Hard seltzer out of stocks (SAM)

Hard seltzers are up more than 200% and accounted for 10% share of dollars earlier this summer, but have slipped to a 9.8% share over the last few weeks as brands face out of stocks. Mark Anthony Brands estimates that it missed 1.5 million barrels in sales this summer. Anyone who had visited a grocery, convenience, or packaged goods store looking for hard seltzer, the idea that the consumer walked away empty-handed when there was an out of stock seems unlikely. Market share might have been different if each brand had more inventory because substitute products likely met demand.

Most believe that hard seltzer is taking sales from beer or wine. 7-Eleven’s VP of Merchandising, Brooke Hodierne, said, “Our experience at 7-Eleven shows us that hard seltzers are driving incremental sales for our stores. However, interestingly, sales of other key brands and segments have neither increased nor decreased with the growth of hard seltzer sales volume.” According to Nielsen, hard seltzer sales in convenience stores grew 368% and surpassed $1B in the year ended July 25.

How empty shelves boosted plant-based meat (BYND)

Yesterday Beyond Meat introduced Beyond Breakfast Sausage Links in grocery stores nationwide. A test by the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) and Kroger in late 2019 showed that plant-based meat sales increased by 23% when those items were sold in the meat department. The test ran for 12 weeks at 60 stores in Colorado, Indiana, and Illinois. In the Midwest, plant-based meat sales rose 32% in the test while in the Denver area, which already had many plant-based consumer sales, it rose 13%. With demand for meat prodded by stockpiling and COVID-19 infections shutting down meat plants, grocers had empty shelves in their meat department. Plant-based meat was able to be stocked in the meat department on a large scale, in effect rolling out the test nationwide. From March to June, Kroger’s plant-based meat customer count grew by more than 50%, and plant-based meat sales grew 75%.

Beyond Meat’s Chief Growth Officer, Chuck Muth said, “We know that to be successful long term, we have to win on taste, win on nutrition, and ultimately win on price. As we grow and achieve economies of scale, we’ll look to drop our pricing as quickly as possible and have set an internal goal to have at least one product in one meaningful category that achieves price parity with its animal protein equivalent by 2024.” U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 11.4% to $5B in 2019, representing 2% of retail packaged meat sales.

Instacart doubles in 2020

Instacart raised $200M in a new funding round. The investment lifted the company’s valuation to $17.7B from the $13.8B valuation in June and $7.9B in early 2020. Instacart plans to use the capital for Instacart Ads to help connect CPG brands to customers shopping online and support retailers’ e-commerce and product development. Instacart Ads could be much more measurable and attractive to the advertisers than TV or newspaper circulars. Instacart’s share of the grocery delivery market is nearly 50%. Instacart has also expanded beyond grocery with home goods, specialty beauty, and convenience stores being added last month. There are risks besides competition as California voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether the gig economy’s workers should be classified as workers or contractors. To dig into grocery and restaurant delivery issues, we are hosting a call on Monday with an ex DoorDash employee. CLICK HERE for event details (includes video, dial-in information, and materials link).