While Campbell Soup’s abortive move into the K-Cup category might suggest that consumers don’t want to use their coffee machines to make savory products, LonoLife’s success would indicate otherwise, national sales director Brian Hoppe told FoodNavigator-USA.
“Campbell’s just put their regular chicken soup in a K-Cup and charged three times the amount for the same product. Just like Keurig Kold [axed last summer] where you're paying almost $400 for a machine and then they charge you a dollar for putting regular Coke in a K-Cup [when you can buy it in store for a fraction of that amount].
"We’ve created a new high-quality grass-fed [spray-dried] product and put it in a more convenient format at a more competitive price, and we’re growing incredibly fast. We’re the top-selling bone broth brand on Amazon, and we expect to be in around 6,000 [bricks & mortar] stores by the end of the year.
“We only launched the stick packs in late December and in January we sold $96,000 worth of them on Amazon alone, and now we’re now selling more stick packs than K-Cups on a week by week basis.”
High protein snacking
Right now, he says,most bone both brands are sold in in the freezer (which isn’t very convenient), in multi-serve shelf-stable pouches or Tetrapaks in the broth/soup aisle, or in jars or bottles in the refrigerated grab & go beverage set, with price tags in the $7-10 range for 16oz or 32oz packs. (LonoLife K-Cups retail at around $1.75 per K-cup/serving.)
And while many of these products are of high quality with a good shelf-life, he said, they are expensive, and once opened, you’ve still got to stock them in the fridge and consume the contents within a few days, whereas LonoLife K-Cups and stick packs enable you to consume the product when it’s convenient for you.
“Not everyone wants to get through 32oz of bone broth in a day or two. With our products they are portion controlled and portable, you can use them at home or take them to work or when you travel.
“We know that high protein snacking are a big trend, while the Paleo diet is the #1 diet that’s searched for on Google for the past three years, and we are making something really convenient and much more affordable, so we win on taste and price.”
Our #1 state for sales on Amazon is Florida
While LonoLife plugs its Paleo credentials on pack and in marketing materials, it is not just targeting health conscious Millennials and Paleo enthusiasts in Los Angeles or New York, added Hoppe. “We want to bring bone broth to the masses.
“What’s interesting is that our #1 state for sales on Amazon is Florida, where you have an older population that is looking for savory high protein liquid products. It’s also great for people that have had gastric bypass surgery. Based on an analysis we did recently of more than 17,000 orders on Amazon, 71% were female purchasers and overall the demographic was older than we expected at the start, when we thought we were appealing primarily to young active Millennials.
"We've also partnered with weight management centers, for example we're working with a Colorado-based weight loss organization for women and our bone broth is a staple part of its program, so we've really started to evolve our messaging to talk more about holistic health."
He added: “We started in December 2015 with a plan to focus on online sales, targeting people following the Paleo diet and really just learning about the market opportunity. But in January 2016, we got such an incredible amount of attention at the Winter Fancy Food Show – and all this interest from [bricks & mortar] retailers, and not just in the natural channel - that literally overnight our strategy changed and we started to think about the mass market, and conventional retail channels.
“We were picked up by national distributors [KeHe, UNFI] and we were immediately placed into Albertsons and Safeway nationwide, and after that a lot of other retailers – Sprouts, Raleigh’s, Giant Eagle - also brought us in, so it has just been whirlwind growth.”
The bone broth category (shelf-stable and refrigerated) is pretty small in the scheme of things, but it’s growing rapidly, with US retail sales more than tripling to $19.7m in the 52 weeks to Jan 22 (click HERE) according to SPINS data.
Made from meaty bones and veggies that are left to simmer and then strained, bone broth is basically stock, but is typically made with higher-quality ingredients, and simmered for considerably longer (up to 48 hours – whereas commercial stock brands are typically cooked for a couple of hours) such that the final product has more protein, more nutrients and a gelatinous quality once it cools down.
It is also designed to be sipped as a hot beverage, although it can also be used as a cooking ingredient.