Lessons from a CPG Startup: how yummy spoonfuls is changing consumer behaviors

“Authenticity is key. Businesses must be profitable, but customers – especially millennials – are motivated by emotion and connection. They want to feel that we are making food out of love for their babies – and we are! That is authenticity. So it is not just about spending money, it is about being a part of a tribe, a community that is loyal and committed for all the right reasons,” according to Agatha Achindu, Founder of Yummy Spoonfuls Organic Baby & Tots Food. “When things get rocky, staying true and authentic keeps you on track.”

Achindu is a keynote speaker at the marcus evans AmericaPack Summit 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22-23.

How are your marketing, branding and packaging strategies integrated? What makes a brand experience holistic?

All parents want the best food for their babies. We believe every child deserves access to homemade food, but we know that not all parents have the time to cook from scratch. So we make it exactly like they would, without any hidden ingredients. Busy mums thank us for that. They do not mind paying a bit extra. They want packaging that is recyclable and biodegradable, that will not harm the planet.

Our company exists to meet our customers’ needs and desires. By putting your customers first, you build trust. Some organizations lose momentum because instead of cultivating their tribe, they chase trends. Again, it comes back to authenticity – knowing your brand, market and customer.

To be sustainable in the market, we have to meet people where they are. It does not matter how large our organization grows, we have to make sure our customers know that we have their interests at heart.

Most buying decisions are emotional, so we have to connect with our customers’ feelings. When the company is growing, customers must feel that the changes will benefit them, that your products will get cheaper without compromising quality.

Many companies do things differently from what the market demands, perhaps because they are entering new markets, or for other reasons. They think they do not have a choice. But they do. They can stay authentic to their base. Being authentic never fails.

When I first started, I used BPA free clear cups so parents could see the vibrancy of the food inside. Although part of the packaging was recyclable, we moved to paper cups, because our customers wanted that. We want people to see inside the pouches and cups, because I cannot talk to people in the stores. Packaging is a very important tool. It can tell a story in a few seconds.

How do you connect with customers?

We host community events where we do not sell anything! Mums come together to discuss baby related issues. We realized this was the biggest selling tool we have. We instantly create 40 brand ambassadors. Mums leave the room in disbelief that the company’s Founder just talked about baby wearing.

Large companies must realize that what used to work before will not work with millennials. Millennials want to see a face, someone they can connect with, and whose values they share. If they do not share my values, they will not understand why I do this. Social media has made it easy for us to be in front of customers. Companies can share a video and instantly give a face to their brand. Even large companies have a mission, and they should not keep customers guessing what it is. No matter how large the company grows, the front should always feel like a home. Millennials want to know your why. It is the cheapest thing to do, yet many large companies do not do it.

Your baby & tots food can be found in the frozen food aisle. How are you changing consumer behaviors and building awareness?

Forty percent of baby food in America is homemade and we wanted to bring those parents back into the store. We make food just as they would, without citric or ascorbic acid. Those parents do not want food that has been on a shelf for two years, sterilized and denatured. We needed to ignite the conversation that frozen food is good. Parents were not used to seeing baby food in the freezer aisle. We had to make people realize that when they make food at home, they freeze the leftovers. The moment they connect the dots, they start appreciating frozen baby food. Next, we needed signage in the baby section to direct people to the frozen food aisle.

People do not want cheap food anymore. It boggles my mind that as a society we continue to feed babies food that has no taste, little nutrition, traces of arsenic, cadmium, BPA and nickel. There is a demand for healthy and large companies must move fast! Change is inevitable and we have to be proactive.