In recent years, the consumer packaged foods industry has come to be thought of by many observers as an especially hard place to break into. It is true that over-sized brands owned by international giants like Unilever tend to dominate grocery store shelves, and that smaller companies typically have quite a steep hill to climb if they wish to grow and thrive. On the other hand, a small pack of insurgents have attacked things from different angles over the course of the last decade and produced some impressive results as they did so. The recent successes of vegan-focused producer Hampton Creek, for instance, show that there are still ways of emerging into the consumer packaged foods industry.
A recent article looking at Hampton Creek on Fortune details just how challenging and unconventional the company’s rise has been, but also offers plenty of hope to those who would follow in its footsteps. The first sign that Hampton Creek was on to something likely came with the lawsuit that the owner of the Hellmann’s brand of mayonnaise lodged against it, with the plaintiff claiming that the company’s “Just Mayo” was deceptive in at least a couple of ways.
The flimsiness of that claim led quickly to the retraction of the suit, but not before the FDA weighed in with some questions of its own. Once again, though, Hampton Creek maintained its collective composure and persevered, escaping the agency’s thrusts with nothing but a brand-enhancing bit of clarification added to its flagship product.
Coupled with a third victory over the American Egg Board, with the fighting this time going down mostly in the court of public opinion, Hampton Creek had a year full of what might have been considered distractions. At the same time, the media attention that resulted from these kerfuffles ended up mostly tilting in the company’s favor, leaving it likely in better shape than before.
Even just recently, for instance, Hampton Creek signed a major deal with the Compass Group, an arrangement that will greatly extend its reach. Having already made major inroads into retail presences throughout the country, the company will thereby now advance in the commercial realm, as well, proving that the industry is not entirely impenetrable.