayed inside. In the coming years, hundreds of America’s roughly 1,100 malls are expected to shutter. The reasons for this include specialty retail bankruptcies making shopping centers boring, anchor department stores fallen out of consumer favor, and e-commerce became increasingly more convenient. This has caused an influx of vacancies that has made the shopping mall's economics increasingly unsustainable. All that being said, these malls still have value, but it just takes property owners to be innovative or history buffs that understand the vision Victor Gruen had for the Southdale Center, as they look for new uses of their dying malls.
Dr. Seuss famously said “why fit in when you were born to stand out”, so it’s only natural consumers would want CPG products as customizable as their individual uniqueness. Mass customization has been the “next big thing” in CPG product strategy for a very long time. Problem is, the CPG industry isn't there yet, but that doesn't mean brands can't creatively find ways to integrate customization elements now. Trends are changing faster than ever before, as consumers share their tastes, preferences and individualism with the world online. That has bled into the functional CPG categories, as personalized nutrition heats up and customized nutrition is growing more mainstream. Those that succeed will be the ones who have laid out their customization strategies clearly and build simple, executable models from manufacturer to customer. To drive home the creative mass customization layers available today, I provide a "case study" on the brand Gainful.
This is the fiftieth anniversary of the very first cereal to be born out of a licensing agreement. The unique-at-the-time agreement between Post Holdings and the Flintstones owner created a cereal brand named after Fred and Wilma Flintstone’s daughter Pebbles. What does this have to do with the legacy sports nutrition brand Dymatize Nutrition? I'll utilize the recent BellRing Brands (BRBR) 2021 fiscal year Q1 financial reports and publicly-disclosed news as the backdrop to discuss what that information could mean to the overall active nutrition market in the liquids, powders, and bars formats. I’ll be again diving deeper into the Premier Protein brand that makes up 84% of the portfolio’s total revenue, but I’ll also provide more commentary than normal on the Dymatize Nutrition brand because of it's recent growth turnaround story. A big driver for this success in large retail channels could be attributed to the “Pebbles Effect”, as the Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles Dymatize protein powder has been a major bright spot of the legacy sports nutrition brand. The recent growth of Dymatize allows Bellring Brands leadership to shift M&A focus from “must have” to “nice to have” in the short-term, thus giving them time to find the right targets. Only time will tell how this plays out, but Bellring Brands will certainly be an interesting name to pay close attention to in the near-term.
SPACalicious definition make them CPG investors go crazy…it’s hot, hot! Fergie probably never envisioned a world where her song would be used to describe the insane SPAC trend, but I also never expected to hear a rendition of the national anthem like she did at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, so I think we are even. On the real, SPACs were all the craze in 2020, and it hasn't slowed down in 2021. For those that are scratching their heads at what a SPAC is, it’s an acronym that stands for "special purpose acquisition company" and it essentially flips the traditional IPO process on its head. SPAC launches quadrupled in 2020, reaching almost 250 total. Now, finally SPACs are starting to heat up in the CPG industry, but you might be surprised to know there's a history that dates back to 2016. Time will tell how disruptive the SPACilious trend ends up being to the CPG industry, but it definitely has the industry on skates right now trying to adjust to this new variable.
Just another celebrity trying to productize his/her name in the CPG industry, right? Old-School CPG pundits are always quick to hate on celebrity founders. Fact is, when these A-List celebrities are authentically engaged in the business-building process, it can be the signal that cuts through the noise, even in the most competitive industries in the world. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was recently named Most Likable Person in the World and has a top-3 most followed Instagram account, but he also has cultivated the image of being a savvy businessman. From VOSS Water to Teremana Tequila, and now ZOA Energy, The Rock has has proven his distribution power to sell beverages is successful.
The Kardashian’s can sell anything, right? What about nutritional supplements? Acknowledge it or not, the Kardashians are disruptive figures in today’s pop culture scene. Googling the “Kardashian Effect” you’ll get a number of different definitions, but maybe the most widely used comes from urban dictionary that states it’s the ability for a public figure who has absolutely no contribution to society to spin his/her fame into an asset and able to cash in. To be fair, I actually disagree with the definition through the lens of today because they have contributed a lot to society. They might have been “famous for being famous” in the 2000s, but in the 2010/20s they became a cultural force to be reckoned with. The main contribution I want to focus on is how the Kardashians utilized social media to further fuel and monetize their growing personal brands. That being said, this piece of content explores my curiosity in just how the “Kardashian Effect” relates to the supplement industry.
You've got to keep reinventing. You'll have new competitors. You'll have new customers all around you. The U.S. energy drinks market is arguably the most competitive beverage sub-category. It reached ~$15B in 2020 and sustained its high-single-digits growth rate, despite the “COVID-19 Effect” basically slowing consumer mobility to a crawl, essentially cutting off the #1 sales channel for energy drinks with fuel and convenience retailing.
Monster Beverage is the #2 brand in the market, behind Red Bull, and has held that position for pretty much all of the 2000s. That being said, complacency is the worst thing you can do within the energy drinks market and brands like Bang Energy showed Monster Beverage exactly what could happen if you are left sleeping at the wheel.
So, why is the 2021 strategy that was unveiled during the annual shareholder’s meeting making me feel blah?
By pure financial metrics, Glanbia would have the “All Valley Karate” championship in the bag, but don’t underestimate the Crane Kick from The Hut Group (THG). In fact, Glanbia and its Glanbia Performance Nutrition division are basically double the size of THG and its Nutrition segment that houses the MyProtein brand. This podcast episode will explore the historical strengths of Glanbia and THG, but more importantly discuss how Glanbia's weaknesses are The Hut Group's strengths. THG also recently acquired two companies that signal an additional strategy that should make Glanbia increasingly nervous. Only time will tell how this battle ends, but don’t let comparative revenue today alone fool you into thinking Glanbia cannot lose in the near future to The Hut Group.
How is the American economy doing? According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, prospect of COVID-19 vaccines has bolstered business optimism for 2021 growth, but what about the CPG industry specifically? The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication that collects mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from District sources. This consumer data creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in the available quantitative economic data. Additionally, most CPG businesses today are offered nationally through e-commerce or large brick and mortar retail chains, so it’s important to understand that America is not a one-size-fits-all economy, especially during the coronavirus. Because of that, the Beige Book can potentially help you with regional insights that can be applied to create advantages in your business. To save you time from reading the whole document that comes out every 45 days, I started a content series that takes five CPG industry related highlights that I found most insightful from the latest Beige Book, such as what the vaccine rollout means to CPG brands, empty shopping malls, ecommerce continuing to grow, and food prices rising that will likely result in increased inflation throughout 2021. On CPG industry Beige Book Vol.5, I also provided some additional bonus quantitative December retail data that came from the U.S. Census Bureau.
After giving it a lot of thought, Lebron James has decided to take his talents to Purchase, NY (PepsiCo Headquarters). Since his rookie year in 2003, Lebron James has had a sponsorship agreement with The Coca-Cola Company. You've seen him on countless Sprite and Powerade commercials throughout their deal together. That contract ended September of last year, effectively making the second highest paid athlete endorser a free agent. While Lebron James could have followed other celebrities, such as Dwayne "The Rock Johnson, into beverage entrepreneurship, he decided to sign an endorsement contract with PepsiCo to be the face of its new Mountain Dew energy drink sub-brand called Rise Energy. This move further sparks a feud between beverage portfolio giants that is now focused on the energy drinks category. What will The Coca-Cola Company do to respond to the recent PepsiCo moves in this beverage sub-category? We will explore that and more in this latest Consumed podcast episode.
GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe had a wild ride in 2020, but did either stay on the bull long enough to get a score?
GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe are both specialty retailers with an emphasis on brick & mortar locations
GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe both sell health and wellness products
GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe both faced challenging COVID-19 business environments
Yet, GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe came out of 2020 with two very different trajectories for their prospective businesses. In this podcast episode, I’ll provide a "Year in Review" for both GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe that should provide an important recap for anyone that is considering either specialty retailer within their sales channel strategies going forward.
This podcast episode breaks down of the 2021Q1 Simply Good Foods Company (NASDAQ: SMPL) earnings report, earnings call, and supplemental presentations that were filed on 1/6/2021. Those public financial documents will be used as the backdrop to provide broad health and fitness snacking market insights that will be valuable to you. Quest Nutrition and Atkins Nutritionals each continued to have a mixed bag of performance at the product category level, including protein bars and nutritional bars performing worse on a YoY basis (though they outperformed the market average). It begs the question if it's time for The Simply Good Foods Company to become more snackier or should they patiently wait for pre-pandemic mega trends to strengthen again? Despite the challenges, Quest Nutrition had its best revenue creating quarter under the new ownership of The Simply Good Foods Company and I believe company history at ~$96 million. Finally, I explain if the Simply Good Foods Company will be acquired by a larger CPG company or they will be the one making an M&A transaction. I also cover five potential names that the Simply Good Foods Company could be looking at closely in the market.
Welcome to the 2nd annual J. Schall Consulting year-end awards show that focuses on the "better for you" CPG product category, along with the grocery, brick and mortar, and internet retailers. This is the pinnacle of award shows that are light on tradition, peppered with randomness, and heavy handed with personal bias. While the awards categories were selected at random, the winners were thoughtfully considered and I provide my accompanying logic to make the content more insightful.
A few of the awards categories include: ◼️ Best Better for You CPG Acquisition by CPG Competitor ◼️ Best Grocery Retailer ◼️ Best Retail CEO ◼️ Best New Better For You CPG Beverage
What happens when a bunch of brotato chips circle around the 5 pound protein powder container and start making sports nutrition industry event predictions? This episode is basically the personification of that imaginary scenario. So, what do I see as 5 outlandish events that I could happen within the sports nutrition industry in 2021?
