Price wars, new disruptive players, changing consumption habits, personalized needs. The development of direct to consumer sales was already one of the main duties of many food firms, but with the development of the COVID crisis it has suddenly become an urgent necessity.

The flexibility of startups is imperative amid covid19

COVID has changed the way we shop and its becoming increasingly evident that this is a reality that will not be reversed. After a spike of mobility restrictions and the closings of HORECA establishments, consumers have radically changed their way of consuming. Food consumption has completely moved to consumers own homes and online sales have exploded. Unfortunately most food companies have been caught off guard due to a lack of adequate D2C development.

This situation has once again shown us how startups are more agile when it comes to developing initiatives that adapt to the needs of consumers. An example of this is Brewdog, which has recently developed an online bar for its consumers.

Another example is Impossible Foods, which has completely pivoted its strategy. It has updated its sales formats to adapt them to home consumption and has substantially increased its supermarket positioning.

There is no doubt that these companies are adapting to the situation very quickly, but what is the key to their success?

  1. ONLINE FIRST

These brands have always understood the importance of communicating online with their consumers. Online channels have been increasingly favored during the crisis, and consumers who get used to a good online offer wont budge easily.

This channel presents great opportunities, according to Shopify 40% of consumers spend more money on personalized service, and 90% of consumers would buy directly from brands if they could.

  1. CUSTOMER CENTRIC

Startups focus their strategy on understanding the tastes and demands of their consumers, updating their products continuously according to the information they collect from their online actions and consumer service. The current consumer changes their habits very quickly and is highly influenced by the different inputs that they encounter, so this information is a fundamental tool.

  1. BUILD TRUST AND CONFIDENCE

Direct communication with consumers is very important in order to build trust. Startups use forms of communication with which the consumer is comfortable with. These brands have specific missions and hold values close to them that the consumer identifies with.

These companies are an inspiration to adapt to change. Large food brands such as Mars have already opted for this type of collaboration with the acquisition of the startup Foodspring. The CEO of the young company reported that “Mars Edge wants us to thrive independently from the Mars core business.” This investment represents a great opportunity for Mars, not only as a portfolio of new products and solutions, but a way to access powerful knowledge of online marketing and technology.

During these tough times, its more important than ever that we are agile. Therefore, a strategy that food companies must take into consideration is to collaborate with disruptive startups in order to adapt as soon as possible. There is no doubt that startups have the solution these bigger brands are looking for and working with them is crucial if they want to adapt quickly and efficiently to meet new consumer demand.

From Eatable Adventures, we want to understand more about this model and what kind of opportunities it will present after this crisis. For this reason, next May 7th we will be holding a webinar on “The rise of DTC Food Startups” in which we will learn more about this model, how it has changed during COVID and how it will develop in the future.

For this we will boast a number of key guest startups such as Cortilia, the popular D2C service for direct sales that offers food from the field right to your door. We will be talking to Emna Neifar, Chief Commercial Officer of this leading startup, to discover the key to their success and how they have adapted in this era. Ivan Farneti Founding Partner of Five Seasons will also be with us, an investment fund with several companies of this type, such as YFood, which has just received an investment of 16 million in the midst of the COVID crisis.

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