Last week, the wellness-focused team members at Guinn Partners went to Vegan Wonder and General Assembly’s panel and expo “The State of Austin’s Favorite Health-Conscious Brands” at the downtown WeWork. Austin is a thriving market for health + wellness, and awesome events like this are one of the reasons that’s the case.
The panelists included the CEO of Snap Kitchen ($150m+ raised), the founder of Prep To Your Door, the Founder of Cece’s Veggie Co. and the CEO of local sensation NadaMoo. Afterwards, there was a product showcase for attendees with about a dozen of Austin-based health brands, like Sunriser CBD Cold Brew (my personal fav), Superseed Well, Curcuma, and more.
For those who weren’t there, I wanted to share some of my takeaways, particularly from the business-building perspective.
Reusable packaging – The founder of Prep To Your Door noted that the number one reason for using their service by their customers was their reusable packaging. This has really actually gone beyond a trend, into a business-driver and considerable consideration for any brand creating consumer packaged goods.
Transparency – Explaining and being authentic about sustainability, the nature of packaging, and the “why” behind a brands actions helps bridge the gap between businesses that are trying to succeed, (while also thinking critically about their mission and environmental impact) and the customers (who have increasingly high expectations for community and sustainability impact standards from the brands they consume).
Functional ingredients – Placing CBD in everything isn’t just popular, it’s effective, and lucrative. We expect more of these “functional ingredients” to surface, in the same way we’ve seen turmeric and collagen. CBD will gradually be seen integrated into more products.
Personalization – When it comes to consumer packaged goods (CPG) and food in particular, different people have different lifestyles, bodies, and needs— Therefore, information, curation and personalization to make the experience of finding the right solutions for you, will become even more of a differentiator for online and retail experiences.
An eye towards the next step in the cycle – Conscious, mission-driven businesses in the CPG and wellness-space are looking increasingly at sustainable packaging, reducing their carbon footprint, providing fair wages and giving back to communities. Specifically communities that mean something to their founders, teams and customers. This is just a first step towards looking at a much bigger picture: the farming, sourcing and warehousing of foods and products in this country and across the world.
The complexity of capital – One of the key topics that had a passionate discussion was the compromises that inevitably come from taking capital– especially for businesses with a vision beyond simple monetary success.
An emphasis on infrastructure – The biggest challenge and where most businesses see need, is in operational infrastructure that allows a company to grow in a way that is predictable and adaptable. Everything from logistics around product and delivery, to scalable systems for sales and marketing.
Panelists also highlighted their favorite local companies— a few to note:
- Richard’s Rainwater – A fascinating company and model centered around use of rainwater for water bottles over wells and springs.
- Fronks – You’ll never choose your old nut-milk again.
- NadaMoo – Plant based ice cream– It’s amazing.