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Presented by Jeremy Smith, President and Founder, Launchpad and James Ren, Senior Category Manager, Branded Food, Thrive Market Moderated by Gary Hirshberg and Bob Burke
Listen to the interview here.
Presenting one face, and the truth of the internal brand are a big part of today’s discussion. Some of the highlights include where Dave brings up, “With Costco, obviously, very limited selection compared to a grocery store which will have tens of thousands of items in it. It’s a direct ship model, there’s no distributors and they have a very small sort of 10% to 14% margin, very straightforward with vendors. So it’s a very different model. And it seems like their mantra has always been.”
Dave’s guest, Jeremy Smith, CEO of Launchpad gets right to it. “I think you ask a few vendors and no, they’ll debate you on how straightforward they really are. They like to think they are, but it’s like I always say, Costco will lay out to a broker or to a brand, all the rules, because they have all these rules you have to read. And then you go in and see the Kirkland Signature items which violate 70% of the rules. So just because it’s something as simple as a MasterCard, which is supposed to have at least an inch and a half lip on it, that’s supposed to be a strict policy and certain buyers really enforced it. But on the KS items, it’s all over the place.”
Tesla vs Porche, how is their creative process different? And what does that have to do with focus groups and getting a brand into COSTCO?
In this episode, Jeremy Smith tells us about his incredible journey from briefly working with Steve Jobs in the 80s to helping brands get into COSTCO today.
Learn from a creative professional who worked on some of the most iconic brands within the past 30 years!
Who is Jeremy Smith?
After more than 35 years in strategic sales, branding and marketing, Jeremy Smith’s senior management and graphic arts resume is a salute to the country’s most iconic brands.
Think Apple, Chobani, Krave Jerky, Bob’s Red Mill and popchips.
Prior to Launchpad, as co-founder of Level One, his relationships with buyers, marketers, strategists, venture capital firms and designers, presents enviable connections in the food industry.
Jeremy was named to Forbes and Circle Up’s 2017 Top Catalysts Dealmakers and Influencers in the Consumer Industry.
Watch the Podcast Here.
#062 Jeremy Smith, President and CEO at Launchpad advised… “You have to establish your culture day one and decide what it’s going to be, no matter what happens at the company and no matter how high the growth is.”
Jeremy also advised leaders to consider “You have to build momentum. Momentum is the hardest thing to keep going.”
Feel free to reach out to Jeremy at his contact up above, or connect on his website at www.launchpadgroupusa.com
I highly suggest you watch this entire exchange between Jeremy and ⭐️ Todd Westra 📈
Are you curious as to what it takes to launch a brand in Costco? Hear CEO Jeremy Smith of Launchpad and Drew Aversa discuss what it takes to launch a brand. You’ll learn what sets successful entrepreneurs apart, the importance of storytelling, and critical insight from someone who has launched numerous brands in the food and beverage industry.
Listen to the broadcast here.
Read on Linkedin
I’ve been distancing at my apartment in New York City, mainly ordering food from online restaurant distributors and different farm boxes until my neighborhood’s CSA starts in a few weeks, but if I had ventured out to where I grew up in suburban New Jersey, a classic off-highway Costco next to a HomeGoods and a Target would have probably been my first stop to stock up. I’ve been a fan ever since I was a kid let loose to search out all the samples, and I still have a guilty obsession with its pizza.
But it looks like many families have turned elsewhere. Monthly sales rose 12% in February as stockpiling started at the chain’s warehouses, but as it picked up at grocers like Kroger and Walmart into March, Costco reduced store hours, limited traffic coming in and also capped purchases of some nonessential items. Instacart orders picked up, but March sales were up a comparatively lower 9.6%.
The bigger shocker came earlier this month, when the publicly traded chain reported earnings, and disclosed that April was its first monthly sales drop since 2009. Most of the hit came from low gas prices, and without that, it accounts for a drop of just 0.5% for the past 12 months all together. But Placer.ai data shows foot traffic has been all over the place, and it has made me rethink a lot.
Maybe it was those early reports of fights breaking out. As any true Costco member knows, half the fun of a normal weekend visit is the long and often tense lines, and how taking a break from idling with the cart can turn into wandering through aisles and finding surprises like a value pack of mechanical toothbrush head replacements. But like the samples and the pizza, few of the joys of Costco seem to have a place in a coronavirus world.
Costco has proven itself to be a game-changing channel for hot brands like Health-Ade and Perfect Bar over the years, so where does that all stand now? I asked Jeremy Smith, the president at LaunchPad, who specializes in helping brands get distribution at Costco. “There’s no way to get into Costco right now at this point,” Smith told me. “But by mid-2021 we should be back to reestablishing the emerging brands. Consumers just don’t walk away.”
