Case Study: How to Launch a New Brand During a Pandemic
As a Food Scientist, Maggie Sadowsky recognized a need for consumers to increase consumption of whole plant-based foods, like beans. She studied the science behind beans for many years and concluded that they are incredible for climate change – not only are they sustainable to grow, but they nourish the soil and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while being a healthy protein and nutrient source.
These findings, combined with our food supply causing consumers to throw away nearly 40% of the food grown in the US, inspired her to launch 8 Track Foods, a line of 3 premium canned beans. Sadowsky’s social mission at 8 Track Foods is to reduce food waste, single-use plastic, and food insecurity by stocking pantries and the future.
Sadowsky launched 8 Track Foods in February of 2020, right on the brink of the COVID-19 pandemic. While their Natural Products Expo West debut was put on hold, Sadowsky was still able to get 8 Track Foods in front of retail buyers, ultimately leading to a deal with Whole Foods Market. Here’s how:
8 Track Foods = Cool beans!
Sadowsky decided to launch with a line of beans because of how great beans are for health and how they combat climate change. “The way beans are grown actually convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into nutrients that fix the soil rather than depleting it,” says Sadowsky. “It seemed like a great place to start the brand because if we can complete the whole supply chain and keep our carbon footprint small, we can make an impact.”
So even though canned beans have been around for a while, it was time for reinvention.
8 Track Foods launched with a simple product line of three different types of canned beans: classic black beans, dark red kidney beans, and blonde chickpeas. 8 Track Foods products are 100% made in the USA from farming to production and packaging and are certified USDA Organic, vegan, allergy-friendly, and preservative-free.
Launching During a Pandemic
In March of 2020, Sadowsky planned on debuting 8 Track Foods to retail buyers at the Natural Products Expo West Show. Unfortunately, that was right as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and the Expo West show had to be canceled.
“That first month after launching was scary. We had planned on meeting with a number of retailers, but everyone went silent because they were scrambling to figure out the new world order,” shares Sadowsky. “After that first month things really started to turn around, and I give RangeMe 100% of that credit.”
Through the cancellation of Expo West, Sadowsky was able to sign up for RangeMe Premium, which would give her the ability to submit directly to retailers and get RangeMe Verified™ which would increase their visibility with buyers searching for products like hers.
Connecting with Retailers
8 Track Foods had an advantage when it came to the type of product they launched. That is because, once the pandemic hit, consumers were on the prowl for canned goods and were buying in bulk to limit the number of trips to the grocery store. The growth trajectory skyrocketed for canned goods and awoke a sleepy category.
“It turned out that we hit the mark on when to launch and we had the perfect product that everyone desired and needed,” says Sadowsky. So, it was not too surprising that Sadowsky had received a few messages from major retailers, including Albertsons, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market since April.
“A Whole Foods Market buyer discovered us on RangeMe and reached out to us and expressed interest in our products,” shares Sadowsky. “We exchanged email addresses, discussed volumes, and decided that the Midwest was the best area to launch our products since canned goods are part of the Midwest heritage.”
Now, 8 Track Foods canned beans can be found in 54 Whole Foods Market stores across the Midwest.
Beans and Beyond
8 Track Foods is introducing the new wave of canned goods from packaging to ingredients. While Sadowsky hasn’t been able to promote her products at in-person events, RangeMe has been able to help boost their visibility with retail buyers looking to introduce a new, more stylish, and sustainable can of beans to their retail shelves.
Sadowsky has big plans for 8 Track Foods and is excited to work with Whole Foods Market and other retailers to expand their store numbers.
Isabel Ramirez is the Sr. Content Marketing Specialist for RangeMe, the online sourcing platform that streamlines product discovery between suppliers and retailers. 70% of the top 100 retailers in the US, as well as thousands of independent retailers, use RangeMe as an efficient way to discover innovative new products and manage the inbound product submission process.