Welcome Koia – Here’s to a Plant-Based Future!

Our team first met Chris Hunter in 2017, early in his journey in making Koia the leading plant-based beverage company in the United States. His story is an inspiring one – from founding Four Loko at the age of 25 to selling Not Your Father’s Root Beer to Pabst to becoming a spokesperson for a ...

Enter Corona: Emerging CPG, Pandemic, and Recession

The longest period of economic expansion in modern US history has just come to a crashing end, courtesy of the COVID-19 virus and a price war in the global oil markets. The global economy is seemingly grinding to a halt as more and more of the world is now adjusting to “shelter-in-place” mandates from governmental ...

How Does Emerging CPG Perform in a Recession?

The Coronavirus and resulting economic consequences have already ended an 11-year bull market and it is likely to push us into a global economic recession. At a time like this, it is appropriate for investors to focus on how specific asset classes perform during downturns.  A few months ago we addressed this topic for the ...

Helio Highlights, Women’s Day Edition: Innovation in Feminine Care

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we used Helio to better understand innovation in feminine care. Specifically, the development of organic and natural feminine care has been growing as a consequence of environmental concerns around disposing plastic. Using Helio, we are able to see the growth in retail distribution of natural feminine care brands across the ...

Helio Highlights, Valentine’s Day Edition: Functional Chocolate ❤

Functional foods have been part of the food industry’s vocabulary for decades, but in the last several years we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of a specific type of delivery mechanism for these supplemental nutrients: chocolate. According to the USDA, functional foods are those that are “designed to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the ...

The Cleanwashing of Clean Beauty

I recently covered clean beauty branding and the ambiguity associated with how clean beauty brands market themselves. Front label messaging associated with the word “clean” can be unclear, which suggests that the lists of both ingredients and non-ingredients (e.g., parabens, sulfates, phthalates) matter. I’d ask what specific ingredients give meaning to the term clean. Are ...

Portfolio Company Spotlight: Kitu Life

The Origination of Kitu Life Kitu Life, Inc. was founded by three brothers: Jordan, Jake, and Jim DeCicco. The youngest brother, a student-athlete looking for a pick-me-up after basketball practice, was disenchanted by the unhealthy selection of energy drinks and bottled coffees on campus – all loaded with calories and artificial ingredients. So, he set ...

Helio Highlights: Customization

The ability to customize products is a growing trend across CPG categories. Using Helio, we are able to see CPG brands leaning into this trend by creating personalized products and heavily marketing them as such. According to Helio, the growth in brands that have described their products as customizable is 185%+ over the last 2 ...

Helio Highlights: The Future of Clean Beauty

In early-stage consumer, clean beauty is one of the most commonly discussed topics today. There are a lot of investors, strategics, and consumers interested in clean beauty. The past year has seen some high-profile investments and acquisitions in clean beauty, including CircleUp Growth Partners’ portfolio company, Kosas, which announced a Series B raise led by ...

Helio Highlights: Growth in Adaptogens

Adaptogens, non-toxic plants that are believed to alleviate stressors, have seen a rise within food, beverage and beauty products as consumers become increasingly aware of the benefits of natural wellness.  Above, we can see the growth trend in brands we found in Helio that use adaptogens in their products. As a result of the growth ...