The Simply Good Foods Company (NASDAQ: SMPL) Eats or Gets Eaten
FDA Will Not Finalize Regulatory Framework for CBD to be included in Food, Beverage, or Nutritional Supplements
Nutrabolt Will Make an Acquisition
Glanbia (OTCMKTS: GLAPF) will Finally Divest a Performance Nutrition Brand
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Launches or Partners to Launch a Line of Supplements
**Bonus Hail Mary** - Alani Nu Gets Acquired
Happy New Years! Now that the celebrating is over and you’ve told everyone on social media how this will be your year…reality is setting in, right? Well don’t fret because I’m here to help you actually make that statement come true. I’ve always been a goal-oriented person and can vividly remember writing up little goals for my lemonade stand or trading card collection when I was a young kid. I never had any formalized method of goal setting until 2009 when I was getting ready to finish up my last semester of graduate school. I remember reading an article where some expert talked about goals, and the systems to achieve them. It seemed logical to an MBA student, so I decided to "steal" its basics and apply it to what I had been already doing informally.
While I don’t particularly think my yearly goal setting is anything fancy and it's not full of technological hacks or mindset tricks, it has worked immensely well for me because it’s rooted in simplicity and focuses on creating impactful results. I will share my simple step by step goal setting process, but also reveal a few of my 2021 goals in each category; Professional, Personal, and Learning.
I'm not one to look back and congratulate myself on any accomplishments, but I figured why not keep with the tradition I started on YouTube in 2018 of being transparent and recapping my performance throughout the year. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for making this my most impactful year as a professional. The stuff I’ve been barking about publicly the last few years seemed to have come into favor even more than ever, as the world became engulfed in uncertainty and there was elevated risk was at every turn.
For those that trusted me by giving me some of your attention, I’m humbled and I don’t take that for granted, as I know it’s the most valuable thing you own. For those that took it a step further and not only consumed, but also implemented something from my content into your business that worked out positively, where can I send the invoice? Just kidding...but, thank you to those that have messaged me privately saying something from XYZ piece of content helped you in 2020.
For my clients, this was a wild ride that many of us will not forget anytime soon. You trusted me and I left it all out on the playing field for you this year. Finally, along with the performance recap of J. Schall Consulting and my personal brand, I also mention a few things I learned about myself over 2020.
As for my 2021 goals...you'll have to watch sure to listen to next episode where I outline some of those and also walk you through how I've done my yearly goal setting for the last 12 years.
After one of the most transformational years in recent history, I figured I would continue my fool’s game of trying to predict the future. What do I see being the Top 5 Retail Industry Predictions in 2021?
In no particular order;
Grocery Stores and Farms Converge
Facebook Acquires Patreon
Amazon "Other Revenue" Reaches $10 Billion in a Quarter
Facebook and Uber Form Strategic Partnership
Costco "Bends the Knee" to Ecommerce
Which is bigger? Dan Bilzerian’s Instagram follower count or Ignite International Brands revenue since its founding in 2017? With dropping YoY revenue and bloated historical operating expenses, I'll explore what's below the surface of the internet personality's premium lifestyle brand. While Dan Bilzerian is a central figure throughout the video (for obvious reasons), I’ll spare you most of the personal details around him because my channel focused on business insights gained from storytelling...and IGNITE International Brands makes for a great story.
I'll bring up key factors, including;
Operating Model Distractions
Blurred Lines of Spending
Influencer Marketing 101
Key Man Risk
"COVID-19 Effect" Fallacy
It’s fairly clear to see Ignite International Brands Ltd. is nearing breaking point without further radical change, but I don’t want this content to be seen as just another negative Dan Bilzerian piece because I honestly wish his company well and hope to see the right changes put in place to make the company successful.
Based on the popularity of this trend prediction video from the last two years, I decided to again put my reputation on the line and try and predict the Top 5 Sports Nutrition Industry Trends in 2021. If you're interested how I did in my 2019 and 2020 predictions, I made a recent Instagram post recapping my performance - https://www.instagram.com/joshua_schall/
In no particular order, here are my prediction for Top 5 Sports Nutrition Industry Trends in 2021;
Don't Go Chasing Trends
Linear Commerce Explodes
On this Pivotal interview-style episode, we talk with Jess Windell, Founder & CEO of Maven Consulting Co., about the real value of strategic public relations in the CPG industry. Jess shares how she pivoted from advertising to public relations early in her academic career and why she's made it her life's work. We also talk about why she chose this year as the perfect time to become a first-time entrepreneur. Additionally, we talked about her 6 years at Perfect Snacks (Perfect Bar) and how public relations and communication strategy helped the functional food company get acquired by Mondelez International in mid-2019. Many people have misconceptions about public relations or earned media and we breakdown some of the dated views. Finally, Jess shared some of her favorite public relations strategies and tactics for emerging CPG brands.
Based on the popularity of this trend prediction video from the last two years, I decided to again put my reputation on the line and try and predict the Top 5 Functional Food and Beverage Product Trends for the upcoming year. If you're interested how I did in my 2019 and 2020 predictions, I made a recent Instagram post recapping my performance.
In no particular order, here are my prediction for Top 5 Functional Food and Beverage Product Trends in 2021;
Kids Off Limits No More
Mushrooms Have a Magic Year
Niche Plant-Based Proteins PEAk Out of the Shadows
Immunity for Everyone
On this episode of the Pivotal interview-style series, we talk with Sean Folkson, Founder & CEO of Nightfood Holdings Inc. (OTCMKTS:NGTF), about how his love for EAS Myoplex bars and following the Body for Life diet by Bill Phillips created curiosity for the "better for you" nighttime snacking category. This is partly why Nightfood initially started with nutritional bars before pivoting to sleep friendly ice cream in 2018. While this shift to the ice cream category of CPG might seem easy on paper, it comes with massive challenges that include cold-chain distribution and expensive limited real estate in food retailers. That being said, Nightfood ice cream seeks to standout in the coolers from major competitors by focusing on functional elements targeted towards sleep and relaxation value propositions. Nightfood also has done a great job at building strategic partnerships with the American Pregnancy Association and Papa John's by leveraging the pickle flavored ice cream Pickles For Two. Finally, Sean and I discuss the sleep and relaxation functional food and beverage trend in greater depths and explain why its still in the early stages of a captivating secular growth story in the CPG industry.
On this episode of the Pivotal interview-style series, we talk with Jared Strain, Co-Founder & Partner of the strategic digital brand agency Super Top Secret (STS), about how his involvement in sub-cultures throughout his life has created a unique perspective for top-level creative and design output. We also talked about how the "COVID-19 Effect" accelerated some creative trends in 2020. Additionally, how CPG packaging has changed as its optimized for ecommerce, but also how the importance of that design hasn't diminished in the overall consumer journey. We leaned forward to talk about design trends in 2021 that place importance on authenticity and having a sound voice, tone, and message to your CPG brand. Finally, we talked about how Gen Z and younger Millennial consumers are considering themselves personal brands and what that means to consumer brands in the future.
We are coming to the end of 2020, which gives us a perfect reason to reflect over the past year. Over the next few weeks, I will be sprinkling in some "Top 5 Lists" of different functional "better for you" CPG and FMCG topics that will be insightful, valuable, and/or just plain entertainment. In this first "Top 5 List" video of the year-end season, I cover my biggest sports nutrition brand winners of 2020.
#5 - Outright Bar
#4 - MyProtein
#3 - Redcon1
#2 - Alani Nu
#1 - GHOST Lifestyle
Honorable Mentions - 1st Phorm, NutraBio, Glaxon, and HUM Nutrition
On this episode of the Pivotal interview-style series, we talk with Ben Hartman, Founder & CEO of Morphogen Nutrition, about how he has been able to double his brand's revenue year after year by always staying true to himself. Ben and I have known each other for around 15 years, as we both went to Kent State University and worked at the rec center together. We also both started out at the ground level in the sports nutrition industry at the same time and would frequently pair up during sampling demos at the same retail stores. Flash forward many years later and Ben Hartman has successfully built Morphogen Nutrition by bootstrapping it at every step of the way and never compromising on that vision of launching premium high-quality products that he knew consumers would appreciate at a price that was always fair. While many might have heard of Ben Hartman in the last 1-2 years and thought he was this overnight success, you'll hear him share stories about how building his business has been a slow process that has been rewarding past his wildest vision.
I consume more content weekly than total varieties of crafts you can create from just utilizing Heineken packaging materials. While not all of the content is good, some are awesomely interesting, so instead of keeping it all in the labyrinth they call my brain, I figured I would start highlighting five of the most interesting things I've read, listened to, or watched during the week.
Within this sixth episode you'll hear about; ◼️ Heineken, Dos Equis, and Tecate Put the Craft in Craft Beer ◼️ Don’t Stress, Pepsi Got Everything You Need to Relax ◼️ Campbell’s Soup Isn’t Letting Cancel Culture Get Snow Days Too ◼️ E.l.f. Cosmetics Enters the Untapped Gaming Streaming Market ◼️ Cellular Meat Gets Its First Approval in Singapore
How is the American economy doing? According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, economic expansion has been moderate and optimism is waning, but what about the CPG industry specifically?
The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication that collects mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from District sources. This consumer data creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in the available quantitative economic data. Additionally, most CPG businesses today are offered nationally through e-commerce or large brick and mortar retail chains, so it’s important to understand that America is not a one-size-fits-all economy, especially during the coronavirus.
Because of that, the Beige Book can potentially help you with regional insights that can be applied to create advantages in your business. To save you time from reading the whole document that comes out every 45 days, I started a content series that takes five CPG industry related highlights that I found most insightful from the latest Beige Book, such as indications of out of stocks in grocery stores again and e-commerce continues to see pressure on the logistics side around holiday shopping, with the goal of sharing it along with some additional commentary on how it could potentially impact you.
On Vol.4 of the CPG industry Beige Book, I also wanted provided some additional bonus quantitative private industry data on the 2020 Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday Digital Sales performance from Adobe Analytics and Salesforce.
