Research by Amrit Richmond / CMYK Ventures
www.cmyk.vc / @cmykvc / email@example.com
A new class of brands… commands
a new kind of agency… to reach a
new generation of consumers.
CMYK is a marketing agency and community for
consumer brands, startups, and investors.
Over the last year at CMYK, we’ve been researching natural,
organic, and emerging CPGs, new consumer services, and related
opportunities, challenges, distribution, investors, and trends.
We’re excited to share this research with you to inspire your future
products, partnerships, investments, or content.
Let us know if any ideas or collaborations come to mind, and if you
know a consumer brand or trend that might not be on our radar.
CPG x Technology
Production & Retail
Robots, AI, 3D printing, and
connected sensors are helping
CPGs save time and money on
manufacturing, and beacons are
helping retailers collect data.
There are new tools to help CPGs
with everything from designing a
prototype, logo and packaging, to
collaborating on marketing and
While 88% of transactions still
happen offline, consumers are
increasingly buying goods online
and on mobile. Brands need to
adapt in order to stay relevant.
Brands that are winning the hearts
of millennials are leveraging
Instagram, Snap, YouTube,
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and
emerging tech in creative ways.
Shipping & Delivery
Startups are creating new shipping
and logistics tools, inventory
sensors, on-demand apps, and
delivery services to get your goods
to consumers in a timely fashion.
Millennial consumers are more
likely to buy a product they
discover on social media and
YouTube than a magazine
advertisement or editorial.
Opportunities for CPGs
Voice Commerce & Integrations
Amazon Echo and Google Home will open
new doors for consumers to buy monthly
essentials and gifts, discover recipes and
content, keep a shopping list, and find new
ways to use products they already own.
eCommerce Technology is Improving
Once a consumer visits your site, there’s no
excuse for a bad customer experience with all
the new tools available for analytics, search,
inventory, cart abandonment, targeted emails,
New Distribution Channels
While retail is still a solid strategy, there are
numerous startups, subscription boxes, and
delivery services creating viable distribution
channels for food, beverage, beauty, and
apparel brands to reach new audiences.
Partner with Like-minded Brands
Every emerging CPG brand has something to
offer through non-transactional partnerships,
such as collaborating on a giveaway, social
media cross-promotion, or integrating each
other’s products into digital content.
Direct to Consumer
Many new CPGs start by selling direct to their
customers, eliminating a retail markup.
Important to note, D2C doesn’t mean online
only, just that the brand is (usually) only
available to purchase via its owned channels.
Start Online, Then Go Offline
Birchbox, Bonobos, and Allbirds launched
their own retail stores after building up loyal
customer bases online. Away and Casper
have experimented with pop-up stores, either
their own, or collaborating with other brands.
Brands like Harry’s, Bevel, BaubleBar, Casper,
Shoes of Prey, and Brit + Co have featured
their products or special collaborations in retail
stores like Target, West Elm, and Nordstrom.
Community Driven Products
Glossier, makers of popular beauty products,
started as a beauty and lifestyle blog. The
company now develops new beauty products
based on blog insights and customer feedback.
Challenges Facing Small CPGs
Acquiring a new customer online can be time
consuming and expensive, both for direct to
consumer brands, and legacy brands and
retailers launching eCommerce destinations
and mobile apps for the first time.
Finding & Choosing Business Vendors
Selecting vendors to help set the foundation
for your business, brand, website, and supply
chain can take weeks, sometimes months.
Ask your network and investors for vendor
and agency recommendations.
Capital to Launch, Grow & Thrive
CPG startups are constantly oscillating
between building the brand, team, and
demand, and ensuring there’s enough runway
to meet that demand. There’s room in the
industry for new investors and capital sources.
Building Consumer Trust
With any new brand, it’s challenging to get
consumers to taste, try, and trust a product.
It’s even harder when consumers can’t see a
product before they buy it. New CPGs have to
get creative with try-on and sample programs.
Natural and organic shoppers are willing to
pay a little more for your high quality products,
but cost is still a factor. Consider what your
target customer buys each month and how
your product fits into their spending habits.
Trust & Quality
When trying a new product, consumers may
consider your ingredients, brand integrity,
packaging design, and quality of food or
materials. Be transparent as possible to stand
out amongst your corporate competition.
