Smoothie brand Blender Bites leans into online

In response to changing habits and the high prices of in-store activation, the brand is building awareness online to drive trial.

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Premium vegan smoothie brand Blender Bites is coming to Loblaw with retooled SKUs, and leaning into digital to drive trial with busy professionals and young moms.

The brand, focused on functional products, was founded in 2016 and was first to market in Western Canada with a frozen, pre-portioned “easy smoothie” product that is free of any unnecessary inner plastic packaging.

Blender Bites’ newly reformulated and rebranded Power Berry and Vita-Smoothie varieties are now in 59 of Loblaw’s Market division banner stores, and 107 of its high-volume discount banners.

“We have designed our shopper marketing programs in Loblaws and key retailers, with a strong focus on digital to cater to the omni-channel shopper,” says Jess Evans, director of sales and marketing at Blender Bites.

“The pivot from heavy in-store focus is largely due to changing shopping behaviors due to the pandemic, with more consumers being online and an uptick in online grocery/convenience buying,” Evans explains.

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She tells strategy there has also been a decrease in grocery store visits, with less consumers spending time leisurely browsing the aisles, making it even more difficult to grab their attention.

“We want to make sure we are reaching our consumers along their journey before, during and after so we can ensure we are making enough impressions to eventually lead them down the funnel from awareness to conversion to loyalty,” Evans says.

According to Evans, the focus on digital was also due to the “staggering prices of in-store activations” and point of purchase materials. The high costs associated has made it increasingly difficult for smaller brands like Blender Bites to participate in and justify the ROI whereas digital allows the brand to measure success rates and target, making it a more cost-effective way to market its product and reach a desired audience.

“We are primarily only on Instagram, as it’s a good tool to showcase brand story telling to a specific audience, but we are planning to expand onto further platforms such as Pinterest, as that is where at of our consumers are,” Evans says, adding started doing more Reels to appeal better to the algorithm and that there will also be a strong focus on SEM going forward as more consumers are searching for terms related to healthy, quick meal options.

The “easy smoothie” category is just starting, she says, adding that the velocity it’s seen shows there’s room to grow the competitive set further.

According to Evans, Blender Bites is launching a direct to consumer platform in Q2, so it will be able to better measure its marketing efforts to what platforms are driving the most trial as it’s difficult with brick and mortar.

Meanwhile, the “puck” product format isn’t common and Evans says that since Blender Bites are the pioneers in the emerging “easy smoothie” subcategory, education and awareness will be key.

Vancouver-based Blink is its creative agency on the Blender Bites campaigns.

 

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