Snaxshot #54: Creator Packaged Goods
the new CPG
Snaxshot is a newsletter on upcoming food and beverage trends that offers a curation of brands and aesthetics written by Andrea Hernández.
Snaxshot is ad-free as we are community funded, if you enjoy our content, contribute here. 🤗
Probably one of the most overused terms in the past couple of years —creator economy describes those who have been able to capitalize from their output by leveraging digital platforms such as IG, TikTok, Twitch, Youtube etc, mostly through content creation. Whether amassing audiences that span millions, or opting for niche, creator economy describes the leveling of the playing field when it comes to creating a “brand” that holds the potential of being developed into multi-million if not billion dollar powerhouses in the same way CPG giants have been able to. The creator economy is estimated to be worth $100 billion with almost 50 million “creators” as of 2022 —vastly newbies or amateurs, not everyone has what it takes to transcend beyond their digital platforms, and at a time where platforms are also shaping and dictating what content garners coveted virality and who gets to capitalize on it (see Instagram’s many updates and algorithm changes) this ability has become highly sought after.
It’s been a decade since the blog-era led into the rise of Youtube, Twitch, Instagram, and TikTok influencers from Ninja (gaming) to the MUA-teratti (makeup artists stars like James Charles, Jeffree Star) to the D’Amelios empire being built on appropriated dance moves, the past decade saw social clout compounded yield insanely great monetary gains —views, likes, shares, and most importantly following. What was once reserved for celebrities, became an open field day post influencer era, from makeup empires, to book deals, to … checks notes … becoming WWE wrestlers, there’s nothing that garnering enough attention could not manifest. Another important factor to note would be the pivotal generational shifts, that are the mobile-first generation, where as Millennials grew up with the internet as a novelty, our lives fragmented between IRL and URL, yes you could browse Perez Hilton for celebrity gossip but you were also familiar enough with tabloid magazines, the separation between online and offline existed. GenZ and Gen Alpha, have grown up completely online, being brought up by online platforms from Club Penguin to Minecraft and Fortnite, Youtube, TiktTok as their own version of TV/Film, therefore celebrities as they know them, are strictly native to these platforms.
Tech and a generational shift has brewed the perfect storm that has upended media and in a way almost invert the power dynamics —presenting many an opportunity to capitalize on what BigCPG cannot innovate fast enough, or be culturally relevant on. Almost every industry has seen this, and food and beverage is no outlier here, we are not talking licensing deals a la D’Amelio and Dunkin Donuts or Sabra, we are talking about brand universes built online permeating into F&B to compete with established brands—we’ve talked about brand creation before, how once your core is established, your universe can continue to expand (whether product, partnerships, media) and the gravitational pull remains all the same—how does this look like from a ceator perspective? The two most successful examples at the moment are Mr. Beast’s Feastables noveau Wonka factory and Emma Chamberlain’s chaotic coffee empire.
Feasting with Feastables
With a Youtube audience of 100 million subscribers, it’s no surprise that Mr. Beast has seen Feastables become a success in short amount of time. Feastables sold over 1 million chocolate bars in the first 72 hours of their launch back in January and by summer the brand had achieved sales of over $10 million. Jimmy Donaldson (aka Mr. Beast) enlisted Jim Murray former president of RXBar to be CEO and co-founder of the brand, and set out to raise $5 Million at a $50 million valuation from the likes of Sugar Capital and more. Unlike celebrities, Mr. Beast represents a new kind of brand building, one that serves as a natural extension of himself as the platform—the idea of a plant based, healthy-ish chocolate bar came from his own diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, which limited what he could eat.
Feastables’ marketing is also very true to Beastian culture, being able to tie in product purchases as ways to enter sweepstakes and giveaways at times worth $1 million, a modern day Willy Wonka, purchasing a chocolate brand turns into an extended experience, and a tangible connection to the “creator” that hits better than just a digital interaction, a bit of Mr. Beast in your own home without breaking bank—what I call affordable affluence (more on this later.) For now Feastables has been focusing on chocolate bars, but would not be surprised to see them extend their offerings as they scale, products that remain close to the brand’s gravitational pull while helping extend their universe.
Chamberlain Coffee Collabs
Emma Chamberlain’s cult audience can be credited for taking her iced coffee recipe video and turning it into a brewing CPG empire (pun intended) — Chamberlain Coffee has gone from digital native brand to expanding retail footprint, most recently available at Erewhon market, nationally available at Sprouts and GoPuff. Their products extend beyond coffee blends, instant coffee, single serve steeped bags to matcha powders and creamers, and most recently RTD offerings thanks to SWOON (matcha lemonade) and further taking space at the breakfast table via Off Limits collaboration.
