retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fortune has a story about how the top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies in the last five years have lost $18 billion worth of market share ... largely driven by millennials who have a greater desire for transparency about the foods they eat and the companies they patronize, and small companies that are using their ability and desire to be more nimble and transparent to attract consumer dollars.

Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky told a recent session at the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit that because consumers are shopping with their smartphones and have a wealth of information available about the food they buy, "they can now make smarter choices on the spot.” And, she said, "Consumers look to us to innovate ... We can make changes really, really fast. Retailers are coming to us asking, ‘What’s going to be the next big thing in food?’”

It is a recognition of this "shifting center of gravity" that has led Campbell Soup president/CEO Denise Morrison to not only work to be more transparent about the company's portfolio of products, but also try to develop a new cultural model: "“At Campbell’s, we talk about being the biggest small company," she said.

And, when Campbell's has acquired smaller companies for their products and innovative cultures, it has meant that it "kept all the founders at the four companies we acquired because they brought us great adrenaline.”
KC's View:
I really like Morrison's "shifting center of gravity" metaphor, mostly because it lends itself to a natural extension ... that companies have to become more weightless, and not be bogged down by legacy issues, by sacred cows that inhibit innovation, and by expectations that they'll do business a certain way because that how it's always been done.

This is true in every industry, and within virtually every company. If you don't, you become vulnerable to disruptive competition .... and finally, to obsolescence and irrelevance.

Go weightless or go home.

(By the way ... think of this in the context of this morning's Eye-Opener ... and how companies have to be nimble enough to cater to all those folks who are having dinner alone in restaurants.)