This year’s class of standout small to mid-sized businesses is making a major impact on the consumer goods industry. Whether they are just getting started, or about to surpass the $1 billion mark, these companies are leveraging technology, consumer connections and new product innovations to compete and win in a saturated market. From frozen food, to health food, to beauty products, must-have toys and even ice — these companies are certainly ones to watch as they continue on their journeys from startups to game-changers in the CG industry.
# of Employees: under 20
HQ: Morristown, NJ
About: EcoKindness has created a sophisticated range of eco-products, which harness the powerful properties of USDA organic, therapeutic grade essential oils to form impressive cleaning, deodorizing and freshening agents, designed to detoxify your home from harmful petro-chemicals, ammonia and chlorine-based cleaners. CEO and Co-Founder, Rob O’Keeffe, adds, “Each time EcoKindness products are used you will also enjoy the positive, therapeutic health & wellness benefits of natural aromatherapy, throughout your home or office.”
A Growing Business: In just a short time in the RangeMe marketplace, EcoKindness was picked up by major retailers including Jet.com and LuckyVitamin. The company has recently added three Whole Foods regions (NE; Rocky Mountain; Mid-Atlantic), and released four organic baby/toddler eco-products … a USA first! EcoKindness also introduced its first organic travel kit known as the Eco-Traveler Personal Kit.
Next Big move: In 2016, O’Keeffe aims to open a fully automated bottling facility, employing up to 50 full-time staff.
Corporation d/b/a/ SlimFast
# of Employees: 50
Founded: July 2014
HQ: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
About: SlimFast manufactures and markets weight loss products that are clinically proven to help people lose weight. In 2014, SlimFast was acquired by a private equity firm, which positioned the brand to hit the reset button and develop a seamless trade promotion and deduction management process to organize 150 retail partnerships across a dozen distribution channels. With trade representing nearly 25 percent of gross sales, the decision to adopt CPGToolBox, a cloud-based TPM solution built on the Salesforce platform, was a major step in achieving the organization-wide transparency SlimFast desired.
AGrowing Business: SlimFast plans on returning the brand to growth and driving growth in the Diet category with its retail partners. Launching the SlimFast Advanced line of products is also in its future, which includes SlimFast Advanced Ready-to-Drink meal replacement Shakes and Powders (contains 20g of Protein, less than 1g sugar, and 24 vitamins and minerals).
Next Big move: Karen Van Dongen, VP of Sales and Business Development, says the company plans, “To continue the growth momentum that we’ve ignited in 2015, and continue to launch new, innovative products. Our goal is to be the No. 1 consumer weight loss brand.”
# of Employees: ~150 • Founded: 2013
HQ: Vancouver, BC
About: Luvo is a new forward-thinking food company creating the next generation of frozen food, with a focus on great taste, convenience and most importantly, nutrition. Luvo offers consumers chef-created, nutritionist-approved meals made from high quality ingredients that are affordable and accessible.
A Growing Business: Luvo recently added several retail distribution points in Canada, introduced new menu items on Delta Airline flights, and launched 15 globally inspired entres in the summer of 2015. Luvo has received numerous industry awards from Progressive Grocer, Prevention Magazine, SHAPE Magazine, Men’s Health and Women’s Health to name a few.
Next Big move: Luvo’s CEO Christine Day, adds,“Luvo is currently focused on introducing ‘Frozen Food 3.0’ – great tasting, simply made, nutritious frozen meals with full servings of fruits and vegetables; going beyond the convenient and processed products that first defined the earliest generation (Frozen Food 1.0) and the niche diets more recently dominating frozen meal options (Frozen Food 2.0). Our goal is to make it easy for people to eat nutritious meals that taste amazing every day and to promote a nutrition-fueled lifestyle.”
# of Employees: 210
HQ: Melbourne, Australia
About: Moose Toys is a global, award-winning toy company known for designing, developing and distributing toy and lifestyle products for children of all ages and the young at heart. Moose has brought joy to kids worldwide with successful products like Shopkins and Little Live Pets. From 2000, under the leadership of Co-CEO Manny Stul, the business has grown from a staff of 10 to 210.
A Growing Business: “Moose Toys was thrilled to see the Shopkins craze take off to a whole new level last year,” says Co-CEO, Paul Solomon. “Shopkins was the top-selling toy of 2015 in the United States and was named Girl Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association for the second year in a row.”
Next Big move: Moose Toys will continue to deepen the engagement with fans and Shopkins with exciting range development and the launch of entertainment. “Moose is also excited to introduce two new collectible lines that will offer children innovative new ways to collect. Arts and crafts will continue to be a big focus, as will the launch of new games featuring interactive technology,” closes Solomon.
Mrs. T’s Pierogies
# of Employees: 225
HQ: Shenandoah, PA
About: Mrs. T’s Pierogies is the largest producer of frozen pierogies in the United States. Still a family-owned company, Mrs. T’s Pierogies produces more than 600 million pierogies per year in more than 15 varieties, and distributes nationwide.
A Growing Business: Mrs. T’s Pierogies launched two new pierogy flavors between 2015 and 2016: Mozzarella Tomato Basil, and Garlic Parmesan, respectively. Timothy Coyle, director of Information Technology & Services Technology, explains, “The strategies we deploy, play a big part in making our growth possible and secure. Innovations, like SAP and others, make our people and processes more efficient. We continue to digitize more and more with process improvements projects such as AP EDI & Electronic Purchase Order Matching.”