Let’s chat, snax, join our new home, Geneva!
Leading the brand is CEO Christopher Gallant, a former RedBull executive brought into the company last year, they recently announced a $7 Million raise from the likes of Blazar Capital, Nik Sharma and others. And no surprise that there’s interest in being early on Chamberlain Coffee, the brand is strong, as a GenZ cult classic—it’s not surprise that Chamberlain products have become a form of signaling amongst younger GenZ entering workforce, or finishing school. Browsing through the tagged photos of CC, you’ll find proud followers touting their CC tote bags on campus, and un-ironically posting pictures of their iced coffees in CC branded glassware. With Chamberlain Coffee, established CPG taps into a strong cult, and by way of collaborations, CC extends its offerings by partnering with adjacent brands that lend a faster way to “drop” products.
Emma Chamberlain has successfully scaled herself beyond digital channels in the same way Mr. Beast has been able to, by creating products that are natural extensions of themselves that though commodities, have their brand embedded in their DNA, giving it that competitive edge. Whereas brands need to seek out their potential audience and build around their product, this new wave of CPG:creator packaged goods has the advantage of having an eager community first (specially at a time where CAC is so damn high) waiting to be able to support their favorite online personas, one snack or beverage at a time, so long as it feels like you get to indulge in a part of them.
Tale of Two Beverages
So if creators are the new celebrities, then is it safe to assume that we will experience a gold rush in the same way every fucking celebrity owns a tequila brand in 2022? Yes and no, for this I tapped into Zawwar Khan, an ex-Pepsi, Procter and Gamble, executive with extensive CPG experience who now helps creators as they look to dip their toes into this space. Through Rel Brands (relevant brands) Zawwar guides creators through different monetization strategies (see below) and he also helps them match their goals depending on their AMF, or audience market fit.
When discussing audience market fit—Zawwar and I noted the differences between two creator beverage brands —ANI an energy drink by TikTok-ratti Josh Richards and Bryce Hall, who you probably know from SWAY house and for their constant gym-toks that have captivated every Gen Zalpha tween’s heart, and PRIME a beverage brought to you by Logan Paul and KSI, ring rivals turned co-founders. At glance, one could assume that both beverages would draw in a similar type of audience —considering they are both adjacent to “gymbo” (athletic himbo) culture, but further examination would reveal how different the audiences are for these beverages.
When it comes to PRIME, you’ll find hundreds of posts from male Z-Alpha (youngest GenZ, eldest Alpha) in their tweens/early teens proudly snapping PRIME at Walmart aisles or chugging them at their sports practices with the neon bottles front and center, “Prime is the best, no cap” “Prime, sponsor me” the captions read. PRIME has become so coveted, you’ll find posts of folks updating what grocery stores have restocked, “finally got my hands on PRIME” reads a post from a teenager at ASDA, knowing that retailers are the only way to try the brand, considering its online stock is constantly “sold out.”
With ANI, there’s a vastly different audience presented by analyzing their UGC (user generated content) —their brand’s tagged page is flooded with female Z-alphas from tweens to college students—13 year olds (eldest Alpha) will post pictures of themselves holding cases of ANI while their profile’s read “I love you Bryce Hall” posters of Josh and Bryce plastered over their bedroom walls, 14 year olds upload TikToks of them dancing while holding ANI, others upload the squealing lines at Walmart demos where Bryce and Josh are in attendance.
Who would you say has achieved ideal audience-market fit? The energy drink that’s become the equivalent of a signed heartthrob poster to Zalphas or the hydration drink that’s becoming the Gatorade for the new generation? PRIME here has nailed AMF, and would be fair to say can become a serious contender to Gatorade, considering they are tapping into their ideal consumers early on, and that they had much more tighter grip on this cohort than an older brand like Powerade has. Cradle to grave was the OG LTV, and would be safe to say that brands that are able to gain relevance amongst this new generational set, are posed to disrupt and upend legacy brands.
The eldest GenZ are closer to 30 (mid 20s) than they are to teenagedom, a generational shift is upon us, as by 2025 the eldest of Gen Alpha (2010-2025) will have turned 15 years old, the days of Gen Z mockery of the older generations will soon be dethroned by Gen Alpha imparting the same—with Zalphas as the in-betweeners. Most Gen Alpha are children to millennials, they are born extremely online, from their ultrasounds paraded on their parents accounts to their appointed social accounts at time of birth, this generation is one of baby influencer unboxing videos, pretend games are less “kitchen” or “doctor” instead it’s doing pretend “UGC” or makeup tutorials, their version of Club Penguin is in the likes of Roblox and Minecraft —if GenZ had internet as utility, Alphas see internet embedded with their existence.
