COVID and Food Delivery: Paradigm Shifts in Foodservice in the Midst of the Pandemic
It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the foodservice economy, with multitudes of local restaurants struggling as diners are staying home, forcing restaurants to limit service to takeout and delivery options. As COVID-19 started to spread globally, as of early March, the OpenTable reservation system reported that year-over-year seated diners were down by 20%, and reservations obviously ground to a halt by the end of the month.
Perspectives from a Consumer Lens - Rays of Light Amongst the Storm Clouds
First and foremost, we hope everyone is safe and healthy. Given the abundance of uncertainty and ambiguity in today’s world, we thought it might be helpful to provide some perspective on sectors of the consumer economy that are doing well, relatively speaking.
Clearly there are sectors suffering mightily right now and net net, there will be winners and losers from a structural perspective once the pandemic settles down and “normalcy” (a relative term) returns.
Review of Global Pet Expo 2020
I recently attended Global Pet Expo and came away with the following thoughts and observations.
Overall, the show was slloooow. Traffic was down significantly, palpably, depending on your location on the floor, due to, not surprisingly, coronavirus fears (yes, there was some bad weather in the Midwest as well, but that was not the main issue).
What Happened to Ballast Point?
Among the hundreds of consumer product M&A headlines in Q4 2019, one corporate divestiture in particular stood out to us: Constellation Brands’ sale of Ballast Point to the virtually unheard-of Kings & Convicts Brewing Company. Was this a shift in strategy for one of the leading beer, wine, and spirits producers as it pursued the cannabis space? Had Ballast Point fallen out of favor with consumers in the four short years since Constellation acquired the super-premium brand? Who / what is Kings & Convicts Brewing Company and what will be the fate of Ballast Point?
The Evolving Fitness Frenzy
The global health club industry boomed to an estimated $94.0 billion in 2018. The U.S. alone contributed $32.3 billion to the industry. (1) The industry has been rapidly changing due to several key trends, including increased disposable income, growing health consciousness, a changing age mix, and new workout preferences. As generation Z and millennials start dominating the fitness industry, health club providers can no longer rely on the “one-size-fits-all” approach when thinking about their product or services offered. Wide-ranging fitness abilities, diverse health conditions, and heavy time constraints create demand for individualized fitness and wellness experiences. Boutique studios and home fitness solutions have risen to meet this new demand. To compete, traditional health clubs have expanded amenity offerings and even adapted some of the most successful boutique fitness concepts, like High Intensity Interval Training classes (“HIIT”), to their clubs to attract and retain customers.
DTC MODELS - Behind the Scenes Opportunities
Nike’s recent decision to part ways with Amazon is not just two titans parting ways. Nike’s move speaks to a larger phenomenon within the e-commerce ecosphere. The decision to end its wholesale relationship with Amazon was related to its desire to fully control their customer relationship, data and experience. And while Nike certainly has the resources to execute on scores of strategic initiatives, their movement also speaks to a broader trend regarding the proliferation of options online vendors have for back-end service providers.
A Board Game Revival? Examination of Rising Popularity of Tabletop Gaming Among Millennials
In an ever-increasing digital world, board games are making a surprise comeback. The board game market encompasses packaged games typically set on hard surfaces, including boards, game pieces, figurines, cards, dice, and other accessories. In 2018, Value Market Research estimated the global board games market to be approximately $4.6 billion in revenue. By 2025, this number is expected to nearly quadruple in size, to $16.3 billion, a compound annual growth rate of 20%.
Stuck in the Middle
If you have children, you may have read “One Duck Stuck” at some point, and if you did, you may recall the refrain, “no luck … still stuck” … which, in the continuum of business models and brand focus has applicability as well – namely with companies and brands along the value, mid-level, and premium continuum (or “good, better, best” continuum).
A Summary of Natural Products Expo East
MHT’s Consumer Growth team recently attended Expo East in Baltimore, MD, and despite the blistering, humid conditions outside, the interior halls of the Baltimore Convention Center were filled with the always refreshing air of entrepreneurship. We walked the aisles for two days, visiting existing relationships and establishing new relationships. As usual, Expo East was smaller and a bit more manageable than Expo West, both in terms of logistics and the sheer number of exhibitors. Further, the ‘Hemp Pavilion,’ basically a separate venue, served as a helpful micro-enterprise showcase for the rapidly growing and highly fragmented CBD/Hemp consumer product space. Here are a few general themes that MHT noticed from this year’s show, many of which were also abundant at Expo West 2019: . . .
The Never-Ending White Claw Summer
Summer might be coming to an end, but White Claw popularity seems to be heating up for Mark Anthony Brands, the maker of both White Claw and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. White Claw officials confirmed a nation-wide shortage this month. So, what exactly is causing this frenzy? Maybe people do really believe in the slogan that “there ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws” or maybe it’s the fact that the popular hard-seltzer has 5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is a mere 100 calories per can, making it an easy choice for increasingly health conscious consumers. Having positioned itself as a more refreshing, low calorie alcoholic beverage, White Claw is a significant new contender to more established alcohol brands.