When you have a proven content and commerce mechanism that does $1B+ in revenues, you build an iterative second version, right? What does that have to do with the breaking news that the sports nutrition brand that Lebron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger founded named Ladder was just acquired by Openfit? Openfit is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beachbody, the multi-level marketing company known for fitness programs like P90x and Insanity. Openfit is Beachbody repositioned within a different segment of the market. Beachbody is the creator and owner of the line of supplements called Shakeology. With the acquisition of Ladder, Openfit seems poised to replicate the workout and supplement combination of Beachbody and Shakeology, which I believe will be highly successful in helping Ladder become the sports nutrition brand it had aspirations to become found it launched in 2018.
In this latest podcast episode, I'll breakdown the most important key quarter-end financial data from the recent MusclePharm Corporation (MSLP) 2020Q1 through 2020Q3 earnings reports that were released on 11/24/2020. I'll explain why the sports nutrition brand filed a clustering of quarterly financial reports again (Note: they are not caught up to SEC disclosure requirements). Additionally, I'll update you on MusclePharm important events through a collection of publicly-disclosed news and cover a variety of risk footnotes that were in the latest set of 10-Q filings. Finally, I'll answer the cliffhanger question from the previous piece of content surrounding if MusclePharm would finally reach its goal of being profitable in 2020.
On this episode of my Pivotal "interview series", I chat with Robert Oliver, Founder & CEO of The Genius Brand, about how he saw early the power of using an Amazon strategy to build up his extremely successful supplement brand. Robert shares about how he got started working on the Amazon platform and why he launched The Genius Brand. Additionally, we talk about how unique The Genius Brand is on the Amazon platform when it launched and how that's now providing some massive value against the onslaught of Amazon private label supplement sellers. Finally, Robert Oliver also breaks down why he's been successful in 2020 with his ability to apply learnings from Nassim Taleb.
Premier Protein is once again ringing the sales bell after it rebounds from its first slip up as a publicly-traded company last quarter. Premier Protein is the key holding of the BellRing Brands (BRBR) portfolio that owns a collection of Active Nutrition businesses that also includes Dymatize Nutrition, Powerbar, Joint Juice, and Supreme Nutrition. A fast-paced and busy lifestyle is pushing consumers to switch to quick and healthy meal options. This has resulted in the increased household penetration of RTD protein shakes that promote active lifestyles. I'll utilize the recent quarterly earnings report and conference call for BellRing Brands to update you on the growth of the portfolio's largest consumer brand Premier Protein. Additionally, I'll breakdown how the RTD protein beverage category, active nutrition powders, and protein bar formats are performing in the challenging retail environment stemming from COVID-19. I'll also share some news surrounding Dymatize Nutrition being consolidated and the closure of the Dallas facility. Finally, I breakdown the BellRing Brands 2021 outlook and explain why I believe M&A activity will be in their near-term future.
I’m excited to hit you with the fifth episode of this new content series, and since the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, I wanted to thank each of those in my community that have consumed any of the previous episodes. This week, I had a number of content pieces make me stop the infinite scroll, including some with a Thanksgiving theme.
On this episode you'll hear about; ◼️ The "Most 2020" Thanksgiving Main Dish ◼️ How you can get Thanksgiving Insurance ◼️ A Metaverse will Become Publicly-Traded Soon ◼️ Bang Energy Fires PepsiCo ◼️ Oreo Takes Inspiration from Nike
How is the largest nutrition company in the world performing against a global pandemic that severely interrupts the value of their distribution strategy? The Herbalife Nutrition multi-level marketing (MLM) structure relies a great deal on a distribution model that brings value through; (1) Frequent Interaction (2) Results Shared To Customers (3) Personal connection with customers (4) Hyper-localization (5) Brick & Mortar community done mostly through what they call nutrition clubs. Theoretically, that should be severely interrupted by the “COVID-19 Effect” where face-to-face interactions, physical shopping and communities are being replaced by digital interactions, ecommerce, and isolation. This is where business theory and actual business results diverge in the anomaly that is Herbalife Nutrition. That’s because they just achieved another record net sales quarter and this growth was broad-based globally, as three of our six regions (including North America), along with 24 countries, set new quarterly net sales records. This is all pretty astounding, which begs the question of how they are doing it?
Today’s social media platforms and digital marketplaces don’t have walls or borders, but how does that affect your functional CPG brand? With a few clicks of your mouse, you can fire up your functional CPG brand’s multinational marketing and retail distribution. It's really crazy how fast and easy things can be done in 2020. Despite uncertain global markets, entrepreneurship is still in the middle of the golden era because of the growing importance of ecommerce and social media.
That all being said, one thing that has been reinforced during the "COVID-19 Effect" is that functional CPG business owners were reminded there isn't and shouldn't be a "one size fits all" approach to business domestically or multi-nationally! Being a multinational functional CPG shouldn’t mean you seek global parity. Instead, functional CPG brands should have a global template, but with local adaptations. The fancy business school jargon for this is Glocalization and it's exactly what successful functional CPG brands must do as the world becomes one, but also more fragmented. It’s a complex strategy to pull off, but if executed properly the rewards are immensely valuable.
I'll use the Celsius Holdings (CELH) 2020Q3 earnings report and conference call (released on 11/12/20), as the backdrop to talk about bigger functional energy drink categorical and strategic insights. Key points within the content includes; retail and DSD distribution increases, digital sales details with Amazon highlights, and other positive insights that show you why Celsius Holdings broke just about every internal record in the company's history this quarter. Celsius energy drinks are heating up in the market, even with resistance within some of its historically strong sales channels. That being said, the company is transforming itself from a niche energy drink brand into a real viable mainstream player that should pick up incremental trialing in the fickle beverage category as it gains ACV across major channels. I still think Celsius is in prime position to be sold in the coming 12-18 months, but current aggressive stock prices have pushed the market cap above $2B making the deal expensive.
Did you miss not having my most interesting list to listen too last week? I decided to not compete with the craziness that is called the American Election Day or I guess week or maybe month, who the heck knows really this year.
Regardless, I’m excited to hit you with another episode because I had a number of content pieces make me stop the infinite scroll this week that I believe you’ll enjoy hearing about. On this episode you'll hear about; ◼️ Mountain Dew is Getting Spicy ◼️ Is Veblen a Species of Allbirds? ◼️ When the McDonald’s “Mc” Prefix Comes Out You Know They Mean Business ◼️ Amazon wants to replace your Office Manager with its new Dash Smart Shelf ◼️ Lululemon is Making Mirror More Competitive
This episode of Pivotal, we talk with Frank Beard, Director of Special Projects at CStore Decisions and Director at Shop Safe, about the huge changes happening within the convenience sales channel. Frank Beard broke onto the convenience and fuel retailing thought leadership scene by traveling across the country and only eating at convenience stores for 30 days. We discuss how COVID-19 has affected convenience and fuel retailing and why those trends are only a dress rehearsal for the future. Finally, we expand on the future of c-stores by discussing third-party delivery start-ups like goPuff, Instacart, and DoorDash, channel consolidation, CPG direct to consumer, and many more insightful topics that you won't want to me.
Frank Beard Articles :
The Vitamin Shoppe 2020Q3 earnings report was released on 11/4/2020 under its owner Franchise Group Inc.. While the financial information in the report continues to be relatively small, I was able to collect insightful information on the quarterly performance from the Franchise Group Inc. conference call, previous corporate press releases, and public interviews from CEO Sharon Leite and other leadership team members at the specialty supplement retailer. Additionally, I shared some sports nutrition category trend data from a presentation that Jack Gayton (head merchandiser of category at The Vitamin Shoppe) provided at the AHPA Virtual Sports Nutrition Congress. I also update you on how much benefit The Vitamin Shoppe is seeing from the GNC Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Finally, I talk about my previously predicted operating model change to franchising at The Vitamin Shoppe that was finally formally announced by Franchise Group CEO Brian Kahn.
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! On this episode, we talk with Leonard Armenta, CEO of SINFIT Nutrition and Secret Javas, about his new leadership role within GenTech Holdings Inc.. Before diving fully into that, we get nostalgic about how we both met and how that eventually led me to move to Denver and work with him at MusclePharm. Now leading the functional CPG brands SINFIT Nutrition and Secret Javas coffee, Leonard explains the progression of the brand strategy and positioning for future growth plans. Finally, Leonard discusses what could be next for the GenTech Holdings Inc. portfolio and why Leonard believes they have an extremely bright future.
Glanbia is a global nutrition company that owns various nutritional supplement and sports nutrition brands. These brands include names like Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Think!, Isopure, Amazing Grass, and Slim Fast. Using the recently filed Glanbia earnings report and supplemental earnings call and presentation slides, I'll update you on how the Glanbia Performance Nutrition portfolio is performing against the complex global operating environment. Additionally, I'll discuss how the Glanbia Performance Nutrition transformation project is progressing against its original goals and timeline. Finally, I'll cover how the progressively stronger Glanbia balance sheet is setting up for the company to likely add another acquisition in the near-term. (Note: I suggest a few functional CPG brands for Glanbia Performance Nutrition leadership at the end of the episode.)
I consume more content weekly than the total creepiness level of the Burger King Mascot. While not all of the content it's good, some are awesomely interesting, so instead of keeping it all in the labyrinth they call my brain, I figured I would start highlighting five of the most interesting things I've read, listened to, or watched during the week.
In the third Weekly MIT episode, I share the following stories;
◼️ Notorious B.I.G. Drops a New Freestyle About Pepsi
◼️ Burger King Pranks Competitors on Halloween
◼️ Nestle Adds Key Piece to Becoming the Personalized Health Leader
◼️ Nielsen Shares Food and Beverage Category Winners and Losers From 31 weeks of the Coronavirus Pandemic
◼️ KIND Keeps the “Battle of the Bars” Going With CLIF
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! On this episode, we talk to Diana Morgan, Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs at Care/Of, about the fascinating world of personalized nutrition. We dive into the current state of personalized nutrition, differences in personalized nutrition companies, and what the future holds for the nascent disruptive force in the supplement industry. While companies selling supplements based on testing and surveying methods is still relatively small, the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) predicts it will hit an astonishing $4.3 billion, representing 6.4% of all supplement sales by 2023. This phenomenal growth rate is driven not just by new entrants, but by the fact that the potential of this market has captured the attention of large companies with extensive resources, such as Care/Of (now owned by Bayer) and Persona (now owned by Nestle). Finally, we reminisce to a simpler time when networking in the supplement industry could be done in-person, as Diana has launched a new event called "What's Up With Supps".