The growing pains of Alphas are starting to bubble up, you can find TikToks and reels of the generation expressing nostalgia for their Roblox clans as outgrowing them becomes a ritual passage out of tweendom, accounts that are solely Lunchables eaten to the emo-lodic tunes of 2010s Lana del Rey songs, graduating from Shein fits to ARTIZIA, hormones translated into Tumblr-esque collages on Shuffles, switching up your OMG dolls for North West’s favorite slime, opting out of kid’s HINT for “P” Kardashian’s favorite, United Soda’s etc, this generation is all about affordable affluence. Affordable affluence is that $20 Peachy BBies slime that sells out in seconds, making it even more coveted by teenagers, begging the brand to add alternative drop dates, the company that is barely 2 years old, has moved into a 25,000 square foot warehouse to keep up with demand. Affordable affluence is also seen in the likes of getting ahold of PRIME, though it retails for $1.99, it’s scarcity signals just as much as luxe item for this generation. Creator packaged goods are the perfect example of this generation’s need for affordable affluence, and for Gen Alpha’s whose entire life has been lived online, analog is the new luxury.
Want more greedy snaxboi? We curate daily on Instagram.
Important to note as well, that GenZ has been by far the generation with the least brand loyalty, and who can blame them while growing up with consumerism dictated by algorithm trends, this behavior has helped the younger generation opt out of “fitting in” as a whole, GenZ paved the way for “nichecore” to replace trends, aided by algos. Gen Alpha is here to cement the rejection of status quo, by further disenfranchising themselves from algorithm dictated status, enter the return of closed community.
In the early days of the internet (the early 90s) social manifested itself in the likes of web rings — a collection of websites linked together in a circular structure, and usually organized around a specific theme, often educational or social, and Internet forums from IRC to AIM, the common denominator was that ultimately these were closed communities. If you’ve been here long enough, you know where I stand on the internet and the perversion of the psyche from being “exposed to all at once” see Borges’ Library of Babel and this essay I penned on curation as the salvation of the web generation. When social networks sprung, the utopian ideal of connecting all of us was promising, that is until algorithms led to the corruption of the ecosystems, algorithmic individualism has manifested itself in extreme tribalism online, so it would be of no surprise that Gen Alpha is rejecting social networks in lieu of closed networks like Discord, Geneva and even a simple group text. Sitting at a Starbucks earlier this summer I got to listen in on a group of Gen Alpha tweens going over their group chat, curated collectivism reigns supreme amongst them, where they do not have to be subjected to algorithms, or being exposed to ads, or sponsored posts that clutter a feed. In these closed network, socializing is the only end all.
The rise of closed communities has also been manifesting itself in brands that have youth at forefront, take Corteiz as an example. The young London brand has become the ultimate status item amongst youth, with their closed Instagram account that boasts almost 400k followers, and drops that look more like swaps (see the Great Bolo exchange) —the brand is not about signaling through “price” or “brand” instead the pieces resemble a sort of uniform, making it clear that to be in the know is to be part of their community, and less about signaling externally “status” it instead focuses on signaling “shared values.”
As mentioned above, for a generation that was born online, the ability to connect IRL (in real life) is the new sense of luxury, less about wanting to “stand out” this generation is about having a sense of belonging, as we previously unpacked it on “spiritual snax” GenZ and Alpha have been untethering themselves from organized religion, and in the absence, curated communities serve as that replacement that grounds us, in what is most inherently human, a feeling of belonging.
The return of closed communities is important for brands because where as social networks became a platform for you to reach potential consumers, these closer networks upend those dynamics from extractive to equalizing—to be part of the group is to contribute, not just take. The rise of closed communities and “niche” is also indicative of the death of celebrity as we know it—TikTok’s personalized algorithm killed the influencer, considering that amassing followings, likes and views no longer dictate “fame” (see followerflation) and also the Kardashians begging IG to go back to “its origins” the past year has seen a new kind of online clout, the rise of Nimcels.
Rise of the Nimcels
In this in-depth profile of Nimcel (niche internet micro celebrity) Taylor Lorenz offers a peek into internet fame post-D’Amelios and TikTokratti, both made famous by GenZs upbringing, as algorithms adapt to hyper personalization (FYP) and Gen Alpha’s further venturing into niche, it’s only natural to see nimcels become the next permutation of “celebrity” —see corn kid’s recent collaboration with Chipotle and chef Pi’s iconic and controversial pink sauce retail deal with Dave’s Gourmet, though individually these Nimcels cannot compare with “clout” of the likes of Mr.Beast, they are still able to profit from their niche fame. Taylor Lorenz calls this the fragmentation of the attention economy.
