Big food companies lost $18 billion in sales to smaller brands
When Millennials think about old and big food companies, ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and GMOs come to their mind.  However, they are looking for fresh food, with ingredients that they can understand and pronounce from brands that are authentic and that they can trust. They want real food. This disconnect between what some big food companies are offering and what consumers are looking for is causing a systemic shift in the CPG industry. Since 2011, more than $18 billion in sales have shifted from large to smaller companies.  KIND, Clif Bar, Chobani and Halo Top are just a few names of independent brands that have become or are now becoming ubiquitous in their categories. Big companies are now looking for innovation and leveraging technology to find growth in the industry.
Campbell’s, a 148-year-old food company, has been accelerating the process of reinventing itself since current CEO Denise Morrison took over six years ago. The company is working now on, among other innovations, creating a platform for personalized nutrition and bringing transparency to its entire supply chain.
Campbell’s is exploring a personalized nutrition service
Campbell’s is a sole investor in a company called Habit, which sells a $299 at-home test kit that uncovers one’s unique biological data. After signing up for the service, the customer receives at home a kit with components for blood and DNA sample collections. The Habit lab will analyze how each body handles carbs and fats, the ideal caloric ratio of carbs, fats, and protein and what genetics and blood indicators say about each customer’s nutrition needs. They use more than 60 biometric markers that reveal details such as ideal glucose levels and obesity-related genes.
The Habit comes up with a personalized nutrition plan, offers nutritional coaching sessions, and even a meal-kit service tailored to an individual’s biology.  Instead of manufacturing a product and pushing it through sales channels to make it available at supermarkets, the company is now able to receive an order, manufacture it accordingly and ship it directly to its customers. This business model completely changes the traditional supply chain of a food manufacturer.
The company is currently offering the meal delivery service in the Bay area, but a nationwide rollout is expected in the next few months. 
Campbell’s is bringing transparency to its entire supply-chain
Campbell’s launched the website “What’s in My Food” (whatsinmyfood.com), which was a first public step towards a significant increase in transparency in its supply chain. The website promotes transparency by providing consumers with a wide range of details about how Campbell’s products are made and their choice of ingredients.  Next step for bringing more transparency includes providing customers with information on all the partners they work with to grow and make their food. The long-term goal is to offer complete traceability on sourcing for all of its ingredients across all its products. 
New technologies could contribute significantly to Campbell’s transparency initiatives
A challenge for bringing transparency to the food supply chain is that hundreds of food suppliers, distributors and retailers are usually involved, and they use systems that are not connected with each other. IBM, Walmart, and the Tsinghua University signed an agreement in 2016 to use Blockchain and Internet of Things for food traceability and authenticity. Blockchain provides a permanent record of transactions which are grouped in blocks and cannot be altered. It could serve as an alternative or an additional control system to the current paper tracking or legacy systems controls that are used by several players in the supply chain. Product information such as farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, storage temperature and shipping details are digitally connected to each food item and this information is entered into the blockchain all along the process. (9) This technology will not only bring transparency, but also lead to fewer contamination incidents, faster detection of problems, and fewer food frauds.  The adoption of Blockchain and IoT is something that Campbell’s could explore. If implemented successfully, this technology would certainly bring another level of transparency to its products.
Will supply chain transparency play an important role in the future of CPG brands? How will these trends affect farmers and distributors? What are other initiatives that large CPG companies can take in other to gain the market share lost for smaller brands?
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