With over 50% of The Simply Good Foods Company’s revenue coming from the nutritional/protein bar category, the race is on to further diversify its product mix due to near-term headwinds. On 10/26/2020, The Simply Good Foods Company reported its fiscal fourth quarter earnings for the period ending 8/29/2020. While the company performed well overall, it was a mixed bag with brand-level performance. The biggest bright spot was in the Quest Nutrition brand, that had the best revenue creating quarter under the new ownership of The Simply Good Foods Company. That being said, retail takeaways of both brands could be signaling some tough roads ahead for the overall active nutrition snacking category. I'll finish the episode with covering the five most important areas of focus for The Simply Good Foods Company right now...including bonus commentary on future M&A.
How is the American economy doing? According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, optimism and positivity across districts is balanced against degrees of uncertainty, but what about the CPG industry specifically?
The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication that collects mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from District sources. This consumer data creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in the available quantitative economic data. Additionally, most CPG businesses today are offered nationally through e-commerce or large brick and mortar retail chains, so it’s important to understand that America is not a one-size-fits-all economy, especially during the coronavirus.
Because of that, the Beige Book can potentially help you with regional insights that can be applied to create advantages in your business. To save you time from reading the whole document that comes out every 45 days, I started a content series that takes five CPG industry related highlights that I found most insightful from the latest Beige Book and share it with you guys…along with some additional commentary on how it could potentially impact you.
On this episode, I also wanted to share some additional quantitative government data on September 2020 Retail Sales from the Census Bureau.
I consume more content weekly than Joey Chestnut consumes hot dogs at the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. While not all of it's good, some are awesomely interesting, so instead of keeping it all in the labyrinth they call my brain, I figured I would start highlighting five of the most interesting things I've read, listened to, or watched during the week. In the second Weekly MIT episode, I share the following stories; ◼️ Cryptocurrencies Just Became Besties with PayPal’s 346M Users ◼️ Hormel Foods Solves Your Hot Stinky Mask Breath Problem ◼️ Walmart Crushes Local Smoothie Artists' Dreams ◼️ Danone Tests Old Adage of “If you measure it, it will improve” ◼️ Adidas is Social Distancing Itself from Reebok
Building a great functional CPG company today requires more strategic alignment than strategic vision. While all the strategic variables can easily be found throughout the coffers of the Age of Information, understanding how each is aligned together is what makes the magic happen over a materially long period of time. I could probably make a 12-week course on the importance of strategic alignment in the functional CPG industry today, but for this piece of content I want to focus on one extremely important area...Channel Strategy. This is an area that I see functional CPG entrepreneurs miss on way too much lately and it’s likely because they haven’t considered its increased importance in the last half-decade.
The functional CPG industry of yesteryear generally focused on building their business through specialty retail and they didn’t have to think about any further steps unless they struck gold and a large brick and mortar retailer was interested in carrying a few products. That isn’t the case today with functional CPG brands having endless distribution intensity models, including one strategy that has become extremely viable...Amazon only (or mostly defined as over 80% of business).
Why does it matter that you can build 8-figure functional CPG businesses on Amazon only today? It becomes extremely attractive to lean heavy into Amazon for your channel strategy, but the entrepreneur must make that conscious choice early in the brand development to align all business strategy accordingly. My hope for this piece of content is that it can serve as a sort of guide for functional CPG entrepreneurs considering their channel strategy comparing;
Hi my name is Joshua Schall and I’m here to apply for the GNC’s newly open position for CEO. Wait GNC no longer has a CEO? If you are a bit confused, that’s OK because the news of Ken Martindale not being offered a position with the newly emerged from bankruptcy specialty retailer GNC wasn’t exactly front-page news. Instead, it was actually buried in some SEC reports that probably few people read for fun like me. So, with no current CEO to run the biggest specialty retailer in the VMS category, I figured why not publicly apply for it.
My strategic transformation plan will include; ◼️ Define Exactly Who GNC Is Today ◼️ Redefine Role GNC Has in Customer Journey ◼️ Reimagine the Frictionless Retailing Experience ◼️ Put Yourself Out of Business ◼️ Cut Every Bit of Available Fat.
Many of the things consistently blamed by GNC for its recent failures are external factors that cannot be changed by the retailer alone. They can only be adapted and strategized against to turn them into opportunities. What they can control is the omnichannel shopping experience they provide to customers. So, it comes down to defining "why should consumers unequivocally shop at GNC over the countless substitutes" and relentlessly be reevaluating that question regularly. The same problems that GNC is struggling with are being solved by businesses around them, so it’s time to take personal responsibility and do the hard work internally to make the retailer great again.
If think that is brash, you’ll be surprised to find out that this is actually the third time I’ve publicly applied for the open CEO position at GNC since I started creating regular content on the space 5-6 years ago. If you aren’t familiar with those pieces of content and interested in them, here are the links;
Part 1 ➡️ https://bit.ly/3dFAn2R
Part 2 ➡️ https://bit.ly/35dOBEn
I consume a Rocky Mountain 14er level of content weekly...some of it good and some of it bad. Instead of keeping it all in the labyrinth they call my brain, I figured I would start highlighting five of the most interesting things I've read, listened to, or watched during the week. In the first episode, I share the following stories;
◼️ Goya Foods Uppercuts Cancel Culture ◼️ Hipsters Rejoice Over Ability To Drink Weed and Keep Street Cred ◼️ Amazon breaks $10B in 48 Hours ◼️ Kraft Sends Noods and It Didn’t Go As Planned ◼️ Amazon Makes Me 15% Right on a Prediction
Walmart feels like the retail version of Rocky Balboa because every time you think they can’t overcome the odds, they seem to miraculously fight their way back. So, I guess if I’m going suggest Walmart is Rocky Balboa, I better define which retailer gets to be Ivan Drago is in the fourth edition of the epic movie series. I think the only logical choice would be Amazon (and they are enhanced with the “COVID-19” Effect” steroid). Amazon has been crushing its competition in arguably one of the most complex retailing environments in recent history, but as Rocky always says “life's not about how hard of a hit you can give... it's about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.”
What you’ll notice when I’m breaking down some of their aggressive strategic moves is that Walmart took another piece of Rocky Balboa’s advice in “stop thinking the way other people think. You gotta think like you think” to be successful today. If Walmart can extend its brand promise to help people to save money and to live better in a way that means so much more than Amazon, it might just have a chance against its biggest rival.
What kind of milk to you drink? Whole, 2%, Skim, or do you not consume any traditional cow’s milk anymore? It wasn’t too long ago that this question would seem odd to ask. That's because Americans have historically drank a lot of fluid cow’s milk, but that’s not really the case anymore. Here lies the root of the problem for Dean Foods, the largest milk company in the United States, that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2019. It’s easy to spot consumption or sales data declines, but it’s a lot more difficult to understand the reasons why and ensure similar patterns become learning lessons for your business. The grocery stores are changing because consumers are changing, which creates this virtuous cycle that will only amplify over the coming years. Brands need to be constantly adapting within this market or they face becoming the next Dean Foods tragedy.
The “COVID-19 Effect” created health concerns to the highest levels I can remember in my lifetime and created economic hardships to the highest levels since the Great Depression. These will no doubt have major impacts on every aspect of the supplement industry for years to come. Fact is, this isn't a socioeconomic set-up that looks very appealing to most entrepreneurs, unless you operate within the supplement industry. These market dynamics created a defining moment for the supplement industry and I believe a meaningful sub-section of consumers realized the importance of preventive health, with many beginning or expanding their supplement regimens. Could it be that all this “bad” is actually “good” for the supplement industry?
Race to the bottom this, race to the bottom that. Listen to a group of active nutrition CPG industry professionals long enough and eventually they will blame the race to the bottom as a main reason causing their assessment of the deterioration within the industry. But, is it really as bad as everyone seems to think it is?
While the “race to the bottom” has several meanings depending on its socio-economic context, the active nutrition CPG industry usually refers to this as the competitive situation stemming from the lowering of various barriers of entry causing brand proliferation that caused negative pricing pressure and product quality.
While I acknowledge the race to the bottom can have some negative effects on stakeholders, it also provides massive opportunities for those that can understand it. As functional CPG categories naturally bifurcate towards either end of the spectrum, it will leave anything in the middle being washed out in the market. As a brand, you need to pick a side and stay close to those extreme ends. Being positioned as an economical and commoditized brand can be extremely advantageous…when there is consumer demand and retail merchandising support.
So, what am I talking about, where is this all heading? Dollar Stores!
What does Spotify have to do with Kraft-Heinz? Before you guess, I’ll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with new remix of Nigerian dancehall recording artist Ketchup by DJ Mustard.
Odds are when you think about the music streaming and podcasting company Spotify, you don’t easily connect it with the almost 150-year-old CPG conglomerate The Kraft Heinz Company, the owner of iconic food and beverage CPG brands, including namesakes Kraft & Heinz, Oscar Meyer, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, Lunchables, Planters, and Maxwell House Coffee. In all, they own around 100 global brands that sell in more than 50 individual fragmented CPG product categories.
The problem lies in the fact that in recent years, CPG products have become increasingly harder to fit into a categorical silo. Within massive companies like The Kraft Heinz Company that creates problems when you are trying to allocate resources to manage each separate product category in the most effective and efficient way. So, what does this have to do with Spotify exactly? While Spotify likely doesn’t know the first thing about categorical differences in shelf-stable dressings and their refrigerated counterparts, they have faced a similar issue in their own business. Spotify brilliantly attacked this problem by taking the original content-based category approach, which are grouped by genres or language or geographical boundaries and changed it to context-based groupings. Will this also work for The Kraft Heinz Company?
