05 September 2023

Our July & August Roundup: Colachup, the Agtech Revolution, and examining the future of plant-based alternatives

In this month's roundup, we explore PepsiCo's unusual blend of Pepsi and ketchup, collaboration and innovation in agriculture, and the future of plant-based alternatives.

5 minute read

Curious cola-flavoured ketchup underlines Pepsi’s culinary push

From JustFood

Ketchup infused with cola – could this have real appeal for consumers? Pushing back against the idea of this as a mere gimmick, JustFood explores how a ketchup infused with the taste of Pepsi speaks to the classic pairing of American hot dogs and fizzy beverages.

It’s just the latest in PepsiCo’s #BetterWithPepsi campaign, which is said to tap into the consumer desire for beverages that form part of an overall consumption experience that includes food. Though this example might seem tongue-in-cheek, the article asserts:

“More than four in ten (43%) global consumers, for example, are always/often influenced by product packaging that displays food and drink pairing recommendations…”

Sevendots Partner Colin McAllister says of this unusual product:

Apparently, this is not a joke: Pepsi really did introduce Colachup, in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America, for a few days in a few pop-up stores at baseball stadiums. The intention was to underline how well Pepsi Cola and hot dogs go together. Judging from the 27000 Facebook comments it doesn’t seem to have gone down very well (a relief for us all?).

Colin McAllister

Harvesting the Future: The Agtech Revolution in Action

From Devdiscourse

In this piece, the Agtech Revolution and its transformation of the agricultural industry is explored. This revolution is not just about efficiency and productivity, but also about sustainability. The Agtech Revolution is bridging the gap between tradition and technology, by “empowering farmers with innovative tools and solutions”. This includes precision farming, robotic automation and data analytics.

Sevendots Partner Andrea Bielli says:

The future of agriculture is a blended mix of the efficiency of forward-looking technologies and the experience coming from traditional farming practices. Combining these two elements can unleash an enormous potential for higher yields, lower cost and much improved sustainability. A virtuous cycle for the future of food production but the need to make consumers aware of the stake.

Andrea Bielli

What’s the Role of Fungi Protein in the Future of Food?

From Vegconomist

In this piece, Vegconomist reports on the inaugural Mycoprotein Summit held in London. Mycoprotein stood out as an important, high-quality protein. Preliminary research demonstrated that Mycoprotein was very comparable to animal-based proteins and could support muscle growth. Those on a high mycoprotein diet were not shown to be deficient in anything, and this research supports the potential of this product, boosting trust and health which may help sway consumers towards a diet that is plant-based.

Plant-Based Meat Now Cheaper Than Animal Meat in Netherlands

From Vegconomist

As a result of inflation and high raw material prices, data shows that plant-based meat alternatives have become cheaper than conventional meat in the Netherlands. ProVeg and Questionmark mapped price differences and found:

“In February 2022, plant-based burgers were on average 56 cents per kilo more expensive than animal-based burgers. Now, they are 78 cents per kilo cheaper. In February, plant-based chicken pieces were on average €1.16 per kilo more expensive. Now, they are 37 cents per kilo cheaper… plant-based mince was on average 29 cents per kilo more expensive. Now, it’s €1.36 per kilo cheaper.”

Sevendots Partner Andrea Bielli says:

Besides taste performance, price remains a key barrier for plant-based consumer adoption. With meat prices increasing rapidly, consumer may find plant based alternative more appealing.

Andrea Bielli

Why Fake Meat is Failing

From Continuous Reconstruction

In our final plant-based story for this roundup, this multi-part series from Rob Spiro explores the complexity holding back plant-based alternatives. Research from Imagination Machine found that there are multiple consumer demands at play. Health is a primary concern, but what this means is complicated – whether it is about optimising blood sugar levels, measuring protein intake, reducing processed foods, or targeting calories, salt, cholesterol, or some other factor. What also became clear is that fresh meat was thought of as healthy, and while individuals may express the desire to eat less meat, households do not always reflect this preference.

In all, this research suggests health is a bigger factor than taste when it comes to understanding the slow uptake of fake meats. Dairy, on the other hand, continues to grow more easily as “People do not consider cow-milk, or cheese, to be nearly as healthy as fresh meat – though of course this varies based on the nutrition-mental-model of the eater. Plant-based milks can effectively position as healthier alternatives, and increased scale is helping prices come down.”

Sevendots Partner Antoine Renault says:

Plant-based milk and plant-based meat categories don’t seem to share the same growth perspectives. This is a great reminder that mental models are more predictive of behaviors than declared attitudes. And also, that a new proposition only wins when the user believes in a personal and short term benefit.

Antoine Renault

PepsiCo CEO credits ‘remarkable’ marketing teams for minimising price elasticities

From MarketingWeek

In more PepsiCo news, the company has credited its marketing for strengthening the perceived value of its brands to help consumers stomach price rises. CEO Ramon Laguarta said:

“In some respects it’s what we have been investing for over the past few years. Our brands are stronger, the perceived value of our products is better than it was and obviously we have been able to raise prices and consumers stay within our brands.”

While he acknowledged that consumers are looking for channels with better perceived value and are certainly looking for better deals, buying in mass, etc, consumers were making trade-offs to stay within categories.

Another element of their 13% increase in second quarter profit is also attributed to improvements in managing the supply chain.

2023 State of the Beverage Industry: Functional beverage demands lift sports, protein drink categories

From Beverage Industry

The demand for more functional beverages and a reduction in sugar content is driving innovation in the sports and protein drink markets. These have outperformed nonfictional drinks in the last year, with sports drinks sales increasing 12.4%.

In a 2022 report from Beverage Marketing Corporation titled “The Evolving Drink Market in the U.S. Through 2026: Market Essentials,” the company asserts a “10.5% wholesale dollar CAGR for the 2021-2026 five-year period, which it attributes to the vanguard consumer trends.” This is driven by the move towards plant-based foods in the protein space, as well as the continued popularity of keto and paleo diets.

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Unilever calls on industry to collaboratively rebalance the food system

From FoodNavigator USA

In this article and its accompanying podcast, Food Navigator explores Unilever’s demand for a big change to the food system. According to the company, the current food system is “too unbalanced, too wasteful and too vulnerable.” The podcast includes an interview with Unilever Nutrition North America General Manager Herrish Patel, on the company’s mission to promote positive nutrition and help rebalance the food system. He talks of the company’s responsibility on this matter, to help educate consumers about climate change and nutrition while delivering accessible solutions.

Patel also unpacks the Future Food strategy, which includes creating plant-based alternatives to popular products (such as the vegan Hellman’s mayo), as well as reducing sodium and sugar in products. There are also plans to tackle consumer waste, investing in regenerative agriculture, and more.

That’s it for another month! We hope you are enjoying the remainder of the summer season, and will be back with the latest industry news that catches our eye next month.

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02 May 2023

Our April Roundup: PepsiCo’s new healthy diet, licensing deal between Coca-Cola and Frutura, and a True Pricing scheme from Albert Heijn

In CPG news from April, we explore PepsiCo’s new healthy diet strategy, an interesting licensing deal between Coca-Cola and Frutura, the impact of HFSS regulations on small brands in the UK and a new True Pricing scheme from Albert Heijn

05 June 2023

Our May Roundup: DTC vs brick-and-mortar, elevating functional foods and ‘hater-debunking’

In this month's roundup, brick and mortar retail versus eCommerce strategies, the usefulness of AI 'hallucinations' for marketers, functional foods and the future of whole-genome sequencing.