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Generation CPG and PRESENCE

The Brand Alchemist Capsule Series: The Past & Future State of CPG—Part 2

Jess Caven is the Co-founder and Principal of Generation CPG, an agency that helps launch the next generation of CPG products in food, beverage, and wellness. In her role, she helps emerging, early-stage, and established CPG brands launch new products and optimize product management operations. Jess has over a decade of operations, supply chain, and brand-building experience with various food and personal care brands and has consulted with more than 40 brands across multiple categories. 

Luke Penney is the Co-founder and Principal of Generation CPG. He has consulted with over 30 brands across the food, beverage, and wellness space on everything from contract manufacturing searches to full product launches and outsourced operations. As the founder of a plant-based skincare and wellness brand, Luke has 10 years of experience as a hands-on entrepreneur. Before Generation CPG, he was an investment analyst and an Adjunct Professor of Sustainability and Socially-Responsible Business at Colby College.

Karen Farrell is the Vice President of Brand Services at PRESENCE Marketing, the nation’s leading independently-owned natural products broker and service provider. As an experienced CPG sales and marketing executive, she has spent more than 25 years in the natural products industry, with 20 years in executive leadership, acquisitions, retail-buying, and brand consultation in sales and brokerage. Karen was the Owner of Topline Marketing, a regional sales and marketing brokerage in the natural products industry that was acquired by PRESENCE in 2012. 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • What is Generation CPG?
  • Notable CPG trends and challenges
  • How brands can manage their COGS (cost of goods sold) to prepare for product launches
  • Key trends to consider and avoid in the coming year
  • The importance of developing relationships with co-packers and advice for optimizing co-packing
  • Karen Farrell talks about her role at PRESENCE
  • How price increases and supply chain disturbances have impacted brand sales and how brands can recover
  • Strategies for building brand awareness in retail and DTC channels
  • Tips for working with brokers and distributors

In this episode…

The CPG landscape has shifted — everything from supply chain operations and distributions to product launches and sales has become increasingly expensive and difficult to navigate. With so many trends to consider, how can you determine the best path forward in 2023?

Understanding how to navigate each aspect of the CPG space is critical for future success. At the foundational level, Jess Caven and Luke Penney stress the importance of analyzing your COGS (cost of goods sold), which includes raw materials, ingredients, packaging, and manufacturing costs. Assessing your COGS and profit margins helps you obtain adequate funding and determine the best distribution method for your brand. On the sales side, Karen Farrell says that instead of outsourcing an external sales team, hire a broker to help you appraise retailers and generate brand awareness. By fostering a strong business relationship with your broker, you can scale effectively.

In this episode of the Brand Alchemist Podcast, Taja Dockendorf hosts Jess Caven and Luke Penney of Generation CPG and Karen Farrell of PRESENCE Marketing to address CPG brand trends and strategies for 2023. They discuss how brands can manage their COGS to prepare for product launches, the importance of developing relationships with co-packers and brokers, and strategies for building brand awareness in retail and DTC channels.

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