Can you imagine running a company that’s so massive that you have a segment called “other” on your financial statements that will do more than $20 billion in revenue this year? For those wondering, that would make the “other company” aka Amazon’s Advertising business segment around the 150th biggest American company. At that size, its bigger than all of Kohl's, two Ebays, or three Simon Property Groups (the biggest mall retailer). It also makes them the third biggest digital advertising company behind Alphabet’s Google and Facebook. I don't know Jeff Bezos personally, but my assumption is he doesn’t wake up each morning and congratulate myself on being the third most powerful digital advertiser, so as funny as it might seem to ask a $20 billion segment that is growing 45% YoY…what’s could be next for Amazon’s Advertising Segment?
A common question I get asked by supplement brand owners is if third-party certifications are worth the investment? While my answer differs depending on the brand’s nuisance, I always mention one prediction that has marketing bending potential. What is this market bending potential and how likely will it happen? The answer to the latter part of that question might surprise you just how far along it already is...
Every industry has its behemoths. In packaged non-alcoholic beverages, it’s really a head to head battle between The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, but this isn’t a piece of content about the war between Red & Blue. It’s a piece of content about when any of the CPG industry behemoths enter a nascent functional category through internal product development of new offerings. Should this be seen as a net-positive or net-negative?
The inspiration of this content came from the recent announcement that PepsiCo was launching a functional packaged beverage called Driftwell. This functional beverage would specifically be considered a relaxation beverage, which is a small segment in the overall functional water beverage category worth $2.97 billion in the U.S., that is anticipated to grow 5% this year. That small market size is what makes this launch so intriguing because it could have lasting implications on the nascent functional beverage category for years to come.
In today’s dynamic interconnected economy, it only takes playing the business version of the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon to know that huge shifts in one area, can result in huge (mostly unintended) countereffects to just about any other sector of the economy. In the case of restaurant food delivery, COVID-19 accelerated an already in-motion trend. I believe that trend is, has been, and will continue to be secular, which will have major long-term implications to a number of stakeholders in the grocery CPG industry.
If you would've asked me what’s one of the hottest functional CPG brands that the general mainstream market probably hasn’t been paying attention to yet, I would have said Laird Superfood. Fact is, that's all about to change because Laird Superfood recently filed their S-1 paperwork with the SEC for a projected $40 million IPO. Laird Superfood is an emerging consumer products platform focused on manufacturing and marketing highly differentiated plant-based functional CPG. This places them right into the middle of the trifecta intersection of CPG trends (1) Better-For-You (2) Plant-Based (3) Functional. Question remains though if this alone will be enough for Laird Superfood to be successful on Wall Street.
Who cares that an 85-year-old American vitamin retail business is going to be acquired through bankruptcy by a Chinese company, right? Well it seems a few powerful and loud voices have stepped up to share their thoughts on the GNC bankruptcy sale. One such voice is Marco Rubio, who has requested a full review of this transaction by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The heart of the concern comes from three main areas; (1) Customer Data (2) Military Base GNC locations (3) United States and China Trade Tensions. If Marco Rubio is successful in his national security concerns, GNC will need to move into Plan B or C with their bankruptcy auction that officially ended for bidders on 9/11/2020.
Cash rules everything around me (or in this case CPG brands)…C.R.E.A.M.…get the money…dollar dollar bill y’all! Confused? That's likely because you aren't a classic hip-hop fan or ever heard the 1994 record C.R.E.A.M. by the Wu-Tang Clan. What I'm talking about from a CPG business strategy perspective is that cash conversion cycle, which is a measure of how many days it takes for a business to turn invested cash (usually purchased inventory) back into cash in its bank account.
Why is this so important? Cash rules everything around CPG brands! If you are a growing business cash is king and the better cash position you have gives you an incredible amount of optionality. Anyone running a CPG business knows what rapid growth can do to your cash balance. As you pay down suppliers and order more inventory, in a blink of an eye, your cash can drain to zero. Optimizing your cash conversion cycle can be the difference in your business continuity.
In this podcast episode, I'll go through the cash conversion cycle, provide some application to a few well-known businesses, and also give you some practical advice on how to improve your cash conversion cycle in your business.
Interested in watching the YouTube video with accompanying slides that show the calculations and equations? Click ➡️ https://youtu.be/vmTmUY55HqY
How is the American economy doing? According to the Federal Reserve September 2, 2020 Beige Book, the outlook remains uncertain and volatile, but what about specifically for the CPG industry?
You might be asking yourself WTF is the Beige Book and why should I care about what it says about the economy?
The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across all 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from District sources.
Why you should care is that the qualitative nature of the Beige Book creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in the available macroeconomic data.
Because of that, the Beige Book can potentially help you with regional insights that can be applied to create advantages in your business. To save you time from reading the whole document, I thought it would be valuable if I started a video series where I take five highlights relating to the CPG industry that I found most insightful from the Beige Book, that's released every 45 days, and share it with you guys…along with some additional commentary on how it could potentially impact you.
After more than 18 months "in the dark", MusclePharm Corporation (MSLP) filed a collection of late earnings reports on 8/25/2020. On this podcast episode, I'll breakdown the most important key year-end financial data and explain why the sports nutrition brand hasn't filed any financial reports to the SEC in more than 18 months. Additionally, I catch you up through a collection of publicly-disclosed news from those last 18 months. Finally, I cover a variety of risk footnotes that were in the latest 10-K, but leave the shareholders and stakeholders with some positive hope at the end of the video.
The four largest pure-play specialty retailers in the active nutrition category have struggled immensely to retain market relevancy at the least and business continuity at the most. With the active nutrition product categories consistently reaching high single-digits CAGR over the last decade, what is happening? Where is all that buying power going? This is what is dubbed the Wal-Mazon Effect. Walmart, Target and Amazon have seen the largest gains over the past decade in category buyer count. So, what's changed now that is extremely important to the active nutrition industry?
FitLife Brands fought one of those perfect storm level quarters that they likely wouldn’t have survived a few years ago. Why are things different now? It starts so casually. You land a large customer, your products hit the shelves and it starts to pull off shelf well. You break out the champagne. Soon, that customer is 30% of your business. Then 50%. Then 70%. No one can say no to them anymore. But why would you?
This is what happened to FitLife Brands, the owner of a collection of sports nutrition products that are sold to mostly GNC franchises. What’s the solution to overexposure in both customer/channel/market? "Diversify...Diversify...Diversify.” So, how are they doing on that quest for independence from the bankrupt supplement retailer GNC?
What does Linens n Things, Dressbarn, Pier 1 Imports and Modell's Sporting Goods have in common beyond their retail downfall? They have all been acquisitions by a little-known investment firm called Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) that was founded last year. Maybe that doesn’t seem too odd, but what if I told you REV was run by a former NASA scientist that founded a successful dating app and Tai Lopez or “here in my garage” guy that Vice News called the Internet’s Most Hated Self-Help Guru in 2015.
In this podcast episode, I'll explain what is going on with REV and why this could be important in the retail industry.
Any press is good press, right? I guess not when you consider a bankrupt specialty retailer in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in American business history. In this podcast episode, I want to tackle 3 areas; (1) top-level financial data from GNC Holdings 2020Q2 earnings report that was released last week (2) cover any updates on Chapter 11 bankruptcy news since the last podcast episode about the subject on 7/12/2020 (3) cover “what ifs” around missing deadlines or requirements within the GNC bankruptcy
Is it time for Glanbia Performance Nutrition to go “over the top” in its strategy as it continues to slip in importance of the overall Glanbia portfolio? Glanbia is a global nutrition company that owns various nutritional supplement and sports nutrition brands. These brands include names like Optimum Nutrition, BSN, ThinkThin, Isopure, Amazing Grass, ABB, and Slim Fast. I'll use the recent earnings report and earnings call notes to update you on how the massive consumer behavior event COVID-19 has affected Glanbia Performance Nutrition and Glanbia Nutritionals. Finally, I'll explain why Glanbia Performance Nutrition is expanding its transformation project that they announced in late 2019.
Interested in seeing the presentation visuals of this episode, check out my YouTube video - https://youtu.be/7LRjcMJA44k
A fast-paced and busy lifestyle is pushing consumers to switch to quick and healthy meal options. This has resulted in the penetration of RTD protein shakes that promote active lifestyles. In this podcast episode, I'll utilize the recent quarterly earnings report and conference call for BellRing Brands to update you on the growth of the portfolio's consumer brand Premier Protein. Additionally, I'll breakdown how the RTD protein beverage category is performing in the challenging retail environment stemming from COVID-19. Finally, I'll share insights around minor adjustments that I'd make to ensure growth will sustain through the back-half of the calendar year.
If interested in watching the YouTube video that includes financial graphs & charts, watch here - https://youtu.be/YP_HXkeUkJs
Even with a cloudy forecast, it’s liftoff time for Celsius Energy Drinks in 3…2…1! Can Celsius become more than just an impulse purchase and become a key part of a health-minded consumer’s daily lifestyle? I will use the recent Celsius Holdings earnings report and conference call as the backdrop to talk about broader functional energy beverage categorical and strategic insights. Additionally, since we are still in the midst of COVID-19, I will be providing some additional thoughts on how that uncertainty is causing pressure in the retailing environment.
Are greener pastures ahead for The Vitamin Shoppe now that their main competitor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
The Vitamin Shoppe 2020Q2 earnings report that was released 8/6/2020 under its owner Franchise Group Inc. While the financial information in the report continues to be relatively small, I was able to collect insightful information on the quarterly performance from the Franchise Group conference call, previous corporate press releases, and public interviews from CEO Sharon Leite. Additionally, I provided both brick and mortar and digital sales updates, along with digital marketing tactics and merchandising that is helping The Vitamin Shoppe become an authoritative voice by educating consumers during the health pandemic. Finally, I update you on how much benefit is already being seen from the GNC chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Should the sports nutrition industry finally embrace its more mainstream active nutrition future?
