Co-founded by big wave surfing legend Laird Hamilton in 2015, Laird Superfood began from Hamilton's daily wellness habits of adding a plant-based coconut creamer to his morning cup of coffee and evolved into a product portfolio addressing all day parts and consumer need states from morning to night.
"Our objective is to have a product that’s useful to everyone," Hamilton told FoodNavigator-USA, pointing to a number of "unsung heroes" (Hydrate, Instafuel, and Activate product lines) within the company's portfolio beyond its more-recognized coffee creamers.
Day-to-night usage occasions
As many brands learned during the past two years, more variety in their product portfolios could be like carrying around dead weight, leading to a wave of SKU rationalization and product discontinuation across the food and beverage landscape. But for Laird Superfood, variety has been and will continue to be the key to its success thanks to its strong omnichannel focus and strategy, noted Vieth, who took the helm earlier this month coming from Sovos Brands where he managed the firm's Breakfast and Snacks Group.
"The primary attraction, for me, was the ability of the brand to stretch across day parts and usage occasions – there just aren’t many brands like that," said Vieth on his decision to join the company as CEO.
Proving the company's continued strong performance against tough-to-beat comparables from 2020, Laird Superfoods grew net sales by 29% year-over-year to $9.4m in Q4 2021 compared to Q4 2020 led by 39% growth in its online business. The company's coffee creamers led the bulk of growth with a 55% sales growth followed by coffee, tea, and hot chocolate products with 20% growth, harvest snacks & food items (+19%), and hydration & beverage enhancing supplements (+14%).
While the company's entire brand portfolio may not be able to sit on one shelf, aisle, or even section of the grocery store, Vieth shared how its e-commerce business has laid the foundation for a strong omnichannel strategy where there's room for every one of its product offerings.
"We have that morning to night portfolio of products, and we can bring that to direct-to-consumer and to Amazon and other digital platforms in a way that you can’t do with conventional grocery," said Vieth, who said the approach can parse out "winners" of the portfolio that are ready to enter retail.
"We’re going to have that bifurcated strategy for the foreseeable future because we have the portfolio that can support it."
'I see explosive growth for us...'
Vieth added that Laird Superfood has the opportunity to enter new product categories in the future, but for now the company will be addressing some more immediate low-hanging fruit in regard to new product introduction, which can drive trial and sales for the brand.
"Our primary focus right now is to get all those current categories right. We have additional sizes we can get to, single-serve packages for example we don’t have on any of our creamers, or are instant coffees, or for our Hydrate products where you expect a single serve product, so we’ll be working on that in the near term," said Vieth, who added that the 'beauty from within' category will be a source of inspiration for future product innovation.
"We’re reworking all of our insights to analytics and making sure we understand who our consumer is, how to target them, how to bring them the best products, and as we put that model together, I see explosive growth for us."