Emma Allmann
Emma Allmann is a Junior Analyst for Mintel Disruptor where she studies, works with and writes about food and drink startups.

A brand’s story is integral to every decision made from conception to distribution and marketing. The story sets the tone for the product and dictates with which consumer base the brand will connect. Mintel Disruptor, Mintel’s exploration of startups, has tracked down startups that are tapping into the “Adventure” trend pillar derived from the “Experiences” 2030 Global Consumer trend driver and setting the stage for their products with their founder stories.

Why Adventure?

A founder story that taps into the “Adventure” trend pillar will appeal to consumers who are looking for brands and products that embody and aid their adventurous lifestyle. Consumers who have idealized the adventurous lifestyle but have yet to achieve it will see the brand as an opportunity to take a step towards their goal. Many consumers attach sustainability and environmentally ethical practices to brands that tout an adventure-based founder story, which allows the brand to connect with consumers who may not be adventurers but buy products based upon ethics.

Wildway

Grain-free granolas, hot cereals and snack mixes.

Founder story

Kyle and Kelli Koehler were working office jobs when they realized they were not living the life they felt most passionate about. They believe that life should be one wild adventure and were looking for food that supported the lifestyle they wanted to live. In trying to create a health food bar that lines up with their world view, they accidentally made the granola that would become their best seller and started Wildway.

Why it works

Wildway built a community around their ethos of living the wild way. Consumers who buy Wildway’s products with aspirations of becoming more adventurous can find themselves in a community of people who are walking the walk. Wildway features a journal on their website that highlights customers who have done adventurous and impressive things thereby broadening the community and giving potential consumers inspiration to do something for which they’ll be featured. Wildway is selling a lifestyle but because their product is granola it is a lifestyle in which even those who cannot be adventurous or live the wild way can participate.

According to Mintel research on hot and cold cereal, more than two in five consumers who ate certain cereals more than the year prior (as of May 2019) are doing so because there are more nutritious options available. More than one-third of consumers ranked “trying new things” in their top three goals for 2019 and Wildway is offering to help achieve this in a way that is in line with their health goals.

OneForNeptune

Sustainable sourced white fish jerky that is gluten-, nut-, preservative-, dairy- and GMO-free.

Founder Story

Nick Mendoza sailed several trans-Pacific research expeditions on a Brigantine-style Tall Ship where he learned that Tall Ship sailors maintain many traditions from years past including that of the Swizzle, a celebration marking the end of a successful ocean crossing. On the last evening of the expedition, the captain gathers the crew and before the celebration can begin, he makes a ritual toast to Neptune, the protector who grants safe passage across his realm, and pours the first drink into the sea. OneForNeptune maintains this tradition by paying homage to our most valuable resource, the ocean, for all that it offers. OneForNeptune “seeks to generate a healthy, sustainable, relationship with the ocean, securing a bluer future for you, for me, and for the sea.”

Why it works

According to Mintel research on attitudes toward corporate social responsibility, one in 10 consumers agree that they always make purchases based on a brand’s reputation for being ethical even though nearly all consumers indicate that it is at least somewhat important that companies act morally or ethically. A quarter of consumers look for environmental-friendliness when purchasing fish, according to Mintel research on fish and shellfish.

OneForNeptune markets the fact that they source sustainably and are fighting for a healthier relationship with the ocean. This tactic is effective primarily because it exists through the lens of adventure and allows consumers to be the heroes that are saving the ocean simply by buying jerky. The founder story of OneForNeptune evokes the most romantic notions and mythology of the seafaring life by calling their goals missions and welcoming the consumer on board.

Good To-Go

Dehydrated, on-the-go, just-add-water meals that are gluten-free and hand made.

Founder story

When renowned chef Jennifer Scism moved to Kittery, Maine, she discovered a love of outdoor adventures and backpacking but was not impressed with her food options while adventuring. Jennifer and her husband, David Koorits, founded Good To-Go to provide healthy and delicious on-the-go options that they had struggled to find.

Why it works

Jennifer Scism’s reputation as the chef and co-owner of (now closed) Annisa in New York City elevates Good To-Go to as a premium convenience product. Consumer expectations of the product itself will be high, which is unusual for just-add-water meal packs. According to Mintel research on prepared meals, only two in five consumers eat pre-packaged meals for the taste and two-thirds of consumers buy it because it is quicker than preparing food from scratch.

Good To-Go offers flavorful premium meals not just to adventurers but also to any person who is on-the-go and too busy to make themselves a meal. One of the ways Good To-Go reaches a broader audience is by offering meal packs for diverse diet needs and restrictions. All of their meals are gluten free and they offer six vegan meals, two vegetarian meals, and two pescatarian meals, all of which goes a long way towards making this adventure brand accessible and exciting for both adventurers and non-adventurers.

What we think

A founder story that is themed around adventure can run the risk of a very narrow target audience of adventurers. Brands need to broaden their potential consumer base by evoking adventure and allowing consumers to live vicariously through the brand. Participating, even tangentially by buying a certain product, in an adventure is enough to garner consumer interest. An excellent product will maintain that interest, and a combination of the two will build a loyal consumer base for a brand.