When I started in the industry more than a decade ago, the only acceptable term used to describe brands like MusclePharm, Cellucor, Optimum Nutrition, or even today’s hottest brand Redcon1 would be sports nutrition...but, that isn’t the case anymore!
While the terms sports nutrition and active nutrition seem to be thrown around interchangeably by professionals, they are stuffed full of nuisances that make them very different. Active Nutrition is an evolution of sports nutrition. Active nutrition is the real golden ticket to building a large-scale functional CPG business because it moves the products away from being one-dimensional, but are the previous generations of sports nutrition entrepreneurs (gatekeepers) ready to leave the comfortable sub-culture niche for a much larger greener pasture?
In the first half of 2020, a huge tectonic shift occurred within the energy drink space, one that will have lasting implications for years to come, and no I’m not talking about COVID-19! Up until last year, the top 3 energy drink brands in the U.S. had gone unchanged since 2004. That was until Bang Energy blasted past Rockstar Energy in the summer of 2019 to become the #3 energy drink brand in the U.S. and reached sales of around $1.2 billion in that calendar year. This created earthquakes in the beverage space at a level that made the biggest beverage portfolios in the world realize they needed to get aggressive in their strategic plans for energy beverages.
It makes sense that an organization founded on first-person shooter video game content would embrace the saying “You can be the hunter, or you can be the hunted.”
At a time when investment in the gaming category by sports nutrition brands is growing, what happens when the script is flipped and an esports team invests in a sports nutrition startup? That is exactly what happened when the most popular professional gaming and esports organization FaZe Clan invested an undisclosed amount in the startup sports nutrition brand CTRL (Catered For Real Life). I'll explain why I believe this could be potentially important tipping point for the convergence of the esports and functional CPG industries.
From buying a sewing machine and screen printer for just over $1000, to having your business be valued at over $1 billion and a potential exit in 8 years is just plain wild. The business that I’m talking about is Britain’s fastest-growing fashion brand Gymshark. In this podcast episode, I will share a bit about the inspiring founding story, current financials, and areas I believe Gymshark knocked it out of the park to grow into a athletic apparel behemoth. Finally, I will talk about the projected minority investment that will allow them to better compete with Lululemon, Under Armour, Adidas, and Nike in the future.
Monster Beverage Corporation is finally considering a portfolio strategy that doesn’t solely focus on energy drinks, but is that the right move?
In June 2019, Monster Energy CEO Rodney Sacks said the beverage company had an appetite to look at alternative brands and to develop more beverages in the nonalcoholic…as well as the alcoholic market. With the non-compete just ending, will we see Monster Hard Seltzer, Monster CBD, or a ton of other beverage innovations in the next 12 months? That is if something else doesn't happen first...
How is the American economy doing? According to the Federal Reserve July 15, 2020 Beige Book, the outlook remains highly uncertain...
You might be asking yourself WTF is the Beige Book and why should I care about what it says about the economy?
The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across all 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It characterizes regional economic conditions and prospects based on a variety of mostly qualitative information, gathered directly from District sources.
Why you should care is that the qualitative nature of the Beige Book creates an opportunity to characterize dynamics and identify emerging trends in the economy that may not be readily apparent in the available macroeconomic data. Because of that, the Beige Book can potentially help you with regional insights that can be applied to create advantages in your business. To save you time from reading the whole document, I thought it would be valuable if I started a video series where I take five highlights that I found most insightful from the Beige Books and share it with you guys…along with some additional commentary on how it could potentially impact you.
It looks like even Quest Nutrition couldn’t overcome this abominably complex retailing environment from 3/1 to 5/30.
This podcast episode will breakdown the FY20Q3 earnings report for The Simply Good Foods Company (SMPL) filed on 7/8/2020. This is the second full quarter of sales data from the late 2019 acquisition of Quest Nutrition. This episode breaks down the financial performance of The Simply Good Foods Company brand portfolio, covering how Quest Nutrition and Atkins Nutritionals performed against the COVID-19 retailing environment. Finally, I discuss some strategic themes in the report and future thoughts on how the protein snacking brands will do in the back-half of 2020.
If you are interested in the visuals from this episode, please watch this YouTube video - https://youtu.be/5sZVk-wXnrk
This episode of the podcast highlights a wellness (or wellbeing) CPG portfolio, that now has over $500 million in annual revenue (over $1.4 billion in consolidated revenue), yet very few supplement industry stakeholders in the United States speak about them. The company I'm speaking about is The Hut Group, which is a digital-first, global, consumer brand and technology group, powered by a unique and proprietary end-to-end e-commerce technology and operating ecosystem called Ingenuity.
What you'll notice is that The Hut Group is a billion-dollar business that is built to be a future mini-Amazon. Ingenuity reminds me of AWS because it was built for internal usage, but has been recently white-labeled to be sold and deployed by mega brands like Nestle, Walgreens, and Procter & Gamble.
If you are looking for accompanying graphics in video format, please watch my YouTube video here - https://youtu.be/5-kXqg4O_5c
Every one of the 3 biggest American stock exchanges just had their best quarterly performance in more than two decades. So, why does the Wall Street establishment have their proverbial panties in a bunch over a rookie day trader that never bought or sold stocks until pandemic started?
Let's just say he is proving out a model for the future and that should make a lot of people on Wall Street nervous...
The rookie day trader of reference would be Dave Portnoy, better known as the founder of the media company Barstool Sports. The same Barstool Sports that was sold to Penn National Gaming for $450 million right before COVID-19 started making a huge impact in the United States, but that amount of wealth has nothing to do with why the Wall Street establishment hates him.
If you aren’t familiar with this story, a few questions are likely popping up in your mind;
What does Barstool Sports have to do with stock trading?
Why does the Wall Street elite care about a rookie stock trader?
After 2-3 years of making content about the nutritional supplement specialty retailer GNC, that referenced a future that most-likely ended in bankruptcy, it finally happened...
GNC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and I’m happy for them!
Within this podcast episode, I will cover;
Brief recap of what led GNC to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Chapter 11 filing details (and restructuring support agreement), including what’s in the filing, who’s included, who’s excluded, who potentially will get burned
What’s life after Chapter 11 bankruptcy look like for GNC, which speaks on both details provided from them and my predictions
Is it time for American supplement brands to start allocating resources towards Alibaba?
As egocentric Americans, we tend to get caught up with our own lives, own business, own market, and our own economy. We can tell you many facts and opinions on Amazon, but know little about the Chinese equivalent Alibaba. I've honestly kept this content idea on the back-burner for quite some time, but decided to finally create it after I saw an announcement in the latest Alibaba Group earnings report last month that stated they would be hosting a series of virtual Trade Shows aimed at getting small-to-mid-sized U.S. businesses to buy and sell products on its e-commerce platform.
…and it just so happened that the first category-specific B2B event would be supplements and nutrition.
Link to Alibaba U.S. Trade Shows - https://bit.ly/3hS3UYW
Do you remember in Game of Thrones when Jon Snow died in the Season 5 finale, but was brought back to life in the next season by the Red Woman? Did that just happen with Ultimate Nutrition?
For my sports nutrition industry followers, you might remember the saga that happened on August 17th, 2019 with Ultimate Nutrition abruptly closing their doors and leaving over 150 employees without a job. The 41 year-old legacy sports nutrition brand went silent, but it actually never fully went away and now it has resurrected itself. In this podcast, I will cover...
Where they are today
What's the potential
Where do they go from here
Slow and steady wins the race, right? While the overconfident GNC is sleeping mid-race, The Vitamin Shoppe continues to push ahead one slow step at a time.
The Vitamin Shoppe’s parent company Franchise Group finally released its 2020Q1 earnings on 6/18/20 and the CEO gave us some additional Q2 insights on the conference call that should prove valuable to functional CPG stakeholders.
Check out my breakdown on this podcast episode.
What does a 102-year-old rental car company have to do with an 85-year-old nutritional supplement retailer? Nothing much yet, but that could quickly change because a decision Friday by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware gave Hertz permission to sell as up to 246.8 million unissued shares...marking an unprecedented move! A move that might be copied by GNC as it continues to extend the runway further for the possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
How much are large consumer packaged goods portfolios willing to pay when developing direct-to-consumer (D2C) capabilities? How about $700 million? You might be gawking at that price tag, but what if I told you that was cheap compared to the reported $1 billion that Unilever paid for Dollar Shave Club...
In March of 2018, The Clorox Company announced it was acquiring Nutranext for $700 million. In this podcast, I will explain why that decision was more about gaining knowledge for the digital channel, then it was to buy a collection of nutritional supplement companies that did $200 million in revenue the calendar year prior to acquisition.
Walmart has accelerated its growth to reach more customers by showing newfound agility that the retailer didn't have several years ago. Truth is, when America needed it the most, the most American of all retailers stood up to help the country through one of its most trying times. But...is any of this newfound agility actually new? The founder of Walmart Sam Walton once famously remarked that “If we work together, we'll lower the cost of living for everyone...we'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better life.”
What does that have to be with Walmart’s impressive COVID-19 performance, everything…
Let’s breakdown that Walton quote into workable parts that prove Walmart might actually be reintroducing its legacy to today's consumers;
◼️ Working Together - aka Community
◼️ Saving Money
◼️ Improving Lives
Have you ever been to a fitness expo and thought how much fun it would be to work for a supplement company? Maybe you haven't been lucky enough to attend a Arnold Sports Festival or Mr. Olympia weekend, but you think "gym is life" and love talking fitness, health, and supplements with your buddies. Currently, with so many Americans looking for new work, I thought it would be valuable to hear personal stories from industry professionals that all "started from the bottom" and grew into industry leaders.