Pointing to the mortgage crisis and recession, when Costco outperformed most retailers, Smith says he is optimistic sales will improve at the chain long-term: “It’s a choppy environment. As long as people are not confident that they can walk into any retailer and not worry about infection, you’re going to have sales to the negative side, but at Costco the volume is so high that there’s potential even with fewer members walking into the buildings.”
Until next week! In the meantime, I’d love to hear more about new kinds of restaurant delivery models, what it’s like to develop a new food or drink right now, and quarantine-approved Memorial Day recipes. And, by the way, I’m now doing a weekly Live show on the Forbes Instagram account. Tune in on Wednesdays.
— Chloe Sorvino, Staff Writer, Forbes
Youtube = https://youtu.be/8isVEfs7MvI
Listen to the Podcast Here
Jeremy Smith, founder of LaunchPad Group USA has impacted iconic brands such as Apple, Chobani, Bob’s Red Mills, Urban Remedy and Kumana. This episode has prime examples of how Jeremy has worked with these company’s and how these companies went to the next level.
A lot of great takeaways for food entrepreneurs and marketers including how to recognize superflourous trends versus trends that stick, with also amazing advice on how to make your brand everlasting. You’ll get so many great examples from iconic brands in this episode that will blow you away.
Jeremy is not shy to say what’s on his mind, but he backs it up with some pretty compelling feats. If you’re a starting brand or even an experienced product developer, you’ll learn something from this episode that might help you on your next project.
I’m happy to introduce our newest sponsor: Salt of the Earth and their new ingredient, Mediterranean Umami, an all-natural and clean-label flavor enhancer and sodium reduction ingredient that works amazingly on meats, veggie-meats, soups and sauces and ready-meals. My friend, David gave me a bottle and I use it on my pasta sauces, or rice porridge to give it the satisfying umami depth I crave. Find the 2017 IFT Innovation Award Winner at IFT19 at booth number 2112 where they will be showcasing fresh food prepared with Mediterranean Umami. If you’re interested now, feel free to email them at email@example.com
Food Startups Podcast
What do you do for a living?: We turn an entrepreneur’s visions into reality.
How did you start launchpad?: I started in the brokerage business. I used to work with Steve Jobs in designing projects with him.
Level 1 Marketing
Food Brokers: Either strategic people or powerpoint pushers. A Brokerage’s job is supposed to be to set up a movement
Eric Ree at Market Brand and DAB
Steve Jobs: He looked at every experience and improved on it
How do you get people to take you seriously?: You have to develop a sense of fearlessness (it took me 30 years). It’s a two-way street though. Companies must also accept negative feedback well
Paul Clement at Urban Remedy
Ultra Fresh – 3 to 5 day shelf-life
How do you convince grocery stores to take a risk on you?: We would find a region that has a heavy concentration of buyers. You have to convince them that you have to be crazy enough to believe in them. What helps is to convince the grocer that people are not going to X store because they re buying the product from Y store.
Some groceries have different ways of buying
Do you have any advice on starting a food business?: Lots of people are going to tell you no. But you have to believe more than anyone.
Ray Kroc: His determination outweighed the doubt from everyone.
Great ideas fail, bad ideas succeed and visa versa
LinkedIn: Jeremy Smith
NOSH Live Winter 2018 Livestream Studio: Jeremy Smith, Founder, Launchpad
Click here to view
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp.’s chocolate-dipped, slightly salty Kirkland Signature Nut Bars became a hit at its stores earlier this year.
Unfortunately for Kind LLC, that meant its own best-selling, chocolate-dipped, slightly salty Kind Bars now faced cheaper competition on Costco’s shelves.
Kirkland Signature, Costco’s store brand, is challenging manufacturers hoping to earn or retain a coveted spot at the warehouse retailer. Since 1995, Costco has used its Kirkland products to attract shoppers, building a reputation for quality and low prices on milk, toilet paper, men’s shirts and golf balls bearing the unassuming red logo. About a quarter of Costco’s $118.7 billion in annual sales come from Kirkland Signature products, and the percentage is growing, company executives say.
LaunchPad Inc. founder Jeremy Smith, who works with food brands seeking Costco shelf space, tells clients: “Assume a ‘KS’ version of your product will come into the market.” When that happens, he said, savvy manufacturers offer Costco new versions of their product, tweak packaging to highlight what’s better about their brand or spend more on marketing — all costs Costco doesn’t incur with Kirkland.