As Taylor reports, Nimcels see online fame “as a consequence, not the end goal” —thus ultimately they aren’t building out a following to monetize, but instead they focus on catering and entertaining their niche audience. Evan Britton, founder of Famous Birthdays describes fame as “niche, more community specific” —anyone trying too hard to garner attention or fame therefore does not qualify as a nimcel. The perfect manifestation nimcel in food and beverage was seen this summer at VIDCON.
Jack Colley, creative lead at YouTube, let me know that “Shorts” were originally to be known as “bytes” —as YouTube's new short-form video product, its rising as a competitor to TikTok, with brands reporting better performance on the platform, and even youth-cult brands like Peachy BBies sharing they garner more views on shorts than TikTok and Reels combined. Shorts can be seen as “the best of YouTube, now in a new bite-sized, snackable format” —to celebrate its introduction Jack Colley and team alongside a few creative agencies, created the first of its kind experience at VidCon, a 90's inspired Drive-Thru that served custom Creator snacks, like the equivalent of their Youtube channel “bites.”
All the 18 snacks were completely unique and based on something that makes each creator iconic; an in-joke or reference that only their fans would understand. Benoftheweek is a creator who got famous for pretending to microwave a tin of beans, so for his snack, they worked with spicy beans. Saucy Santana is an Atlanta rapper who has a massive hit 'Material Girl' (pronounced gworllll) so they developed a glittery cereal called Gworl. The whole project (snacks, drive-thru, interactive website, at-home competition...) took 3 months from kickoff to execution. To do it, Youtube enlisted a small global team of designers, along with NY/LA-based CPG branding experts, Saint-Urbain, to take on the brand identity and packaging design duties. The collaborative energy between both internal creative team and creatives allowed them to make sure Youtube Shorts had a variety of styles represented.
Let’s chat, snax, join our new home, Geneva!
Creative Director at Saint Urbain Alex Ostroff related the experience was one-of-a-kind, being able to help creators translate their “vibe” and “experience” through branding that felt native to them and also true to their personas. His agency worked specifically with Saucy Santana, The Valentine Brothers, NEEZY, Nia Sioux and Mac Does it —all represented in the forms of cookies, chocolate bars, gummies, cereal and sour sweets. Ostroff also noted the experience of being able to help a younger, hyper-online generation, get connected in a more analog way. These snacks served as that medium for fans and creators to connect with personally, beyond just a selfie. And though Jack was not keen on my idea that Youtube could turn this into a full fledge experiential park, beyond VidCon, he noted that they were excited to continue to build out more ideas like these, in pro of fans and brands alike.
VidCon encompasses all of the above, a demonstration of this generations need for affordable affluence, the rise of Nimcels, the need for community and tangibility, and offers a glimpse of the future where niche reigns above status quo. What happens when these creator brands hold more power over established CPG legacy brand—and decide to build out empires of their own? YouTube’s most successful exports in Creator Packaged Goods, Mr.Beast and Chamberlain Coffee are examples of how this new generation craves products and in which manners and platforms they feel most comfortable indulging in an ageless ritual —consumption.
A subsidiary of the Snax Television Network
Shhhhhhhhh!!!! My favorite show’s about to start “What’s New, You Ask?”
Today’s feature is brought to you by —the letter Y, the color RED and readers like you.
Nootropic beer because this industry has become a parody of itself.
New spiced rum brand based in UK.
Gen Alpha’s plant based milk.
Non-alcoholic beer based in Australia.
Part of the tequila seltzer gold rush.
Want more greedy snaxboi? We curate daily on Instagram.
Tepache’s popularity is
Spoonful News 🥄
We’re in the Washington Post heralded as a food and beverage oracle.
We’re in the Wall Street Journal discussing drop culture’s permeation into everything.
cuAlmost lost it when Kara Swisher became a declared fan of our Substack!
Canadian beverage, Barbet launches in Foxtrot 👀
In India, you can now do groceries on WhatsApp!
Gatorade debuts it’s caffeinated drink, FAST TWITCH lol.
IMPOSSIBLE launches frozen meals!
TRIP launches a CBD cold brew.
Neutral raises $12M for their carbon neutral dairy.
Snax Concierge 🛎️
🔮 Check out our Geneva for PROMO CODES of your favorites!
🔮 Share with your friends and let them know forecasting trends is the new astrology: