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.
The World’s First Molecular Coffee . . . Coming Soon!
This weekend I finally gave in and decided to forgo my typical 2% whole milk and instead try the lactose-free brand at Trader Joes. It made me wonder what the next big product of the food tech industry will be? Apparently, the answer is coffee with no coffee beans. Atomo Coffee, if successful, will be the first molecular coffee in the world. The coffee is expected to hit the market as early as next year.
My Summary of SuperZoo, the National Show for Pet Retailers
I attended SuperZoo in Vegas last week and came away with the following notes and thoughts:
- There seemed to be a slight decrease in traffic from last year’s show. Additionally, there were a few notable absences of larger companies that have traditionally exhibited. The latter is probably symptomatic of the situation facing many consumer tradeshows – retailers are dwindling, certain shows are increasingly less about writing orders and more about efficiently meeting and catching up with valued relationships, and in certain cases, demonstrating to retailers “we’re still here!” The return on investment from buying a booth versus spending a comparable amount on SEO, etc., is increasingly more difficult to calculate.
- Continued . . .
Ghost Kitchens . . . Are Dine-in Restaurants Becoming a Thing of the Past?
What if I told you that your favorite late-night delivery restaurant didn’t really exist, except for its online presence? With the evolution of food delivery that is currently underway, the $863 billion(1) (2019 U.S. projected sales) restaurant industry is changing so rapidly that the concept of dine-in restaurants might become a thing of the past, largely due to the consumer-driven migration to “Ghost” or “Dark Kitchens” that exist solely to be suppliers to delivery service platforms, such as UberEats.