“Every year, 16,000 food and drink brands emerge into the UK market and yet, 90% of them don’t make it past their first year of trading.”
What is Bread and Jam Festival?
Bread and Jam is the UK’s first food founders festival; it brings together innovators, investors, start-ups and industry professionals for two days of talks, bootcamps, pitch opportunities and more. If you’re a newbie food brand in the UK, it’s the place to be.
Why did we attend?
In short, we wanted a slice of all those tasty marketing insights! We have a strong interest in the food and drink sector (as well as a lot of *cough* award-winning *cough* expertise), so meeting start-ups and hearing from industry leaders on trends, strategy and helping elevate brands in one of the most competitive sectors, is right up our street. Learning from other experts, considering new approaches and finding out what makes some great brands tick is also really exciting as it helps feed the creative ideation sessions we run in-house to fuel our campaigns for clients.
Beth (Social Media Whizz) and Rebecca (Account Manager Extraordinaire) swapped the rolling hills of Yorkshire for the Big Smoke to keep us at the forefront of foodie marketing.
We were thrilled to attend several sessions, some more lecture-based and others a little more practical and hands on.
Brands - size, shape, intention and action:
Mark Shayler from Ape gave a really insightful talk on how brands can change their reputations. Whether that’s big brands wanting to act a little smaller, or vice versa. He used the example of how Lucozade challenged the ‘hospital’ and medicinal reputation it had built up over the years, and became a leader for health and energy instead.
“Good is the new cool.” - Doing and being good is important. Mark said:
“65 percent said they would not buy a brand because it stayed silent on an issue it had an obligation to address.”
This is particularly interesting point for us. With many social, content and PR clients, being part of the conversation is something we champion and help manage for our clients. Consumers are expecting more than ever from their brands - they want to see engagement in important issues.
Sustainability is here to stay:
We also attended a panel on ‘The Rise of the Sustainable Shopper’ which featured The Soil Association, Coco Fina, Borough Broth Co and Pip Organic.
Echoing Mark Shayler’s points about focusing on issues that matter to consumers, this panel reflected the increasing trend and demand for sustainability in production, manufacture and packaging within the food and drink industry. A lesson to all start-ups was to consider their approach to sustainability as it was increasingly going to be put under the microscope - especially when pitching to retailers. There are certain legal requirements now too which must be considered - including making sure a proportion of packaging put into the market is duly recovered/recycled.
Does my product look big in this?
We all love some fancy packaging and while we like to think we’re all better than judging a book by its cover, the talks at Bread and Jam suggested a lot of consumers are still pretty wrapped up in what something looks like.
“80% said colour differences would stop them from buying.”
Make social media your brand’s money-spinner:
Social media is a vital tool in your sales funnel nowadays, we would say that you’re probably thinking, but it was confirmed by some captains of industry at Bread and Jam too. So what do we need to consider when trying to sell our brands and products on social media?
Social media for your brand should:
Provide your consumers with information that naturally helps them move down your sales funnel (pay attention to how they behave online).
Help build connections - focus on building up your brand advocates from the beginning.
Make them care! You need to be providing a solution to their problem.
This was a great section for us, mostly because it reinforced our existing approach with our own clients, food and drink or otherwise. We know it works too, because since we attended Bread and Jam, we brought home the Best Strategic Use of Social Media from the Social Media and Communications Awards!
The power of a great image:
While we’re all geared up for amazing imagery and motion here at Extreme, it was wonderful to see how Bread and Jam supported start-ups with smaller budgets that may not allow for professional photography. This hands on session showcased how to get the most of your products even if all you have is a phone for photography.
The Neverending Plant Trend:
Last, but by no means least was an expert look at the plant-based trends that are here to stay. How does the vegan and plant-based market keep reinventing itself to stay on top? Consumers are very focused on options, choice and a flexible diet has grown in popularity over the last few years.
Mintel research revealed that in 2018, the UK was the nation with the highest number of new vegan food products launched.
Speakers for this section included Jason Gibb, Bread and Jam Founder and representatives from BOl Foods, Oatly and Sainsbury’s. So, what do these guys think about the future of plant-based goodies? It seems consumer demand isn’t in decline, but it is evolving. Motivations for consumer decisions still include health and great taste, but are increasingly leaning towards value.
One of the biggest challenges for food and drink brands as we move into 2020 will be seeking ways to make value prevalent for plant-based offerings. While there’s more choice than ever in this sector, it also seems that consumers feel this trend is one that remains exclusive and one which carries a significant cost. Consumers want the option of a flexible diet, without a weightier price tag. This poses the question as to whether we can expect a rise in more vegan ‘junk-food’ or if simply, it is the turn of retailers to seek ways to reduce the premium placed on these products.
The panel tackled the topic of ‘what else is new in plant-based?’, too. So, it seems innovation is key. The still fairly embryonic plant-based market is already saturated with burgers, what retailers really want is what consumers are asking for - plant-based snacks such as cookies, treats and of course, the elusive cheese alternative!
We loved this panel. We already work within the plant-based sector and we’re excited to look at how it evolves into the next year. We’ll certainly be bringing some of this discussion back to our internal idea sessions.
Full to the brim
We loved seeing how the festival reinforced the importance of being aware of what matters to customers, what they are interested in, searching for and expecting. In the food and drink industry, this could be a focus on organic processes, how brands work towards more recyclable packaging or trends such as plant-based goods. In focusing on customer need, the festival reminded those brands in attendance to do the same and give these topics appropriate attention if they hope to succeed.
So, what we did get from our little sojourn to Bread and Jam? One of our biggest takeaways was that we’re already implementing a lot of the advice being dished out to foodie brands, with our own clients - which is always good to know! However, we know there’s no such thing as knowing it all in such fast-paced sectors such as marketing and food and drink and we’re excited to build on our successes with the information from some of these panels.
Fancy a good ol' chat about the values of marketing to your business?
Amy joined in 2014 to set up our PR department. She now heads up a growing PR and Content team, utilising over 13 years’ experience to deliver brand awareness through targeted, multi-channel copy. As well as engaging content for websites and blogs, Amy delivers PR strategies and tone of voice exploration, helping clients to communicate the purpose and values of their brand with maximum impact.