06 April 2022

Our March Roundup: The power of Discord for beauty, dwindling food supplies and the rise of personalized grocery

In this month's curated news, we look into the growing plant-milk market, Discord for beauty, world food supply problems and movement of brands away from offline marketing spending.

Christina Carè

Sevendots, London

4 minute read

Here’s what we found interesting from across the CPG industry from the month of March, 2022.  

Have We Reached Peak Plant Milk? Not Even Close. 

From the New York Times

Even though there are a growing number of plant-milk alternatives available, this piece in the New York Times suggests there are only more to come. However, they come with their own set of sustainability concerns, as not all plant milks are created equal. Sydney Olson, a food and drink analyst for Mintel, said:

 “Expectations are rising, and brands can’t afford to be reliant on plant-based claims alone.”

She also says shoppers can expect more plant-based milk brands addressing consumer concerns about overprocessing and focusing on benefits like high protein and high vitamin and mineral content.

In short: Despite the growing number of plant milks available, they present their own problems in terms of sustainability, with certain forms leading to a disruption in biodiversity or exploitation of areas with water scarcity, as well as other issues. As more alternatives come to market, addressing concerns will be increasingly important.

What’s the path to building customer centric supply chains?

From RetailWire

This piece sets out a discussion about customer centric supply chains – and the comments are where the real value lies. Of course, the piece sets out the key issues: not just access to consumer data, but understanding and analyzing this data in a meaningful way to deliver customer satisfaction and build trust.

In short: A vibrant discussion of what it takes to build a truly consumer centric supply chain, the comments enabling experts to weigh in on where the real pain points lie.

Beauty & Wellness Briefing: Discord’s beauty scene is attracting brands

From Glossy

In this piece, we learn about the rise of Discord in the beauty space. Attracting organic fan groups loyal to a particular brand, Discord is emerging as a great way for younger consumers to engage directly with a brand they appreciate. It’s gone as far as users creating their own brand dedicated spaces without brand involvement, such as the unofficial Sephora fan Discord. For insight into how the platform is used, take Gen-Z orientated acne patch brand Starface:

“[Starface] launched its official Discord server in early 2021… moderated by employees, the roughly 480-member server is used by the brand to share product launch news, answer customer questions and conduct product giveaways. In addition to skin care, it created channels for users to discuss mental health, astrology, memes and music, among other topics.”

In short: Discord emerges as an interesting opportunity for influencers sharing product knowledge, alongside organic brand fan communities. Leveraged by some brands (and ignored by others, even if the fan community exists) Discord demonstrates the power of direct engagement between brands and younger consumers.

Ukraine War Threatens to Cause a Global Food Crisis 

From New York Times

As the war in Ukraine continues, compounding already increasing prices and squeezed supply chains, this piece unpacks the potential for an increase in world hunger. There’s a lot of detail here about the various problems coming to a head. Sevendots Partner Eugenio Perrier has said:

“After decades of stability, amid the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine, the importance of pricing management is quickly becoming one of the most strategic levers to handle in the food industry. It will require a whole new set of tools that may feel unfamiliar and challenging to boards and executive teams.”

Eugenio Perrier

In short: Between the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, alongside various other factors, world hunger is on the rise. Sevendots Partner Eugenio Perrier comments that pricing management will be key to navigating this challenge.

Glossy Research: 56% of brands are investing little to nothing in offline marketing this year

From Glossy

In this piece, Glossy the outcome of their survey of 117 brands in March 2022, and found:

“Channels like TV, out-of-home marketing and events are all falling out of favor. Seventy-eight percent of brands have no current investment in TV marketing, while 11% said a small or very small portion of their marketing budget goes to the channel. Meanwhile, 57% of brands have no investment in out-of-home ads, with 28% allocating just a small or very small portion of their budget to OOH. And 22% are not investing in events, though 47% are dedicating a small portion of their budget to hosting them.”

The survey demonstrates a significant shift from re-pandemic marketing, with social channels and influencer marketing being the most important elements of many marketing strategies, as well as focusing on mid-funnel over top-of-funnel marketing efforts.

In short: Glossy and Modern Retail have conducted a survey of 117 brands, revealing a significant post-pandemic shift in priorities away from channels like TV, out-of-home marketing and events.

Cult clothing brand Pangaia branches out with a new line of superfood bars 

From Fast Company

Pangaia has delivered a whole host of unique takes on waste-reuse and innovative material use. Having redefined sustainable fashion, it was of interest to our Gen Z-led laboratory The Red Flower Factory to see the company now enter the food space:

“Pangaia’s success in fashion has a lot to do with the fact that they completely changed the assumption that sustainable fashion is boring and colorless. They literally made sustainable fashion cool. I find it incredible how they also manage to be credible with Pangaia Health. Can’t wait to try their new products!”

Beatrice Soncina

In short: Cult sustainability innovators Pangaia move into food, bringing with them an innovative approach to materials and packaging.

E-commerce is eating retail. So what are consumers eating?

From Fast Company

This piece unpacks the shift towards personalization in e-commerce (and grocery specifically). Using the power of AI, Toby Blue dissects the “hyper-personalization” required to deliver a truly tailored grocery experience.

Alongside the growing demand for immediacy, the piece introduces the concept of ‘rundles’ – recurring revenue bundles. In other words, the possibilities for retailers that emerge from the automatization of regular, everyday essentials, using AI to determine the frequency and volume required for a particular family:

Rundles will also leverage hyper-personalization, suggesting both short- and long-term subscriptions that match our buying personas to a tee… There is an unlimited reservoir of ideas for rundles across retail, but grocery provides extremely low-hanging fruit. And AI is the organizing principle that makes it all possible.

In short: AI will be integral to providing the hyper-personalized and rapid grocery experience that consumers demand.


That’s it for another month. If you’d like to receive more interesting content from us, check out our most curated knowledge with our latest Growth Series report on Big vs Small brands.

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