At Costco, negotiating for a spot in stores is a complex dance. Brands fight for space at the retailer’s cavernous warehouses, which on average carry only 3,800 products. The typical supercenter sells over 100,000. Adding to the pressure, Costco often introduces a new Kirkland product when its buyers or executives believe a brand isn’t selling at the lowest possible price.
Today, Costco’s nut aisle is almost entirely made up of Kirkland Signature products, including single-serving packages sold in boxes of 30, bags of almonds and nut clusters. Over a decade ago, what was formerly called Kraft Foods lost spots for its Back to Nature fruit-and-nut mix single-serving packages and several varieties of Planters nuts, said a person familiar with the change.
Leading up to the Kirkland introductions, Kraft raised the price on several nut products without showing the direct justification Costco demands, like an increase in nut prices, and declined Costco’s offer to make Kirkland products, the person said. Since then only a handful of Planters products have been sold at Costco, currently two varieties in some stores and on Costco.com. Because of Costco’s size, the retailer can sometimes buy commodities like nuts at lower prices than consumer-goods companies.
A spokesman for Kraft Heinz Co. declined to comment.
The pressure manufactures face from private brands is set to increase.
Building successful store brands is a priority at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. as they battle to boost margins and attract shoppers. After Amazon acquired Whole Foods, it quickly added the grocer’s store brand, 365, to its online food offerings. Wal-Mart and its warehouse chain, Sam’s Club, are reworking and adding to their store brands.
Though Costco’s stock price has suffered amid investor fears that its e-commerce operations aren’t ready to go head-to-head with Amazon, the retailer has kept sales growing, in part by using Kirkland to pressure manufacturers to lower prices and bring products to shelves that can’t be purchased elsewhere.
“If you have something unique, it’s un-Amazonable,” said Simeon Gutman, a retail analyst at Morgan Stanley.
Still, Costco doesn’t aim to become a store that only sells Kirkland products, said Costco finance chief Richard Galanti. Shoppers expect to find brands they know at Costco, and Kirkland looks like a better value next to a higher priced branded version, he said. Often Costco collaborates with brands on products, like its Starbucks-roasted Kirkland coffee beans.
If a Kirkland product doesn’t sell well, it doesn’t stay on shelves, Mr. Galanti said. “We try to be agnostic on it. We try it like any other brand.” In the past, Costco has pulled the plug on store-brand cosmetics, soda and toothpaste.
Some ideas never even hit the aisles, like Kirkland women’s jeans. “Never say never on anything,” said Mr. Galanti, but “the feeling was it wouldn’t work.”
When considering a new store-brand offering, Costco looks for products that are top sellers and can be sold for at least 20% less than branded versions without eroding profit or quality. Kirkland gives Costco “leverage over brand manufacturers” and a product the “competition can’t get,” said Mr. Galanti. Costco is generally careful to make its products slightly different than branded versions.
Buyers at Costco, who spend years at the company before getting the job, “play fair ball, but hard ball” with suppliers, said a food-company executive who has worked to get goods on Costco’s shelves. Before developing a Kirkland product, Costco usually gives a brand-name supplier the chance to make the Kirkland version, too, say company executives.
For years Costco asked Procter & Gamble Co. and Kimberly-Clark Corp., makers of Pampers and Huggies, respectively, to develop a Kirkland premium diaper, said Mr. Galanti. Kimberly-Clark agreed, he said. Costco started selling Kirkland diapers in 2005 and now Huggies are the only branded version sold on Costco shelves.
“We have been pretty adamant across our lines that we don’t manufacture private labels,” said a spokesman for P&G. Kimberly-Clark declined to comment.
Brands often find ways to coexist with Kirkland. About three years ago, Costco buyers calculated that a Kirkland bar similar to a Kind Bar would be 30% cheaper, mostly by cutting marketing costs, said Tess Wilkins, a general merchandise manager at Costco.
Kind Bars sold for about $18 for a pack of 18. “It was a very, very good item for us, and to walk away from those sales, you really have to think hard,” she said.
When almond prices dropped in 2016, Costco decided to proceed, Ms. Wilkins said. Over about five months, Costco developed the Kirkland Signature Nut Bars, made by Leclerc Foods USA, which is owned by Leclerc Group, a Canadian manufacturer, and now sells a 30-pack for $17 in stores.
Kind Bars are still carried at Costco, though mostly new varieties, including fruit bars, mini nut bars and a peanut-free bar. “We look forward to continuing to grow with them,” a Kind spokeswoman said.
Write to Sarah Nassauer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen Here for the full Podcast.
Jeremy Smith is back. If you haven’t heard the first interview, listen here.
There is trouble brewing in the food broker space. Whole Foods sales are down. The market has changed dramatically.
