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About the Client:
DreamPak® is a turnkey developer and manufacturer of shelf-stable liquid drink mix innovations, including coffee, creamers, water enhancers, and dietary supplements, which are packaged into a wide variety of formats. The company was established in 2000 by Dr. Aly Gamay who holds over 15 patents in the food & beverage space. We serve the market primarily through contract manufacturing partnerships with leading national brands, however recently DreamPak® has established its own Sales, Marketing, and Distribution organization tasked with introducing branded innovations in the Retail (mainly grocery) market. DreamPak’s® brands, including Splash of Cream, Press’d, and Swirl, can now be found at over 650 supermarket locations nationwide, including Albertson’s, Safeway, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, and Save Mart.
In a beverage industry where the dominant delivery formats are Ready-to-Drink (RTD) and powdered drink mixes, DreamPak has built a name for itself in the white space of shelf-stable liquid concentrates which are diluted with water at the point of consumption. This technology essentially combines the benefits of powders (shelf-stability concentrated format) with the advantages of RTD (liquid format) without the central drawbacks (powders are notorious for clumping, difficulty dissolving, and messiness; RTD beverages represent a burden on the entire supply chain given the large volumes of liquid). Conversely, liquid drink mixes are very easy to combine with water to achieve a final liquid format that avoids draining the supply chain. Further, our liquids are highly-concentrated so that just a small amount of liquid yields a finished beverage that compares in quality and taste to the leading RTD offerings. Perhaps most importantly, refrigeration is never required during the life of the product.
Our shelf-stable by formulation methodology for preserving liquids allows us to bypass the dilemma that direct competitors face in sacrificing taste, texture, and aroma in the name of safety/stability. Under this technique, the concentrate is preserved via Low Water Activity (Aw) and/or High-Acid/Low-pH methods which are the principal methods for food & beverage preservation recognized to protect against spoilage. While the microbiological stability of food items can be realized with a liquid formulation, in theory, the traditional approaches require costly and complicated manufacturing techniques, namely Aseptic or Ultra-High Treatment (UHT) processing, which involves exposing the product to extremely high temperatures in order to kill off and prevent the potential growth of pathogens. This methodology adds tremendous cost during the supply chain which must, in turn, be passed on to the end consumer, requires retailers to merchandise the items in highly-competitive refrigerator and freezer spaces, and forces the consumer to refrigerate the product immediately upon purchase in order to maintain the safety and quality of the liquid.
Similar to the beverage market described in the previous section, the food industry’s current offerings reflect the technological limitations of suppliers. These companies rely exclusively on the development and manufacturing of powdered mixes or Ready-to-Eat (RTE) offerings rather than shelf-stable liquid solutions. From a development and manufacturing perspective, dry mixes have been overwhelmingly-preferred to liquids given the safety (microbiological), organoleptic (taste, texture & aroma), and functionality (i.e. mixability) qualities of the delivery format. The main alternative to dry mixes in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) food space is RTE products that usually require freezing and thawing before consumption. The major drawbacks here are the low-quality perception and lack of shelf-stability.
DreamPak aims to bridge the gap between the current market offerings by introducing a ‘best-of-all-worlds’ food technology which merges the benefits of shelf-stability for center-store sales with the appeal of ‘ready-to-eat’ frozen offerings, as well as the high-quality perception of liquid batters. The ‘Baking & Dessert Mixes’ of the U.S. retail category is currently valued at nearly $4 billion, of which the ‘Pancake/French Toast/Waffle Mixes’ make up roughly $425 million. The two dominant sub-segments of powdered mixes and Ready-to-Eat (RTE) offerings. Our shelf-stable pancake batters enjoy a more premium position than ‘powdered mixes’, and they are also the natural end state of all powdered mixes before they are heated and served. By starting with the batter instead of working towards it, consumers are freeing themselves up to focus on the more value-added and enjoyable parts of the baking experience (i.e. heating, serving and eating rather than preparing ingredients, mixing and cleaning). Our batter can also be added to a plate or bowl and heated in the microwave for less than one minute. This microwave-friendly application allows users to compete head-to-head against the RTE frozen breakfast category given the lack of preparation and nearly instantaneous gratification.
DreamPak’s offerings will be the first all-in-one, shelf-stable, liquid, ready-to-cook pancakes in the U.S. breakfast market. Its primary form factor will be stand-up multi-serving bottles (think refrigerated condiments) that can be squeezed directly onto the griddle/pan or in a microwave-safe plate. There is absolutely no refrigeration required, no need for mixing ingredients or any other form of preparation, and no clean-up or mess associated with traditional powdered pancake mixes. Each 16oz. unit yields about 22 standard-sized pancakes and is intended for at-home use. The brand name Mr. Batter’s has already been registered and filed by DreamPak. Our initial strategy for the brand is to approach select retailers who will support the new platform and prepare it for eventual national distribution. Similar to our success in the beverage category in building distribution and relationships with retailers from scratch, we intend to rapidly add points of distribution at U.S. supermarkets with the goal of reaching 1,000 by the end of Year 1. DreamPak’s biggest challenges in reaching its distribution objectives will be a limited Marketing budget ($50,000-$100,000 in Year 1), educating consumers with strong preparation habits for at-home breakfast items, and the presence of a few dominant brands in the category that will likely fight vigorously to maintain their positions (i.e. Bisquick & Aunt Jemima for pancake mixes and Eggo’s for RTE pancakes).
For the purposes of this course, we intend to focus exclusively on how the habits, experiences, and behaviors of consumers in the shelf-stable breakfast category present both opportunities and challenges for success. The ultimate objective is to tailor Mr. Batter’s marketing communication and brand experience to align perfectly with the consumer experience. We are seeking from your group supplemental research and insights regarding the “breakfast” category which includes but is not limited to an understanding of the “detractors” and the “promoters” of consumers’ breakfast eating habits/ buying experience (shopping, and buying dry mixes and RTE pancakes).
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