Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show, founder and CEO Madeline Haydon said:
“[Bricks and mortar] retailers used to be very turned off by our selling to Amazon, but you have to position it to be like, we’re not a brand that started cold in Florida, we’ve been selling x dollars into this state via Amazon where we launched, and now we’re excited to partner with you, Publix, to bring nutpods where we have an engaged customer base that not only knows our product, but is loyal to our product.”
She added: “Now that we have market validation [from the online channel], we know consumers love us, and we know how often they buy us, because Amazon is very rich in data for an emerging brand like ours.
“We know what brands we are often sold with on Amazon and that allows us to partner with some of those brands. We know the areas of the country where we are really strong, then we can follow up with store distribution," added Haydon, who is also working on new flavors and new products for the brand this year.
“So on the strength of how we’ve done in natural and specialty retailers that really pioneered our brand [nutpods is now in around 2,500 stores and five online platforms], and the velocity we’ve been able to achieve there, and coming out with a product format such as our new refrigerated 16oz product; this has really allowed us to accelerate our push into retail. So we’re going into accounts like Kroger and Wegmans.
“We’ve done our homework online and now we’re making our big push into retail.”
'Being bigger doesn't make you better...'
Asked about the incursion of high-profile brands into the plant-based creamer market over the past couple of years, she said: “First mover advantage really gave us about a year to ourselves where people got a chance to try nutpods and love nutpods and love the company behind nutpods and build that customer loyalty.
“The thing about Amazon is that you cannot hide a mediocre product, and having that social proof – well over 3,000 reviews and three and a half stars – which by the way is higher than coffee mate and the other industry titans, really allows customers to know what they are getting with nutpods.”
While Nestlé Coffee Mate Natural Bliss, Califia Farms, Silk, So Delicious, Califia Farms and Ripple had deeper pockets, she acknowledged, “Being bigger doesn’t make you better, and having more money doesn’t make you more genuine and authentic to your customers.”
“You get paid net-15 on Amazon, instead of net-30 after all the deductions of the stores, but more importantly than that, you don’t have the same sell cycle by category reviews....
"The other thing about Amazon is that you cannot hide a mediocre product...”
Madeline Haydon, founder, Green Grass Foods Inc (nutpods)
INGREDIENTS [Original Unsweetened nutpods]: Purified water, coconut cream, almonds, natural flavors, acacia gum, dipotassium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, gellan gum.
The gums add texture, while the sunflower lecithin serves as an emulsifier to stop the fat in the nuts separating out. The dipotassium phosphate serves as an acidity regulator.