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The Business of Food

by Jennifer Barney


Everyone wants to target Mom
2-min read

I can’t tell you how many startups abandon their primary consumer target in order to market to moms. 
When early data shows more women with children are buying, and not people that look like their primary target, brands freak out. Consumer insights and marketing principles go out the window in favor of cute babies and families on the IG feed.
I’m here to say, stay on track. You will not broaden your target consumer until much later than you think. 
Those that came before you are proof positive of this method. Let’s look at the early targets of nutpods, Popchips and Stacy’s.
Even though nutpods appeals to all alt-dairy consumers, their early targeting was strictly to those on special diets. They hyper focused on Amazon and became the #1 non-dairy creamer on the platform. Nutpods found where their voice could be heard. Only after gaining that foothold did they expand their marketing reach to all alt-dairy consumers.
Founded when ecommerce did not yet exist, Stacy’s became a cult favorite of Boston young professionals. With nothing more than a food cart downtown and free-pita-chips-while-you-wait for marketing, by the time they entered retail they had an established loyal following. Only after being acquired by PepsiCo did the brand’s target mature along with the age of their consumer base.
(Yeah, Outside Lands has been going on for a long time.) Popchips entered the market when the low-fat craze was still strong. But instead of explaining to older women that this isn’t a rice cake from their past, they went after SF and NYC 20-year-olds who’d enthusiastically try popped technology. It wasn’t until much later did they expand their target age group to include older women.
Do the work upfront to validate insights and pick a niche that you can reach. If it’s not working, pivoting to a different niche is the solution at early stage, not widening to a larger audience.
I’m still not convinced about why not mom.
Stay tuned for next week.

All my best,
There were more new class action lawsuits filed against the food and beverage industry last year —220 cases—than in any prior year over the past decade. 

Much of 2020’s filing volume came from a number of cases challenging products flavored with vanilla – BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

Perkins Coie includes a dedicated team of lawyers focused on food industry litigation and liability.
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