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Why is Erewhon so important?

What a show! I’ve been in the CPG industry over 26 years and my first EXPO West leaves me with only an expression of WOW!  The crowds and energy at the show were amazing.  Seems like everyone came out of their cave to tell the world “I’m here” and “What are you up to?”

What is an Erewhon?

I was recently made aware of Erewhon from a “Taste Radio” podcast I recently discovered (Taste radio is the podcast platform of BEVNET).  Erewhon is arguably ground zero for the natural foods market industry established in the 60’s.  It’s relationship with the beverage industry is incredible, one of the key incubators for new functions, brands and package innovation (See “Why Vitamin Shoppe is so Important”).   I took my first pilgrimage to Venice Erewhon (There are 7 locations in Southern California) ahead of EXPO West.  Secretly hoping to rub shoulders with Linsday Lohan (no luck), I found so much more!

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Why is Erewhon so important?

What I experienced during my visit was nothing short of a candy store for a CPG and Beverage Geek like myself.   I discovered new ingredients like lions mane mushrooms intended to support mental function and mood.  I discovered new categories and brands such as non-alcohol spirits and a brand called Optimist.  Innovative can branding from brands like Ghia (non alcohol apertif).  New Kombucha brands, new RTD coffee brands, new latte brands and flavors, new tonics, functional water….  I haven’t met the buyers at Erewhon yet (PS Erewhon Buyer DM me) but they are clearly on the cutting edge of function, form and packaging.   I don’t have enough room to talk about the dairy categories. 

 

This is why Erewhon is so important.  Nearly every brand in this store is a start-up, driven by a story about health and wellness for themselves, family or friend.  They have an idea, make a discovery and bet the farm on trying to develop a proof of concept for their brand at Erewhon.   The proverbial “needle” can be found in the Erewhon “haystack”.  If you are a major beverage brand or company, you NEED to understand what is going on with beverage at Erewhon.  Understand what functions, ingredients and brands will define the future trends of the beverage industry.

How do I know what’s going on in “Erewhon” natural channel?

There is an app for that.  Actually, its AI-Image Recognition that feeds the app.  During my visit to Erewhon, I used the technology developed by the Maxerience line of business within the Vision Group to identify the brands represented.   

Technology is normally leveraged by the small guy to out maneuver the big guy.  In this case, technology is leveraged for the big guy to keep track of the up-and-comers.  

For more information on AI- Image Recognition, visit maxerience.com or contact Jason DeRienzo at jderienzo@maxerience.com..

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