It’s easier to change what a consumer buys
versus how they buy a product. Consumers
don’t want to jump through hoops to get their
favorite lipstick, so make your goods easy to
purchase across web, mobile, and/or retail.
While subscriptions offer convenience,
ordering essentials from multiple websites is a
pain point. With the exception of vitamins, a
consumer may need longer than one month to
replace your product with a new batch.
Capital & Crowdfunding
Venture capital funds, platforms, and programs investing in consumer goods and services.
Venture Capital Capital Marketplaces,
Lending & Crowdfunding
Corporate Innovation & Investing
Food, beauty, personal care, and retail corporations are investing in the next generation.
301 Inc supports emerging food
brands through a direct equity
investment and the skills and
capabilities of General Mills.
Grace Beauty operates a fund to
invest in the next generation of beauty,
personal care, and fashion brands.
Campbell's operates Acre Venture
Partners to invest in the future of food
Walmart’s Store No 8 is an innovation
center for uncovering, inventing and
investing in the future of commerce.
The Unilever Foundry is a platform for
startups and innovators to engage,
collaborate & explore business ideas.
LVMH Luxury Ventures aims to work
with early-stage luxury brands that
have high-growth potential and
compelling business models.
Tyson New Ventures seeks to invest in
food and agriculture startups, with a
focus on food production, distribution,
nutrition, food waste, and safety.
Eighteen94 Capital is Kellogg's
venture arm, aiming to fund startups
developing new packaging,
ingredients, products, and technology.
Next Gen Consumer
Access > Ownership
Subscriptions > Drugstore
Lyft > Leasing a Car
Travel > Buying a House
Purposeful Work > 9 to 5 Job
Pets > Kids
iPhone for Work, Play & All Day
Social Media > Newspapers
Cord Cutting > Cable TV
Instagram > Fashion Magazines
Spotify & Podcasts > CDs & Radio
New Class of Brands
Digital From Day One
Direct to Consumer Sales
Strategic Retail Placement
Paired w/ an App or Hardware
Engage > Control
Partnerships = Growth
Natural or Organic
Purpose x Profit
Small Budget, Big Impact
Product Discovery Goes Digital
Magazine & Newspaper Ads
TV – Ads & Product Placement
Morning & Evening News
QVC & HSN
Radio – Ads & Features
Walking Around the Mall
Trying New Products at the Grocery Store
Trying New Products at the Beauty Counter
Personal Shopper Services
Word of Mouth
Product Features in Blogs & Newsletters
Social Ads (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)
Digital Influencer Endorsements
Ads & Products in Original Video Series
Short, Live Videos on Social Media
Digital-first Daily New Shows
Short Cooking Videos on Social Media
Daily Deals & Luxury Flash Sales
Online Banner Ads & Search Results
Curated Commerce – Web & Mobile
Meal Delivery Kits
Curated Subscription Boxes
Curated Wardrobe Boxes
Word of Mouth (Through Social Media)
The New Marketing Stack
The game has changed for how CPGs advertise, and acquire and interact with customers.
Social Media Email & Collaboration Data & Insights Mobile & Integrations
Web Video Marketing & Ads Retail Restaurants & POS
Referrals & Contests Influencer Management eCommerce & Payments Out of Home
New Sales Channels
Partner opportunities for consumer brands to increase revenue and brand awareness.
Natural & Organic D2C Curated Commerce Direct to Offices
Curated RetailSubscription BoxesCommunities
Meal & Grocery Delivery.
Meal kits are an ideal partner for non-perishable products and condiment brands.
Meal Delivery Kits Ready to Eat or Cook CSAs & Fresh Groceries
Cafes & Fast Casual Restaurants
Big chains and emerging restaurants offer numerous partner opportunities for food and lifestyle brands.
Big Chains Next Generation Food Service
Social Media Communication Health & Wellness Fitness Live / Work Space
Travel Transportation Fashion Beauty & Hair Telecom
Entertainment Music Home Finance Kids & Family
Consumer Tech & Services
Partner with emerging and established startups on content, giveaways, and cross-promotion.
