October 25, 2021
Samantha Johnston

Crisp powers demand planning at No Evil Foods

Part of our Customer Spotlight series, featuring brands on the Crisp platform and their growth stories.

An alternative take on alt-meat

In 2014, punk-rock music fans and avid DIY-ers Mike and Sadrah were searching for plant-based meat made with simple ingredients. Unsatisfied with the options available in stores, they decided to try making their own. When they arrived at the Asheville, NC farmers market with their first cooler full of plant meat, they sold out on the first day. So Mike and Sadrah began to sell their new proteins at local health food stores, and then at regional Whole Foods locations. Before long, No Evil Foods was a national retail brand with a mission to build a better food system. After a hit debut at Expo West in 2017, they signed to a host of conventional retailers across the country, and their do-good, plant-powered products are now the second-fastest growing brand in the natural channel. 

A bold mission needs accurate intel

Committed to being a sustainable brand in every sense, No Evil Foods is constantly seeking ways to tighten operations and offset its impact. And in an increasingly crowded plant-based space, they also stay on their toes to optimize retail distribution and innovate on new product ideas. To keep things moving forward, Chief Growth Officer Ron Bryant was “mining” syndicated data for accurate insights to drive the business, but found the retail portals unusable and difficult to get store-level data from. As a result, the company was regularly missing plan on their sales and operations forecast. So Ron decided to look at Crisp. 

The revolution will be digitized

With Crisp, Ron has dramatically improved No Evil Foods’ sales and operational planning. He overlays distribution by SKU onto store-level velocity numbers and promotions to create a forecast that has been 99% accurate over the past six months. This has allowed Ron’s team to refine their sales plan, improve production processes, and increase cash flow. More accurate sales numbers have also helped No Evil Foods become the world’s first Plastic Negative Certified plant-based meat brand. The team uses up-to-date sales data to purchase plastic credits and efficiently source raw materials for their sustainable packaging. It’s been especially important for distributor relationships, where it’s not always easy to get a crystal-clear picture of distribution and sales.

“Products can easily get lost on the shelf with hundreds of other brands. Crisp helps us stay top of mind with retailers to maintain stock, and that makes our business.”

Shelby Sinoway, Account Manager

Ron’s team also uses Crisp insights to maintain and grow distribution. Account Manager Shelby Sinoway monitors store retention to detect dropped accounts, identify their last order date, and follow up with brokers or buyers about re-orders. She explains, “Products can easily get lost on the shelf with hundreds of other brands. Crisp helps us stay top of mind with retailers to maintain stock, and that makes our business.” The team also makes use of backfilled data in Crisp. To execute a recent product and packaging change, Shelby used historical data in Crisp to find all retail customers who previously ordered the SKU and provide them with the updated UPC code and name. She recalls, “I joined the company a few months ago, and Crisp gives me data to backtrack in time. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have that historical context.” 

To make the case for new business, the team looks for distribution gaps and monitors regional sales trends, information they can send on to their broker team. In a conversation with a club retailer about regional opportunities, Ron exported a list of sales by zip code to send his own geographic analysis to the buyer. With a growing product line, they also use data to optimize regional assortments – noticing, for instance, that their pulled pork product is selling particularly well in Whole Foods locations throughout the South.

“We don’t want to be a follower”

With a big mission to bring plant protein to all, the No Evil Foods team isn’t slowing down any time soon. They’re innovating on new products that replace whole cuts of meat, a differentiator alongside so many ground meat and burger offerings. They have three new SKUs set to debut at Expo West, including a beef strip, two sauced ready-to-heat meats, and beef jerky coming next year. “The last thing we want to be is a me-too,” says Ron. “We don’t want to be a follower in this category.” And you better believe these data power users have looked at consumer insights to inform their innovation. Next, they plan on combining this consumer data with retail data to unlock a whole new level of innovation.

To learn more about how data can help your brand grow, contact us for a demo. For more inspiring stories from Crisp brands, subscribe to the blog

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