In this video, you'll hear my story of how I broke into the sports nutrition industry, but also from;
◼️ Ryan Bucki - Founder of Fitness Informant & FIt Butters
◼️ Eric Schwartz - VP of Marketing at Nutrabio
◼️ Daniel Pierce - Nutraceutical Industry Consultant
On this Pivotal interview, we have an extensive chat with Mark Glazier, CEO of NutraBio. He shares his perspective on the evolution of the sports nutrition industry. With over two decades of entrepreneurship in the space, Mark tells stories that help you understand why NutraBio has consistently grown every year for over 20 years. Additionally, we discuss areas, such as product transparency not being a customer acquisition tool, influencer created sports nutrition brands, Amazon, and a number of other entrepreneurial insights from someone that has been at the top for many years.
In this episode, we cover the breaking news that Bodybuilding.com was just sold by Expedia Group, after the travel company had the supplement internet retailer for less than a year. The new owner of Bodybuilding.com is The Najafi Companies, a Phoenix-based Private Equity Firm, with the owner having ties to Phoenix Suns ownership. I will share an update on where Bodybuilding.com is today, what The Najafi Companies focuses on with their investments and their assumed plan of action. Additionally, I give details on why I believe this could end up to be a strong investment.
Can you pick a game that is more fun than guessing Amazon’s next acquisitions? I’ll wait…
With recent news of Amazon looking to buy several what I like to call “splashy” companies during and after this Great Lockdown recessionary period, it got me thinking about what exactly the internet retailer could potentially be up too.
This podcast will focus on 5 (non-technology) categories of likely interest to Amazon and the name(s) I believe would be the best fit for them.
Fashion Heavy General Merchandise Retailer
Athletic Apparel Manufacturer
Pharmacy Benefit Manager
Is it just me or does the momentum around Celsius Energy Drinks remind you of what happened 3-4 years ago with Bang Energy?
How does the saying go? Longtime listener, first time caller? If you follow me on LinkedIn, you know I have been sharing quarterly updates on Celsius Holdings for the last several years. That being said, this is my first standalone video with Celsius being the focal point. I think it will be interesting for my community to take a deeper dive into how this emerging energy beverage company is attacking the competitive energy drinks market.
Since this is the first one, I need to establish a bit of a rubric. I will borrow my flow from other publicly-traded companies and will use the recent quarterly earnings as the backdrop to talk about bigger categorical and strategic insights. Additionally, since we are still in the midst of COVID-19, I will be providing some additional thoughts on how that uncertainty is causing retailing environment.
On this podcast episode, I use the BellRing Brands 2020 FYQ2 earnings report as the backdrop to explain is Premier Protein is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the uncertain COVID-19 retailing environment. BellRing Brands is a portfolio that owns a collection of convenient nutrition businesses, such as Premier Protein, Powerbar, Joint Juice, Supreme Protein, and Dymatize Nutrition and was previously wholly-owned by Post Holdings.
I will further update you on the growth of Premier Protein RTD beverages in the face of the COVID-19 retailing environment. Alternatively, I cover how this reliance of protein RTD beverages could be a huge risk for BellRing Brands. I provide details on different sales metrics that and how new products are performing in the market. Additionally, I comment on their surge in digital sales. Finally, I chat about the Premier Protein positioning and if I think that growth will continue into the back-half of the fiscal year.
On this episode, we will use the recent 2020Q1 GNC earnings report, that was released on 5/11/2020, as the backdrop to discuss its upcoming bankruptcy "This is Sparta Kick" moment. I will breakdown the key quarterly financial data, but more importantly cover what is happening with GNC and the COVID-19 retailing environment. I also cover some details around human capital cost reduction, store optimization plans, COVID-19 store closures, and cost cutting or delaying measures with rent and vendors. Finally, I share the updated financial picture that GNC is looking at and the judgement day of 5/16/20.
This podcast episode will introduce six consumer trends that were caused or accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, as it continues to reshape every part of our lives. There has likely never been a more volatile period for consumer behavior shifts in our lifetime and that creates massive winners and losers. As an entrepreneur (or aspiring one), you should LOVE this time period.
In this video, I am going to highlight a collection of accelerated trends that are happening right now, explain the underlying drivers, give some examples of impacted categories, and what the viability of their future is within the consumer market.
Work From Home
Is the "COVID-19 Effect" slowing down the fastest growing CPG category in the U.S.? In this episode, I consider several assumptions on if packaged CBD products are following the COVID-19 market activity of general CPG products, vices like alcohol CPG, or nutritional supplements. Additionally, I give updates on the shifting sales channel activity, supply-chain, and pricing reactions within the CBD market in 2020.
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! This episode, we have a candid discussion with Stephanie Leffler, CEO of OneSpace, which provides a suite of tools to help CPG brands win top position on the digital shelf. OneSpace believes that “eye level is buy level” is just as important online as it is offline by providing on-demand services for centralizing, optimizing and publishing content that wins top position on multiple online retailers.
In this episode we talk about:
How "COVID-19 Effect" has actually benefited the OneSpace team and with its relationships with CPG brand clients
How sticky the growth in online grocery will be in the near future after COVID-19
Instacart's coming out party
Why CPG brands need to be using this time to really invest in the digital channel
...and many more insightful topics!
If you want to get in contact with OneSpace - https://www.onespace.com/
This episode of the "Consumed" series covers the breakdown of the 2019Q4 earnings release and current report of the Franchise Group, which acquired The Vitamin Shoppe officially on 12/16/2019. I use the recent financial reports as the backdrop to explain my perspective on if The Vitamin Shoppe is in a better position to take on the coronavirus pandemic than their main competitor GNC.
This episode of the "Consumed" series covers the breakdown of the 2020Q1 Glanbia preliminary financial report. Glanbia is a global nutrition company that owns various nutritional supplement and sports nutrition brands. These brands include names like...
ThinkThin (now called Think!)
I use the recent earnings report as the backdrop to explain my perspective on if Glanbia Performance Nutrition can use its strong balance sheet to grow their market leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.
The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to wipe out jobs at a record pace. For the week ended April 18, another 4.4 million workers filed for new unemployment benefits, bringing the total number of job losses to about 26 million in the last five weeks. That amounts to about one in six working Americans.
While I am not some career coach, recruiter, resume writer, or have much content that usually resembles personal development, I do believe I can help your unemployment situation by using my 10+ years of corporate strategy consulting. I will dive into 5 concepts to ensure you come out of the "Great Lockdown" in a better position professionally than you came into it.
On this special "COVID-19 Effect" edition of the Pivotal interview series that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY...we have a candid discussion with Jeremy Smith, President of LaunchPad Group USA, which is the only full service business strategy, branding and representation group intensely focused on emerging food brands highly specialized in Costco Representation and Strategy.
In this episode we talk about:
How emerging food brands are dealing with "COVID-19 Effect" at Costco
The current appetite for new merchandising at Costco during COVID-19
Why Costco is growing both in-store and digitally through the coronavirus pandemic
Jeremy's best advice for food CPG brands on how to use this time best
...and many more insightful conversations!
If you want to follow Jeremy, check out - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-smith-8aa3281/
On the latest episode of the special edition "COVID-19 Effect" Pivotal interviews, we have a candid discussion with Chris Walton, Co-Founder/Co-CEO of several businesses including the fast-growing retail blog OmniTalk. He is also a senior contributor to Forbes and admittedly my favorite business writer because we share a commonality in our style and thoughts. Prior to starting his entrepreneurial ventures, Chris worked for Target, where he was the VP of the retailer’s Store of the Future project and also a VP of Merchandising on Target.com.
In this episode we talk about:
How "COVID-19 Effect" is accelerating several macro retail trends
Walmart's community building storytelling emergence
How Amazon gets stronger during this period of time
How post-purchase touch-points in retail will be integral right no
...and many more insightful conversations!
If you want to follow Chris, check out - https://omnitalk.blog/
If you'd like to subscribe and watch this episode on YouTube, check out - https://youtu.be/2pKtoSA4ERg
On this special "COVID-19 Effect" edition of our Pivotal interview series, we have a candid discussion with Chris Wagner, Founder/CEO of several business including Raze Energy, NutraKey, and G POP Foods. Because of the diversity of the portfolio of businesses, it gives Chris a unique perspective across many different food, beverage, and nutritional supplement CPG product categories that all sell in diverse sales channels.
In this episode we talk about:
How "COVID-19 Effect" has created changes within the four walls of his businesses
Process of stress testing his multiple businesses
Unlikely supply chain challenge at Raze Energy
Small supplement retail landscape
Would you like to watch the YouTube video version, click here - https://youtu.be/TfkTPVftdz4
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! This episode, we have a candid discussion with Adam Brown, Founder/CEO of Sircle Media, a leading social media strategy and content creation agency that has a deep client roster of "better for you" CPG brands.
In this episode we talk about:
How "COVID-19 Effect" has created changes at Sircle Media
How CPG brands are turning to community reinforcement
How CPG brands are pivoting their assets to stay relevant
Increase in "Live" usage on social media platforms
If you want to watch the YouTube version, click here - https://youtu.be/iZs_qC98bN4
Simply Good Foods Company, which owns "health and fitness snacking" brands Quest Nutrition, Atkins Nutritionals, and Simply Protein recently reported its earnings on 4/6/2020. If you are interested in the financial performance breakdown, check out the linked YouTube channel that includes presentation slides. Alternatively, this podcast episode will focus on how Quest Nutrition and Atkins Nutritionals are positioned in the COVID-19 retailing environment.
Product Mix Fit
Channel Strategy Fit
Supply-Chain & Balance Sheet Check
Link to Full YouTube Video - https://youtu.be/vHf5pLk5mP8
On this "COVID-19 Effect" special Pivotal interview, we have a candid discussion with my longtime friend and personal high performance coach Colby Knepp.
