Trends and Takeaways from FounderMade Consumer Discovery Show

Posted by: Stephanie Celenza in: Consumer Lifestyle - Food/Beverage -


I was in Santa Monica this October for the FounderMade Consumer Discovery Show, a showcase for some of the most innovative brands, products and leaders in food, beverage, wellness and beauty. The event draws up-and-coming brands and growing businesses in the consumer packaged goods space, and this year’s show offered fascinating trends, brands and insights.

Overarching Trends

 Indigenous foods are big. Think gấc from Southeast Asia and popped water lily seeds from India. Founders are reaching to their roots and homelands to introduce Americans to natural foods packed with health benefits. From GacLife, gấc sparkling waters offer the highest amount of all-natural antioxidant carotenoids with the lowest level of sugar and calories. With just my fingerprint, their cool reader determined my carotenoid score. A good score is 500+, and mine was in the 200 range (eeek!). Plans are to roll out this technology with super-cool vending machines, so consumers can check their levels and then make a purchase to give their bodies a boost.

CBD is in everything. CBD (cannabidiol) is making its appearance in coffee, dermal patches, personal care products and more. It’s the new norm. One of the most interesting brands was The Good Patch. Like a birth control or nicotine patch, this transdermal patch delivers key ingredients to your blood stream faster than taking something orally. Stand-outs were Be C

alm (with menthol) and Nite Nite (with melatonin), both containing CBD.

The search for happiness: Depression, anxiety and angst are at an all-time high, so people are looking for ways to better their lives and self-care, such as through meditation, nutrition, mindfulness… and mud. I drank mud! MUD/WTR is a mixture of organic, earth-grown ingredients praised for their health and performance benefits. Packed with adaptogenic mushroom compounds, each ingredient in each blend has a specific purpose to “complement a life that demands one’s best.”

Personal connection and standing for something: Consumers – especially millennials – want to feel connected to brands and founders. Brands need to be able to tell their stories so that customers can relate. At the same time, consumers are seeking mission-based companies and organizations unafraid to take a stance on something (even if it brings controversy). As always, authenticity and transparency are critical.

Marketing Insights and Takeaways

Connect online and offline. Today’s consumers respond to “human” brands that they can connect with on a personal level, and a brand that exudes confidence and passion naturally attracts a following. Find ways to reach out to consumers to tell your story. Consider putting a cross-generational team in place to help tailor your approach in reaching target audiences, whether Millennials, Gen X or Boomers.

Take a stand. Mission-based companies continue to resonate with consumers. Be deliberate about defining your mission and identify a social platform authentic to your brand. Your mission should enhance your story, not distract or detract. Consider what your customers care about, and think about how you can give back and inspire others along the way.

Tell the founder story. Every company has a unique beginning. Let your expertise, mission and journey shine through. Retailers, consumers and investors want to hear these founder stories – your inspiration and personal mission, what sets you apart and how you’ve innovated to succeed. Telling a compelling, authentic story helps forge those all-important personal connections.

Educate and serve. Customers are curious, so satiate that curiosity with engaging content that educates them about your product or service. Invest the the time and resources necessary to give them a complete picture of your brand and what it represents. Develop brand competitive advantages through exemplary customer service (consumers expect responses in less than 24 hours!), engaging content and interactive experiences. Throughout, be authentic and transparent about your story and vision.

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