488 episodes

Welcome to the Joshua Schall Audio Experience

On my podcast, you’ll hear episodes of my popular short-form Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) news segment "Consumed", a long-form CPG entrepreneurship interview segment "Formula For:", deeper dive segments "Deep Dish CPG", public speaking engagements, and any of my new and current thoughts that I record specifically for this audio experience!

Leave a review on iTunes and let me know what you think! Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/joshua-schall/support

the Joshua Schall Audio Experience Joshua Schall

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 15 Ratings

Welcome to the Joshua Schall Audio Experience

On my podcast, you’ll hear episodes of my popular short-form Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) news segment "Consumed", a long-form CPG entrepreneurship interview segment "Formula For:", deeper dive segments "Deep Dish CPG", public speaking engagements, and any of my new and current thoughts that I record specifically for this audio experience!

Leave a review on iTunes and let me know what you think! Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/joshua-schall/support

    [MONDAY MINUTE] Pizza and Beer | Perfect Gastronomic Pairing to Bold Co-Branding CPG Strategy

    [MONDAY MINUTE] Pizza and Beer | Perfect Gastronomic Pairing to Bold Co-Branding CPG Strategy

    Pizza and Beer. We take the pairing for granted…despite it being a must-have at any party and a marriage ingrained in our gastronomic culture. The simple and humble combination of pizza and beer represents more than the sum of its parts…which is especially true when we look at it through a recently announced bold co-branding lens. Nestlé-owned pizza brand Tombstone is teaming up with New Belgium to create pizza-flavored Voodoo Ranger IPA. Without a doubt this product collab is awesome…but how do we make the tie-up even more impactful? I’d utilize Tombstone as the anchor by securing an end cap in the frozen foods section. Then, I’d add a flashy (but small) floor display with the pizza-flavored beer next to the coolers. And for good measure…offer customers a coupon when they buy both products together. Now enjoy!


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    • 52 sec
    Grocery Merchandising Strategy Evolution | Buster Houston (Albertsons) Interview | The Beverage Forum

    Grocery Merchandising Strategy Evolution | Buster Houston (Albertsons) Interview | The Beverage Forum

    As the largest proposed supermarket merger in U.S. history remains expectedly tied up because of an ongoing FTC antitrust lawsuit, it’s totally understandable that speculation continues to build around if a combined Kroger-Albertsons will have a significant effect on how CPG brands do business with the new retailer. And while I have a multitude of my own theories of how this mega-merger plays out, worrying about my version of the future isn’t as actionable as hearing today’s reality directly from source. That’s why I asked the VP of National Merchandising at Albertsons Companies, Buster Houston, to breakdown many important “art and science” aspects of the grocer’s merchandising strategy…including his “locally great and nationally strong” metric. We also talked through how startup CPG brands can improve their attractiveness when trying to court Albertsons, but also what it takes to outperform competitors when given store placements. Additionally, we run through a few recent standout CPG brands that exceeded expectations…including how the grocer partnered with Mr. Beast for one of his most viral YouTube videos. Our conversation was fast-paced, entertaining, and filled with lots of insights…so I hope you enjoy.


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    • 14 min
    $206 Million Hydration Supplement Brand LMNT Expands into RTD Format | Beverage Identity Crisis

    $206 Million Hydration Supplement Brand LMNT Expands into RTD Format | Beverage Identity Crisis