In this episode we talk about:
How "COVID-19 Effect" has created changes in his high performance coaching business
How no one is coming to save us except ourselves, so it's time to own this situation
How to rebuild positive routines
Common mindset challenges his successful entrepreneurs have been dealing with and how he has been correcting those behaviors
How to get unstuck and stay on the offense in the face of uncertainty
If you want to connect with Colby, click here - https://bit.ly/34sHk2I
The struggling supplement retailer GNC recently released its delayed 2019Q4 earnings report. In this podcast, I breakdown the top-level financial data, but more importantly I cover an additional COVID-19 business update press release that GNC submitted on 4/6/2020. I will add commentary to what is happening in the COVID-19 retailing environment and around differing interpretations of the definition of essential or non-essential retail operations. Finally, I share my opinions on several POVs, including vendors (consignment and wholesale), supplement industry, and GNC.
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! This episode, we have a candid talk with Rich White, Founder and CEO of Sportika Export, the leading sports nutrition exporter in the U.S. On this special "COVID-19 Effect" episode, Rich shares about...
COVID-19 Effect on Sportika Export (and the adaptations his company is making)
Silver Linings at Sportika Export from this event
Overall International Supplement Market Sentiment from COVID-19, but also compounding from FOREX/Tariff/Import issues
Winners (or lightest hit) regions/countries
Losers (or hardest hit) regions/countries
How do U.S. supplement brands doing business internationally come out stronger after this?
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! This episode, we have a candid talk with Aaron Hinde, President & Co-Founder of LifeAid Beverage Co., about how the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has affected his multiple INC. 5000 List member beverage company. LifeAID products represent a far superior alternative to sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and even traditional health drinks. Each beverage boasts 2-3 grams of targeted supplements with under 50 calories per can. In addition, they contain no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. LifeAID products are sold nationwide in over 30,000 retail locations.
In this episode we talk about:
How LifeAid is pivoting away from the gym channel that is down over 80%, but still supporting them with LifeAid Lift Program
Aaron transparent communication style during uncertainty
Aaron ability to see opportunity in even the most challenging environments
Why CrossFit gyms will get through this shutdown
Awesome closing remarks about growth mindset
Is COVID-19 affecting a high-growth e-commerce business that serves the college student community? I set out to answer that question.
I had a candid conversation with Russell Saks, CEO & Co-Founder of Campus Protein, about how the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has affected his business, which is located in New York City. We also discuss how the "extended college summer break" constraint has given the Campus Protein team an opportunity to realign and strengthen their business. Finally, we share about a new project that launched called BEAM and the founding story behind that supplement brand.
On 3/28/2020, I interviewed Aaron Singerman (CEO of Redcon1) about how his sports nutrition company had partnered with on-demand delivery apps, such as Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats to provide another fulfillment option for customers. While their HQ and Redcon1 gym are "pick-up points" as well., the strategy really has legs when you consider that 1000s of Redcon1 retailers can add themselves as additional locations. While this is creative in the face of COVID-19, it's also long-term on-trend with the evolution of expected shopping experience.
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! This episode, we talk to Michael Noe, the owner of 406 Nutrition and Invictus Marketing, about what he is doing to help give value to brick and mortar supplement stores during this time of uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are interested in checking out his content on COVID-19, check out his...
Facebook Page - https://bit.ly/2UsqUE5
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mr.406nutrition/
Is COVID-19 affecting even the fastest growing businesses in the world? I set out to answer that question.
I had a candid conversation with Aaron Singerman, CEO of Redcon1, about how his company was performing against the challenging business environment of COVID-19. Being that Redcon1 will likely be at the top 1% of INC Magazine's fastest growing private company list for 2020, I thought Aaron would have a great perspective to share with my community. Aaron and I talked about...
March 2020 Sales Growth and April Sales Projections
Which Redcon1 products are performing well
Economic pandemic brewing
Why we need to get back to work
Formula For, is a podcast that unpacks the early stories of CPG entrepreneurs, to reveal the list of ingredients that ultimately led them to the revered products they built. On this never before launched episode that was taped on 7/18/2018, we talk to Brendan Ahern, which is currently CEO and Co-Founder of Ronnie Coleman Signature Series (RCSS). RCSS is a privately held, born global, premium sports nutrition company. The company was founded in 2011 and initial capital was generated through prepaid international sales orders. Their first three years of business generated over 2000% growth and they were named #208 on INC. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies List. RCSS products are available in over 120 countries.
Prior to co-founding RCSS with Ronnie Coleman, he played a major role in brand development of Bio-Engineered Supplements & Nutrition (BSN), which was acquired by Glanbia in 2011 for $155MM.
Ronnie Coleman: The King Documentary - https://www.netflix.com/title/81018183
On 3/16/2020, the nutrition supplement retailer GNC submitted a "Notice of Late Filing" to the SEC. For those that aren't aware of what these notices mean, they are requested by publicly-traded to have the SEC grant them longer to submit audited financial statements. When they are filed, it is rarely for a good reason.
In this podcast, I breakdown how certain clauses in the debt load of GNC might create issues for them in 2020. The most important clause being that they cannot have a "going concern" footnote in their audited financial statements. Additionally, I talk about options GNC has to further avoid bankruptcy and how the current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic could help them stay in business through 2020. Finally, I leave with commentary around how brands, partners, and vendors should now be thinking about their relationship with GNC.
Pivotal is an interview-style segment that tackles topics in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from the business leaders that live it EVERY DAY! This episode, we talk to Tyler Parsons, Director of Sales at Defyned Brands, about what he is doing to help give value directly to brick and mortar supplement retail stores during this time of uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic. If you are interested in checking out his content on supplement retail preparedness surrounding COVID-19, check out his Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/wolfofsupplements/ or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wolfofsupplements/
Watch Video Here 👉🏼 https://youtu.be/CMIUghGmFTY
Formula For, is a podcast that unpacks the early stories of CPG entrepreneurs, to reveal the list of ingredients that ultimately led them to the revered products they built.
On this never before launched episode, that was taped on 6/25/2018, we talk to Marc Lobliner, which is currently Chief Marketing Officer of TigerFitness.com, a multiple INC. 500/5000 company, as well as Owner/CEO of one of the fastest growing supplement companies, MTS Nutrition and protein bar companies, Outright Bar. Additionally, Marc is Partner in several other nutritional supplement businesses.
Before his current list of achievements, Marc was the leader of Scivation, a multi-million dollar, globally distributed sport nutrition company. During his seven years at Scivation, he launched and developed Team Scivation, an online personal training and diet program, into the largest of its kind in Sport Nutrition history with over 70,000 concurrent members. Prior to starting Scivation, Marc was a co-founder of, and served as Chief Marketing Officer for the Sylvester Stallone sports nutrition company, INSTONE, LLC. Marc also spent over four years working for Weider Publications’ Muscle & Fitness, FLEX, Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness Hers magazines.
Is the grass really greener on the other side? Mandatory in-office workers are about to find out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Be honest, you’ve had a tinge of jealously towards the estimated under 5% of us “work from home” professionals, right?
I mean we get to work from the pool, coffee shops, and even travel the world without the constraints of micro-managers wanting us to use those big brother time tracking programs and be present every Monday to Friday from 9-5 sitting in our office or cubicle...even when you’ve completed your meaningful work!
Remote workers have the life! You’ve dreamt of this moment, until you realized this week (or will be realizing it very soon) that it isn’t as glorious and easy as you thought...
Don’t believe the hype from someone that has worked from home since late 2012. Working from home is fucking hard. Its hard because there is no structured routine that society has built over centuries. I believe great people thrive in crisis, so this is your time to shine! To help, I thought I would try and share some basic tips and tricks that has allowed me to grow multiple businesses in a non-routine work environment.
Can you imagine spending almost $4 billion to gain access to the hottest beverage club in the U.S.? That is what essentially PepsiCo did when they acquired Rockstar Energy.
One of the lead PepsiCo strategy executives said on Linkedin, “This is one of the largest and most transformational deals PepsiCo ever made and it will dramatically accelerate our growth trajectory for years to come.” Why are they making such a big deal about this purchase?
I dig into those reasons and more in this episode of The Joshua Schall Audio Experience...
"A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats..."
When I started making consistent business content about four and a half years ago, I wanted to give "legs" to the valuable insights that were being shared between myself and others in conference rooms. I felt that non-NDA information was being held too close to the chest, especially in functional CPG categories like sports nutrition. Because of that, I have made it my mission to bring positive light to the space...
While working on some projects in Denver, I decided to stop in to see my good friend Stephen Adele. This "insight heavy" conversation is exactly the type of thing that would normally be locked up between two people...yet it's extremely value to any professional that is looking for unique perspectives on the following;
▪️ Sports Nutrition Market in 2020
▪️ Direct to Consumer Business
▪️ Sales Strategy & Techniques
▪️ Why Strategy is King
▪️ What Skills Are Paramount for Entrepreneurs Today
Watch Video Here 👉🏼 https://youtu.be/tfCTQG6PVhI
Coldstone Creamery ice cream flavored whey protein, Warheads flavored pre-workout, Swedish Fish flavored BCAAs, and the list continues to grow with sports nutrition brands using authentically licensed flavors in their products, but is that differentiation strategy about to get tougher soon?Recently, Post Holdings and Dymatize Nutrition (which Post Holdings owns through BellRing Brands) launched a Pebbles Cereal flavored protein that I believe changed the market dynamics of sports nutrition brands attempting to acquire licensing from other food/beverage IP owners. Find out why in this audio version of a recent episode of my popular Deep Dish CPG YouTube series.
I would like to welcome you to the Joshua Schall Audio Experience. The first official upload will focus around what this podcast is about, why I decided to launch it, and when will I launch new episodes of this podcast. Additionally, I will share a bit about myself at the end for those that aren't familiar with me or my story.
Truth is, this podcast has been hyped up since I started creating YouTube videos in July 2018, but now it feels amazing to finally move this project from "boy who cried wolf status" to now a new living breathing representation of my passion to share my thoughts, opinions, and insights.
Thank you for supporting me on this journey...we are only getting started!