Share This Article

Breakout Premium Brands: Early-Stage Food Disruption in Action

skate boarderIn 2013, we wrote about the emergence of a unique growth curve in the packaged food and beverage sector. We call it the Skate Ramp (see figure). It is sneaky. It requires patience and persistence. But it works in the end. It was the Skate Ramp that launched Chobani to stardom as many in the industry sat back and wondered: How could no one have seen this coming? The answer is simple: Because, back in 2006, CPG companies weren’t looking at the growth dynamics of early-stage food companies selling below $25M. They left this to Venture Capital (VC)/Private Equity (PE) firms. 

Why? There are two basic reasons: 

  • The gold standard launch model for packaged food and beverage companies orients to a swift, high ACV market share grab-and-hold, whether large or small. The focus is on attaining large Y1 revenues through line extensions and then sustaining stable velocities that maintain shelf presence with customers. It is a model designed for incremental innovations easily copied by a competitor. In this model, a plateau or a mildly inclining slope (i.e., low-single-digit %) are considered successful. The emphasis is on scale, not growth.
  • Exponential growth from low initial scale requires a level of sneakiness and patience inimical to the core management culture of most major CPG firms.

skate board ramp graph

We believe that the entrenched, brand-driven, go-to-market launch model just described has lulled the industry into complacency in the face of the continuing threat of product-driven, early-stage companies sneaking up on the market via the Skate Ramp. 

This white paper highlights several breakout premium brands that demonstrated in 2014 that they are now riding the Skate Ramp and should be closely watched. 

Download this free white paper to see what is driving brands like Noosa, Nature’s Bakery, Eat Well Embrace Life and Theo to new heights in performance and growth.


Consumer Package Goods Private Label and National Brands Trends Point Of View


As leaders in the study of American food culture, The Hartman Group has been tracking how Americans shop for food since the 1990s. From one-stop shopping to multichannel shopping to online markets and click-and-collect, we continue to track consumers’ evolving perceptions, needs, habits and relationships with food retailers. New to the 2017 report is a special section on the expansion of the discount grocery channel, the emerging fresh-format channel and smaller-footprint retail formats.


hartbeat subscribe