Based on listener response to the first episode and Jeremy’s intuition, we continued the conversation on Costco, brokers, and how to adapt to the evolving food space:
This week’s guest: Jeremy Smith from Launchpad. Once a week we broadcast open office hours to address questions that you have regarding cannabis startups. Every week, we gather questions from the community here on Facebook, and via Twitter or Instagram @gtwyinc. Just use the hashtag #GatewayOH and we’ll give you a shout-out if we select your question.
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Written by Matt Aaron / April 13th, 2017
Jeremy Smith is fed up with the food brokerage industry. There are a shortage of great food brokers. And grocery buyers have noticed. That’s why he is back in the game.
He previously sold his food brokerage, Level One, and is back with an innovative Food Brokerage and Consultancy: LaunchPad.
Over his career in food, design and advertising, Jeremy has worked with iconic brands.
Think Chobani, Apple, 5-Hour Energy, popchips, EVOL Foods, Promax, Pure Foods, Krave Jerky and Bob’s Red Mill.
His relationships with buyers and marketers, strategists and designers presents enviable connections in the food industry. Jeremy sheds all kind of golden advice:
LaunchPad Lifts Off to Help Emerging Food Brands Win at Retail
SAN RAMON, Calif., January 19, 2017
Brand strategy and representation firm set to fuel sales and distribution for tomorrow’s leading food and beverage brands. Just in time for the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show, brand consulting firm and Costco Broker LaunchPad is opening its doors to food and beverage companies looking to build their brands, grow sales nationwide, and grab the attention of consumers and retailers.
LaunchPad is a new full-service business representation agency focused on market entry and long-term success for emerging food brands. Specializing in delivering strong sales performance at Club Retailers, LaunchPad offers brand strategy, package design and logistics expertise for tomorrow’s leading food brands.
LaunchPad founder and chief executive officer Jeremy Smith brings strong industry experience to his latest venture. As co-founder and chief operating officer at Level One Marketing, Smith nurtured sales and distribution growth for established brands like Bob’s Red Mill and early-stage challengers like Chobani Greek Yogurt, EVOL Foods, Promax Protein Bars and Hope Hummus. He is also currently an advisor to the investment firm VO2 Partners, which specializes in companies in the active & healthy living sector.
LaunchPad has partnered with MarketBrand, an award-winning Creative Strategy and Design firm led, for package design consulting. MarketBrand principals Eric and Deb Read’s decades of food industry experience include developing market entry strategies and impactful packaging for upstart brands like Red’s Burritos, Pure Foods, Promax, Padma’s Easy Exotic, Azuma Foods, Snack to Basics and organicgirl.
“There can’t be progress without questioning the ways things are done, which is why LaunchPad will be like nothing else in the food industry – an anti-agency, a rebel with a cause,” said Smith. ”Our deep business strategy mindset, vision and passion make us the perfect partner for entrepreneurs who approach business with the disruptive mindset of a technology startup.”
Smith continued: “The rise of shrewd retail buyers and savvy consumers means that the old rules of brand building no longer apply. Sadly, the traditional brokerage networks have not grown with changes in the industry and still offer the same old plug-and-play solutions. Their clients are missing out on a big opportunity.
“New businesses that can engineer the right combination of product and execution will have as much clout with retailers as the big CPG brands. The future of the food industry belongs to the dreamers, doers, troublemakers, disruptors and mavericks who are willing to break industry norms to make things happen. LaunchPad will help them think differently, win at retail, and attain sustainable success.”
LaunchPad is available to meet at the upcoming 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, January 22-25. Please call (925) 329-6425 x100 or email mailto:email@example.com for an appointment or more information.
LaunchPad is the food and beverage industry’s only full service business strategy representation and branding agency focused on market entry and long-term success for emerging food brands. We are experts on the retail environment, packaging, manufacturing and distribution, with a highly specialized focus on the Club Market. We collaborate with dreamers, troublemakers, disruptors and mavericks to break the rules and accomplish the impossible. We promise to guide you, inspire you and never BS you.
LaunchPad® and the LaunchPad logo® are among the trademarks of LaunchPad Group USA LLC. Other trademarks belong to their respective owners. LaunchPad reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for errors that may appear in this document. ©2017 LaunchPad Group USA LLC. All rights reserved.
Press Contact: Shawn Roberts
On first glance, club retailers might not look like a good sales environment for younger food and beverage brands.
You may have an image of remote cinderblock warehouses, pallets stacked high with mainstream brands, or buyers that don’t want to work with smaller brands.
But take a closer look: and you’ll see enormous potential. Club members’ have an extremely high average household income and are almost always families buying in bulk.