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Laying a string of world-class pearls: folly or fortune?

String of pearlsFood and beverage company leaders newer to the premium marketplace are often very skeptical of investing in multiple early-stage brands, referring to it as a desperate “string-of-pearls” strategy. It is an opinion that presumes there is no way to enhance one’s pearl-laying skills, that most early-stage brands fail, that all of this amounts to corporate gambling. Conventional thinking says that big companies should focus only on tucking in mature businesses.

We disagree. Here’s why.


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The innovation of innovation

It’s common knowledge that premium brands are driving the vast majority of topline growth in the food and beverage market today. And increasingly, companies want to “steal” the winning attributes of premium brands and absorb them into their own brands, if at all possible. But many large food companies continue to avoid innovating how they determine what those winning premium attributes are. This gap in the innovation of front-end innovation leads to misplaced product development efforts that waste resources and irritate retail customers with underperforming launches.


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There are many paths to growth: which is right for your business?

WoodsChange. It’s a word that can send shivers down one’s spine but one we like to embrace. Why? Change represents possibilities. We’re living in a time of rapid change, and with our deep understanding of consumers and the marketplace, The Hartman Group recognizes there are many possible paths to growth.

In the past five years, we’ve closely monitored the dramatic rise of small premium brands (and the relative poor performance of conventional food and beverage) and substantial diversification of food/beverage procurement, including the new “fresh format” brick-and-mortar model and ecommerce 2.0 (e.g., meal kit delivery, food service delivery, subscription-based online food sales). The industry is also being transformed by tech industry investments in food and beverage companies and large CPG investments in entrepreneurial brands and creation of incubators or investment divisions. Finally, both consumers and the industry seem to be embracing innovative technologies (e.g., hydroponic produce, HPP-produced beverages and soups, vertical farms, plant-based substitutes for dairy and meat) related to food production and distribution.


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Get to know The Hartman Group all over again…or for the first time

Hartman Group Building

How well do you know The Hartman Group?

Normally, each week we write about emerging trends in food and the food industry. But this week we need to tell another story. Our story.

Our tale, like that of the consumers and food and beverage culture we study, is also one of evolution.

In 1989 we started out as a small market research firm assessing the consumer potential for products in the “green” marketing space, which, at that time, was modest and nascent. “Sustainability” was not yet a household word. It became clear that the most interesting part of that space to consumers was the rapidly growing natural/organic food and beverage marketplace. And as some of you know, natural was an important driver in supplements (VMHS), so that is precisely where we spent much of the 1990s, tracking early adopters both quantitatively and ethnographically. During this decade, we would stitch together these various pieces into the quilt that would be the broader health and wellness market.


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The Hartman Difference: Uniquely Our Own

What makes The Hartman Group’s Hartbeat newsletter stand out from all the other emails that crowd your inbox? We’re one of the very few who can say with confidence that the content is uniquely our own. 
There are many, many newsletters that aggregate news articles from various sources and package them with paid advertisements and sponsors. Not us. It’s not who we are.  
We’ve been publishing our e-newsletter for almost 20 years and take great pride in serving the food and beverage industry by providing original content drawn from our own proprietary consumer research and analysis by our own social scientists, business analysts and senior leadership.  
It is this point of difference that matters to you. We strive to be more than your primary source for original data, insights, trends, analysis and strategic thinking — it is our passion and mission to be your trusted source for all of this and more.  


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As leaders in the study of American food culture, The Hartman Group has been tracking how Americans shop for food since the 1990s. From one-stop shopping to multichannel shopping to online markets and click-and-collect, we continue to track consumers’ evolving perceptions, needs, habits and relationships with food retailers. New to the 2017 report is a special section on the expansion of the discount grocery channel, the emerging fresh-format channel and smaller-footprint retail formats.


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