Marinated beet salads aren’t much of a thing in the US as they are in the UK (our British co-workers can attest to that). In fact, as Love Beets’ marketing manager Natasha Shapiro told FoodNavigator-USA, a lot of people stateside are intimidated by raw beets. “[Beets] have a reputation of being messy, and time-consuming, and a pain in the butt to cook yourself,” she said.
And that’s exactly why founders Guy and Katherine Shropshire hopped across the pond to seize the opportunity of something new. “They realized that if they prepared them in a way where [the beets] are just ready to eat, taking all the work out of it and the mess out of it, that it would be very appealing to the consumer.”
Planting new roots
Guy’s family owns a salad company, which was started in the 1950s by his great grandfather with the same name. This company, G’s Fresh, is Love Beets’ parent company, and has been supplying Love Beets’ beetroots from farmers around Europe.
But as operations expand—Love Beets’ selection of products now includes juices and bars—the company is building a production facility in Rochester, N.Y., with more beets supplied by US growers until, eventually in the near future, all Love Beets products will be locally grown. “We would like to totally own the beet market, and have not only our products but provide whole bunch beets as well,” Shapiro said.
Love Beets products can now be found in around 7,500 stores in Canada and the U.S., at mainstream retailers and specialty ones that focus on natural and organic products. Drug stores are the company’s next endeavor to enter. Worldwide, some stores in Australia, Spain, and Germany also carry Love Beets products through licenses.
In the states, beets are traditionally seen as a vegetable to be eaten in the colder months, and sales tend to increase in the fall and winter, so marketing tends to focus on promoting beets as a flexible and versatile vegetable.
“We partnered with Weber Grill and we did a campaign called ‘Beet Meets Grill: A Summer Love Story,’ and we developed some custom recipes using grilled beets,” Shapiro said. “We did an online thing where people can vote for their favorite recipe, we did in store demos, we promoted grilling beets. We showed them how versatile beets are, grilling them over the summer.” According to Shapiro, the summer campaign engaged audience and was a success.
A New, Fresh Face
Aiming at the health-conscious consumer, marketing Love Beets wasn’t such a daunting task—according to Shapiro, the health benefits of beets are widely understood by this audience. But as new products were being released and new ideas came into place, Shapiro said that there wasn’t consistency in the logo and branding.
In 2014, with the help of international design firm Pentagram’s New York office, Love Beets went through a branding makeover that aimed to attract not only buyers who grew up eating beets and love them, but to make new converts as well.
“What was really important to us was to really reinforce it being an upbeat, welcoming, fun, and accessible brand,” Shapiro. “We wanted to reinvent beets, because beets could be something that people don’t perceive as something fun. We’ve been getting positive feedback from the rebranding, getting people to want to try our product or be intrigued by our product.”