    Ready-to-mix (RTM) powder to ready-to-drink (RTD) liquid format expansion could very well become the dominant build model process amongst functional beverage entrepreneurs…though a recent hydration category example could be elemental in proving my strategic thesis correct. While I might be a bit biased considering my professional background, I believe the sports nutrition space has always been the “often imitated, never duplicated” influential epicenter of all ingestible CPG categories. But many years ago…when I said things like “the best and brightest sports nutrition brands could compete against any large CPG incumbent when it comes to functional food and beverage,” it got its fair share of laughs. But then the massive mainstream success of Bang Energy happened in the late-2010s…and suddenly, my early conviction around a non-consensus view began to not look so crazy. Moreover, it also consciously (or subconsciously) inspired many sports nutrition brand entrepreneurs to take the leap from powder supplements to beverage. And though it’s several years behind the energy category’s “changing of the guard,” the same “RTM powder to RTD liquid” strategic format expansion playbook is starting to pick up momentum within the hydration category. Yet, my “beverage identity crisis” thesis within the hydration category still needed that one “mega brand” example to really catapult it forward. What I didn’t know at the time was that a month later, LMNT would announce on its social media that after two years in development, the brand would launch LMNT Sparkling Electrolyte Water, an RTD version of its extremely popular powdered stick pack hydration supplement. According to audited financial numbers filed with the SEC, LMNT generated just over $206 million in net sales for the 2023 calendar year (up 162% YoY). In terms of profitability, LMNT had gross margins of 56.7% in 2023. And I give them major kudos for the initial online launch strategy, but the sports drink market isn’t won or lost over transactions on Shopify and/or Amazon. So, despite the perfectly controlled launch execution and online commercialization strategy…LMNT still needs to address its next big challenge within the packaged beverage commercialization gauntlet, expanding into large wholesale channels. Though by saying that, I’m not advocating that LMNT should go too-wide too-fast with that sales channel expansion. In fact, LMNT is sitting pretty right now…generating close to $42 million in net income last year. That means they can “fund” the digital-first beverage strategy and fail forward as they learn the offline retail sales and beverage distribution game. Similarly, LMNT has been frugal and scrappy in how it raised outside capital, which limits pressure to be aggressive for liquidity event timeline purposes. But saying all that…I think LMNT should consider a strategic investment from an industry leader that has the expertise and resources that can enable the brand to scale more effectively in this next format and channel diverse phase. Nutrabolt (owner of C4 Energy) wants to build the health and wellness version of Unilever. While some portfolio expansion might come from internal brand development, I believe most will happen because of accretive deal making and full-on acquisitions that extends Nutrabolt into more key consumer-driven wellness platforms. While Bloom Nutrition was Nutrabolt's first minority investment…it won’t likely be its last, and maybe LMNT would be a great second act to get more exposure to the hydration category.


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    • 14 min
    Mayawell Can Authentically Disrupt the Prebiotic Soda Market | The Rise of Functional Soda

    Mayawell Can Authentically Disrupt the Prebiotic Soda Market | The Rise of Functional Soda

    Doesn’t it seem every beverage category is not what it used to be…as consumers are drinking up beverages that have benefits beyond just quenching their thirst. Even the largest (most sacred) packaged beverage categories are no longer safe…as carbonated soft drinks volume have been declining for much of the last decade. Consumers continue to move closer towards this four-way intersection of taste, convenience, nutrition, and functionality. And functional sodas…that often have a focus on adding prebiotics, plant fiber, or botanicals to support gut health, fit right squarely in the middle of that! What has always made this emerging category so intriguing to me stems from the fact that consumers can make a healthier choice without really changing a lot of their typical behavior. That’s a slam dunk in my world, but this story isn’t only being told by functional soda brands like Olipop and Poppi. In fact, I believe I’ve found the hidden gem of the entire category. And in the episode, I’ll be chatting with the co-founders of Mayawell…Vicente Reyes and Oliver Shuttlesworth. Beyond sharing some founding story details, we discuss the inspiration for the Mayawell product composition and why that differentiation is an important foundational pillar. We also talk frankly about the early ups and downs that startups face when operating within nascent beverage categories. And why marketplace maturity sometimes provides the clarity needed to make bold branding adjustments that bring the entire strategic narrative to life. Moreover, we breakdown the functional soda categorical evolution that now sees Mayawell (and others) taking closer aim at Big Soda. But these are just a few of the fascinating topics within our recent conversation…


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    • 42 min
    [MONDAY MINUTE] DUDE Wipes, Cleveland Browns "Crappy" Quarterbacks, & CPG Industry Trade-In Promotions

