Venues around the world are being postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. In early March the Natural Products Expo West was cancelled in Anaheim, CA – a show that in 2018 had over 3500 exhibiting companies and 85,000 attendees. Many emerging brands rely on such trade shows to sell their product to retailers, and the loss of these outlets has turned brand-owners to creative measures such as YouTube videos, social media channels and e-commerce to try and reach the consumer without the help of retailers.
A Food Navigator USA article “Emerging brands go direct-to-consumer as retailers pause demos, resets amid coronavirus” says “Still smarting from the sting of pivotal trade shows cancelling due to the coronavirus, many natural and better-for-you brands are pivoting to deliver their message of healthy eating straight to shoppers rather than relying on retailers to communicate their benefits to consumers.”
The article discusses emerging brands that are utilizing social media outlets like Instagram, or e-commerce outlets like Imperfect Produce to connect with customers and build brand awareness. Other companies are supporting first responders and those who have been hit by the coronavirus either through illness or economic loss, by donating product to hospitals and food banks in their areas. (To read the article, click here.)
In another report on Bloomberg.com, high-end food brands who typically supply restaurants are also changing their model and selling direct to the public via e-commerce venues such as Chef’s Warehouse – a site that until recently only 1% of sales had been to the public. Some companies are even selling direct from the warehouse, and plan to continue the consumer model even after things have settled down. (Read the article “Home Cooks Are Grabbing Discount Wagyu, Uni, and Caviar” here.)