Food & Beverages
dairy, protein, fruit &
Babies & Kids
services to help
parents raise happy
and healthy kids.
Products for the
home, across the
Health & Wellness
boosters, and self
Food, toys, gadgets,
and services for
raising healthy dogs
and services to
make life a little
easier for new
Food, supplement, and beauty brands are experimenting with these healthy and trendy ingredients.
Brands are using
coconut for flavor,
moisture, and as a
sugar alternative in
food and beauty.
Skin, hair, and
are using avocado
oil for flavor and
Lentils are being
gluten free pasta
From lemonade to
peel off face masks,
charcoal is the go-to
ingredient right now.
This little seed is
trending in yogurt
cups, baked goods,
Nuts, peas, and
seeds are being
turned into milk,
yogurt, cheese, and
Cricket, Kale, Maca,
Algae, Beet, CBD,
This ancient grain
can now be found in
cereals, meal kits,
snack bars, and
Grab & Go Beverages Cooking & Meal Starters
Beverages Snacks & Food Personal Care
Wellpath sells custom protein
powder mixes and vitamin
regimens as a monthly
subscription. Customers complete
a five minute consultation online
to see their personalized
Care/of sells supplements based
on a customer’s health goals and
diet, shipped monthly via a
subscription. Each day is pre
packed into a grab and go pouch
with the customer’s name on it.
Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty sells custom
haircare based on a customer’s
hair type, goals and preferences.
Each bottle includes your name
on it, and bottles aren’t filled until
each unique order is placed.
Direct to Consumer
Bundle & Save
The Honest Company, Thrive
Market, and Grove Collaborative
all offer incentives for consumers
to purchase multiple products
online at the same time, and
sometimes these bundles are
offered as a monthly subscription.
Brands like Ritual (women’s
vitamins) and LOLA (organic
tampons), both sell their products
direct to consumer through a
monthly subscription. Amazon
also offers subscription options
for single items on its site.
Glossier, makers of popular
beauty products, started as a
beauty and lifestyle blog called
Into the Gloss. The company now
develops new beauty products
based on a combination of blog
insights and customer feedback.
D2C Brands Expand Offline
Beauty retailer Birchbox launched
its first store location in New York,
complete with a nail bar. The
beauty retailer will open a second
store in Paris in spring 2017.
Visit a Bonobos Guideshop to find
your perfect fit, and receive
complimentary style assistance
along the way.
Direct to consumer shoe brand
Allbirds opened its first pop-up
store in San Francisco in 2017.
Retailers are partnering with startups and brands on exclusives, collaborations, and shop-in-shops.
Target Nordstrom Bloomingdale’s
Tech Enabled Shopping
Spring allows consumers to shop
from 1,500+ emerging and
established brands in their mobile
app. Some compare Spring to the
experience of shopping in a
Shoptiques invites consumers to
shop from dozens of local
boutiques through their website.
For small retail stores, Shoptiques
manages their eCommerce
After a customer completes a
style quiz, Stitch Fix mails five
clothing and accessories pieces,
curated by both human stylists
and algorithms. Customers only
pays for the items they keep, and
ship the rest back to Stitch Fix.
Food Vending Machines
Byte Foods and Souvenear both feature products made by third-party brands.
Byte Foods provides vending
machine-like fridges to offices,
and stocks them with healthy grab
& go snacks, meals, and
beverages. Byte automatically
knows what was purchased and
Farmer’s Fridge is a fresh food
vending machine offering
breakfast, salads, side dishes,
snacks, and beverages. You can
find their machines in airports and
hospitals around Chicago.
Souvenear curates vending
machines in airports with
non-perishable food and snacks
made by local artists and
entrepreneurs. You can find their
machines in Oakland, San
Francisco, and Kansas City.
Retail Store Design
Urban Outfitters and
Anthropologie have expanded
their beauty departments to sell
makeup, skincare, and body
products by independent brands.
Lululemon and Alo Yoga have
coffee shops, and sometimes
lounges, inside their stores for
customers to buy lattes and relax
while they shop.
Beacons & Sensors
Beacons and new technologies
allow retailers to collect data
about the number of walk-in
customers, what they tried on,
how long they stay, and how often
they return to the store.