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More than JUST Egg: How Tom Rossmeissl and Eat Just Spearheaded a New CPG

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Usually, marketers are fighting amongst their peers to generate brand awareness in an already saturated market. How does a camera maker get its latest product to stand out from 15 similar devices? How does a new automaker enter a market to steal customers who might already be loyal to one brand or another? Every marketer has strategies in his or her toolkit for these types of moments, but what happens when you’re literally inventing a market and the only competition you have is yourself?

“We’re a brand new product, and we’re a brand new category. It’s not about how do we get incremental sales away from a competitor and into the plant-based egg space. We have to raise awareness that a plant-based egg exists, that it’s delicious, but it’s called JUST egg.”

Tom Rossmeissl is the Head of Global Marketing for Eat Just, a company that develops and markets plant-based alternatives to conventionally produced eggs. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Tom details the trials and tribulations the company went through when developing its plant-based eggs, and he describes the uphill climb the company is still trekking as it continues building brand awareness and getting consumers to change their eating behaviors. He also reveals the influencer marketing strategies the company has deployed to help consumers make the switch to a healthy, sustainable, plant-based diet. Enjoy.

Main Takeaways

  • Pick-Up On Aisle Three: When you’re in the CPG space, it’s important to have a full understanding of how your product can succeed while also being able to manage your inventory to maintain your profit margins. For JUST, a relatively expensive product compared to its competitors, this has meant holding off moving to a direct to consumer model while the brand grows.
  • Changing Consumer Behaviors: Marketers cannot rely on consumer’s to make their buying decisions just on their value proposition. While marketers would like those same consumer’s to make purchase decisions based on the environment, the reality is when it comes to CPG brands consumers will still spend their money based on what they believe is good value.
  • Wait, What? When you’re managing multiple brands, it’s important to draw a line and make a clear distinction between the two brands. When consumers see brands, especially in the CPG space, you want them to have a clear understanding of the way each product is produced and what it represents, as opposed to drawing their own conclusions.

Key Quotes:

“The headline for me is how do we build the world’s first global egg brand? That may sound ambitious or crazy, but if you think about it, there is no global egg brand.”

“We’re a brand new product, and we’re a brand new category. It’s not about how do we get incremental sales away from a competitor and into the plant-based egg space. We have to raise awareness that a plant-based egg exists, that it’s delicious, but it’s called JUST egg.”

“We’re cold storage, so doing direct-to-consumer is something we’ve thought about and decided not to do right now. The logistics and cost in terms of shipping a frozen or refrigerated product is tough. We have done a fair amount of ecommerce work, linking out to Walmart, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Kroger. These retail platforms that do have grocery pickup and grocery delivery have been important.”

“It was very important to us early on to be in the egg-set the same way it was important for Beyond to be with conventional meat. We’re lucky to have gotten there. When someone’s looking at shelled eggs and they’re thinking about what they want to buy to make the omelet for them the next morning, we’re right there raising awareness. Just letting people know, driving trial, sampling, raising awareness.”

“We started as a company with this goal — if you go back to 2011, 2012, the idea of can we find a plant that would scramble like an egg sounds crazy. That was before Beyond or Impossible, or the penetration we’ve seen from plant-based dairy. That was our goal and it was done because eggs are the most ubiquitous protein in the world. 1.4 trillion chicken eggs per year. Can we find a plant that can do that?”

“The most important thing for us is taste. We can expect consumers to do the right thing, or to care about sustainability, and health, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t taste good, it’s going to be hard to build a company and a brand.”

“This is something people don’t buy once a month, or once a quarter. It’s something they buy once a week and that they eat every morning. That’s the way that we’re able to achieve our mission. So our focus without question has shifted really toward JUST Egg.”

“The reason we launched the GOOD Meat brand separate from the JUST brand is about making sure we’re not creating any consumer confusion. We don’t want to have our consumers confused about which of our products are cultivated and which of our products are plant-based. If you look at the branding, we maintained the frame logo that you see between the JUST Egg brand and a GOOD Meat brand, but they’re called different things because we want to make sure our consumers understand the difference between JUST Egg and GOOD Meat.”

Bio

Tom Rossmeissl is a marketing executive and media strategist and is currently the Head of Global Marketing at Eat Just, Inc. Under Tom’s’ leadership, the company’s marketing team helped establish a new CPG category — plant-based eggs — and expanded it into the fastest growing plant-based category in the U.S. JUST Egg is now the fastest growing egg brand in America and is expanding into additional global markets.

Prior to working at Eat Just, Thomas was a Partner at Trippi Norton Rossmeissl Campaigns, a political media and advocacy agency.

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Episode 227