    [MONDAY MINUTE] DUDE Wipes, Cleveland Browns "Crappy" Quarterbacks, & CPG Industry Trade-In Promotions

    Over the last dozen years as a CPG industry strategist, I’ve seen A LOT of “trade-in promotions” used across different product categories to meet different business objectives. Maybe a CPG brand wants to support its sustainability credentials through recycling incentives. Or maybe it’s focused around rewarding customer loyalty when exchanging an older product version. Though often it’s utilized when a CPG brand believes it has a superior product to categorical incumbents that’s unnoticed by the market. As an example, Heyday Canning recently created a pop-up shop that allowed visitors to exchange a competitor’s product for a can of Heyday Beans. Alternatively, the most unique recent example of a trade-in promotion was when Cleveland Browns sponsor, DUDE Wipes, gave fans a chance to swap out their old jersey from any of the previous crappy 37 quarterbacks for a new white jersey.


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    • 58 sec
    MusclePharm is Brightest Brown Crayon in the Box | FitLife Brands 2024 Q1 Update

    MusclePharm is Brightest Brown Crayon in the Box | FitLife Brands 2024 Q1 Update

    Is there a hidden meaning behind FitLife Brands calling MusclePharm “our most significant organic growth opportunity”? For those unaware, the supplement brands that are within the FitLife Brands portfolio are now categorized in four segments…NDS Products (which are a collection of brands mostly sold in the GNC franchise system), iSatori Products (which are a collection of brands sold through a diversified retail mix), Mimi’s Rock Corporation Products (which are a collection of brands mostly sold on Amazon), and then MusclePharm Products (which was acquired on October 10, 2023). In total, the FitLife Brands portfolio is sold through more than 20,000 retail locations globally. In the first quarter of 2024, FitLife Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: FTLF) had revenues of $16.5 million…which was up 54% YoY. On face value that obviously looks impressive, but you had both the Mimi’s Rock and MusclePharm acquisitions that happened in 2023 and greatly impacted the comparable growth percentage. If you look at the revenue from a QoQ perspective, FitLife Brands revenues increased around 24%. While there's strategic initiatives going on at legacy FitLife Brands and Mimi's Rock, the most intriguing segment within FitLife Brands is also currently its smallest...MusclePharm. In the first quarter of 2024, MusclePharm segment revenue was $2.1 million. And if you were wondering about YoY comparatives, let’s just say the Eric Hilman run MusclePharm bankrupt version outsold this current version. But that’s probably an apples-to-oranges comparison because Eric Hillman was focused on survival by any means necessary, and FitLife Brands is attempting to make strategic business decisions that support and optimize long-term growth. Despite that, MusclePharm revenue on Amazon is growing MoM, with platform subscriber growth continuing to be strong. And what might be helping that of late is the return of MusclePharm Combat protein bars that were relaunched in April. But I’m fearing that FitLife Brands might be getting excited about early indicators of sales performance, getting overly-confident, and might be getting caught up in the last (and biggest) part of that old MusclePharm sales playbook. And CEO Dayton Judd even had to take jabs last quarter's comments I made about “launching more and more products” before then in the same breath going mentioning FitLife Brands was exploring the product format “no-no zone” I talked about with RTD beverages...whether that's an energy drink or protein shake. But I'll breakdown all the strategic elements within the recent FitLife Brands announcement...including how it impacts projected margins and how that relates to FitLife Brands future supplement industry M&A strategy overall.


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    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

tlo004 ,

Weekly must

Insights, information, and news that is beyond the headlines. Joshua gives the nuanced version of trends, financial reporting and marketing within the health, nutrition and high growth CPG markets.

Andrew Calvino ,

5 star informative

Joshua gives such great insight into what’s happening within the supplement space & many other industries, also I appreciate how he breaks down information so everyone can understand the subject matter is he is speaking about

Mdjcks ,

Easy listens packed full of juicy content!!!

Highly recommend

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