Next Big move: While its goals remain the same, its tactics continue to evolve each year. “We’re always striving for product innovation, higher profitability, timely and accurate information and increased customer satisfaction. We can achieve this through a highly-motivated and results-producing workforce that aims to improve communication among management and associates consistently,” reinforces Coyle.
Prime Life Fibers, Inc.
# of Employees: 7
HQ: Durham, NC
About: In the early 1990s, Bob Deerin noticed that, despite a flourishing market in Europe, the United States lacked reusable incontinence underwear products. So, his company, Prime Life Fibers, Inc., decided to create the Wearever brand to fill this hole in the market. Made for people with urinary incontinence, the brand provides the only reusable, washable alternative to adult diapers in a variety of seamless styles. The company also offers Wearever incontinence bed pads as well as Buster Brown socks.
A Growing Business: Prime Life Fibers launched a Wearever DRTV commercial in 2015 to establish the Wearever brand to great success. Another accomplishment has been adding distribution of Wearever products in Japan, Greece and Mexico.
Next Big move: “In 2016, we will continue with our DRTV campaign and will enhance our e-commerce platform as well. We will also be supporting our wholesale customers by creating even more brand awareness and exposure for Wearever,” says Wearever President and CEO Bob Deerin.
# of Employees: 200+
HQ: Pittsburg, CA
About: Ramar Foods is a leading producer of Filipino foods and tropical ice cream in the United States, founded in 1969 by Ramon and Maria Quesada, who started the family business in San Jose, Calif. Today, Ramar manufactures hundreds of products in its Northern California headquarters including the brands: Orientex, Magnolia, Frescano, Pampagna’s Best, Manila Gold, Bestaste, Turo-Turo Gourmet, Baguio, and Kusina.
A Growing Business: Primo “P.J.” Quesada, vice president of Ramar Foods, says, “In addition to ‘great products, great people and hard work,’ the company has also grown thanks to another highly utilitarian resource, SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning software.” The company received the plant of the year award from Dairy Foods Magazine in December, shortly before implementing SYSPRO’s computerized lot trace module.
Next Big move: Quesada unveils Ramar Foods’ next big move, “To begin implementing foundations for continuous improvement philosophies within business processes and manufacturing,” he says.
# of Employees: 2,000
HQ: Dallas, TX
About: Reddy Ice is the largest manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the country – producing and distributing more than 2 million tons of ice each year.
A Growing Business: In 2015, ReddyIce created a forecasting and order-generation capability, enabling it to keep customers in stock, without pre-calls. Each day, the company processes POS data from 30,000 stores with the help of Orchestro, weather data from 6,200 zip codes, and, with help from John Galt Solutions, 3 years of data on seasonal, holiday and day-of-week impacts to forecast daily ice sales, by store, by product. Grant Daniel, senior forecasting manager, explains, “As we’ve turned on this new program, our customers have had to call us for ice half as often (because we’re keeping them in stock).”
Next Big move: “In 2016, we are working to build upon our new capability – adding POS data from more stores, reducing error in our forecast, and further improving service to our customers. The delivery model in our industry has not changed meaningfully in decades … our objective this year is to raise the bar for in-stock performance in the packaged ice industry,” says Daniel.
Rodan & Fields, LLC
(Rodan + Fields)
# of Employees: ~350
HQ: San Francisco, CA
About: Rodan + Fields is a highly effective, clinically proven, dermatological skincare brand that has innovated an industry with its anti-aging products and a social commerce platform that enables personal enterprise.
A Growing Business: Rodan + Fields is the No. 2 Premium Skincare Brand in the United States in 2015i and the No. 1 fastest-growing skincare brand in the United States over the last five yearsii, as validated by Euromonitor International Ltd.
Next Big move: Chief Technology Officer Ralph Loura says, “We will advance our pursuit to become one of the world’s leading prestige skincare brands by continuing to: expand our global presence, empower entrepreneurs with business opportunities, reshape how the industry sells products with our technology-enabled business platform, and launch new products that change skin and change lives.”
iSource Euromonitor International Limited; rsp terms; all channels, USA, 2015; research conducted in 2015
iiSource Euromonitor International Limited; rsp terms; all channels, USA, 2015, research conducted in 2015; last five years refers to the period of 2010 to 2015
# of Employees: 150
HQ: Sebastopol, CA
About: Traditional Medicinals, pioneer of the wellness tea category, is a leading seller of organic tea in the United States and Canada. The company is passionate about connecting people with plants and sharing centuries-old wisdom of how to use them.
AGrowing Business: After more than four decades of operations, Traditional Medicinals continued its success in 2015 with record-breaking sales revenue and operating income. CEO Blair Kellison, explains, “With a goal of educating more people about the power of plants, we reached 1 million fans on Facebook and continued to engage our audience with new content on our online Plant Power Journal platform.” Recently working with AFS Technologies, the company also implemented a fully integrated solution that delivers critical trade spend insights to key stakeholders to improve budgeting, trade promotion activities, account planning and post promotion analysis.
Next Big move: “Traditional Medicinals is working diligently to build the factory of the future at its Sebastopol, Calif. production facility. “Our investments in reengineering this plant, and the systems to support it, will allow us to continue making our high quality teas in-house for the next 25 years,” Kellison closes.
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