|Iconic brands lose their luster|
July 11, 2019
From Oscar Mayer and Campbell's to Clairol and CoverGirl, some of America's most famous supermarket and drug store brands are losing market share as consumers' tastes and shopping habits change.
Why it matters: The challenges facing well-loved brands reflect shifts that aren't likely to swing back in their favor. As older companies scramble to keep up with upstart competitors, they are introducing more modern product lines, like ones with plant-based ingredients.
Driving the news: Legacy brands are concentrated within a handful of huge corporations that are losing money on various business lines as their products fade in relevance and popularity.
-- Kraft Heinz said this year that the value of its Oscar Mayer and Kraft brands — with products like Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Jell-O and Kraft Mac & Cheese — were worth $15 billion less than it had previously stated.These companies' "standard prescriptions for defending" their brands "no longer seem to be yielding results," Carol Phillips, founder the Brand Amplitude consulting firm — which counted Campbell Soup as a client — tells Axios.
-- Coty, which purchased the Clairol and CoverGirl brands from Procter & Gamble 3 years ago, recently wrote down the value of those brands by $3 billion, following a previous writedown of $965 million.
-- Sales of Campbell's namesake soups have fallen in 8 out of the past 10 fiscal years, per the Wall Street Journal.
-- "The tough thing about these products is they are really hard to improve on," she says.What's happening: Consumers are piling into nouveau and generic brands — like Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics and Brandless —some of which aren't even sold in physical stores.
-- "About the only thing you can do to it is change the package."
-- Newer brands captured 31% of revenue share growth within the last four years — an increase from 27% in prior years, according to a recent Bain & Co. report.Between the lines: The companies that used to set the trends are now the followers. Desperate to remain relevant, old-line companies — already late — often jump into the fad of the moment.
-- "The barriers to entry and the cost of launching a new brand have never been lower," the Bain report said
-- Amazon has hundreds of its own brands across nearly every product category, according to research firm Marketplace Pulse.
-- Coty is reportedly in talks to take a stake in Kylie Cosmetics.With plant-based foods so popular these days, a lot of companies are embracing the trend.
-- General Mills, struggling to lift sales of its cereals, yogurts and snacks, purchased Blue Buffalo, buying into the high-end organic pet food craze.
-- Conagra, which owns brands like Slim Jim and Hunt's ketchup, bought Pinnacle Foods (the maker of Bird's Eye, Hungry Man, Duncan Hines and others) in an attempt to cash in on demand for convenient frozen food. But months after the purchase, CEO Sean Connolly told the WSJ that Pinnacle's portfolio was “more negative than any of us anticipated it would be."
-- StarKist is hoping that a deal to feature its tuna fish in Home Chef's meal kits will help re-spark its relevance among consumers, it told the Wall Street Journal.
-- Tyson Foods, well known for its chicken nuggets, plans to roll out plant-based nuggets.These strategies are "a total crapshoot," says Robert Passikoff, founder of the consultancy Brand Keys.
-- Conagra will "tap into the plant-based meat-alternative opportunity," Connolly told analysts last month.
--Campbell Soup said it would introduce a “plant-based cooking platform."
The bottom line: What is a setback for the companies that once dominated store shelves is a boon for consumers, who have more options than ever.
-- “They have more choice and better products," Phillips says. "Finally, choice has proliferated.”axios.com