Pink Albatross: why we’re rebranding our vegan ice-cream

Pepe and Luke, the Founders of Pink Albatross, a ProVeg Incubator alumnus from 2019, are having a big year in 2021. We spoke to them about shaking up their go-to-market strategy, launching new flavours, and rebranding their vegan ice-cream company.

Pink Albatross is a name that stands out. This was important for Luke and Pepe when they started their plant-based alt-dairy brand – to go beyond the norm for ‘typical’ vegan products. They want to capture the imagination of consumers, and to attract their attention with clever and creative products. Pink Albatross graduated from the ProVeg Incubator in 2019, and they’ve achieved a lot since then. They’re launching new products and, although they’re keeping the original Pink Albatross name, they’re rebranding their vegan ice-cream products.

Luisa: Can you tell us more about the new products you’re launching, and what you’re focusing on now?

Pepe: One of our goals for 2021 was to review our product portfolio and expand it in terms of flavours, for both the foodservice and retail sectors. The main reason for this was that we wanted to have broader options for customers.

Therefore, we spoke to different customers to see what flavours they wanted to see, and we evaluated what the competition was doing in terms of flavours. What flavours do they offer? What flavours are they selling the most?

With that in mind, we reviewed about 14 flavours and decided on launching five flavors. These are peanut butter with chocolate chips, mango with passion fruit, pistachio, coffee with chocolate and mint with chocolate chips. The latter was quite interesting because it was not on our roadmap at all, but some of the supermarkets we work with mentioned that customers miss a premium mint ice cream with chocolate chips. That’s why we decides on this flavour.

Pink Albatross – mango with passion fruit ice cream

Luisa: What about the process of rebranding Pink Albatross?

Luke: Rebranding is the outcome of a strategic exercise that we went through before entering retail – once you get into retail, you’re appealing to a much broader consumer segment. You lose your personal touch! Suddenly, you’re competing not only with brands, but also with lights, noise, and people, so the attention gets narrowed down. We had to find a way to stand out.

Pepe: We noticed that we needed to have a more compelling story, a better way to communicate to our clients, so that they would feel closer to the brand.

We partnered with an agency and we reviewed every little detail of the branding. We looked at supermarket shelves and figured that most brands have a particular pattern. Plant-based brands, for instance, usually use the colors green, white, and brown. They position themselves as brands that are good for you and the environment. Pink Albatross wants to be detached from that perspective.

We have come up with a new design for our ice cream pots and kept the pink since it’s the colour that represents our brand identity! Therefore, we decided to communicate the flavours through different lids, and, as well as listing the ingredients, they are also drawn on the back of the pots. So everyone knows immediately what’s in them and what’s not.

Luke: We also promoted the name of the flavour as the main focus in the cups, since ice cream is an indulgent purchase. When buying ice cream, people make their purchase decisions based on flavour, not brand.

Rebranding is an exercise. It’s more than just redesigning the graphic elements – it’s about redefining your brand identity. It’s a reflection of who you are, what do you stand for, and what you want people to think of you.

Pink Albatross – pistachio ice cream

Luisa: What was your strategy during the Corona pandemic? What has changed for Pink Albatross?

Pepe: The Corona pandemic actually affected us a lot. In 2019, we did our first go-to-market strategy connected to food service. We were manufacturing in a partner manufacturer, which was artisanal and had low capacity. We also had issues with the manufacturer – they were producing our ice cream and keeping all our stock. And when the pandemic started, they shut down the facilities because they had no customers.

So, basically, we could no longer manufacture anymore and we lost our biggest client. At that point, we had to change our strategy completely. We went from artisanal manufacturing to industrial manufacturing, from having no logistics problem to have to deal with logistics of a frozen product, independent of the manufacturing facility. With the new machinery, we had to change our recipes as well as shift our scale. As a result, we’ve been able to reduce our recommended retail price for the final consumer. Basically, thanks to corona 0r because of corona, we changed everything.

Luisa: What have you learned from your startup experience that you wish you had known earlier?

Luke: In the beginning, you develop this false notion that you’re too expensive. But if there is value in what you’re offering, people will be willing to pay. However, even though people may be willing to pay a premium for your product, first you need to convince the retailer.

It doesn’t matter if your product is cheap or expensive if people won’t see it because it’s not on the shelves. For me, one important learning is to work as hard as you can to achieve a certain economy of scale and lower your price earlier, rather than later, since it has a strong impact on consumer adoption.

Pepe: Understanding that your customer is not only the end-purchaser, but also the person in the middle of the chain. We understood how specialty stores operated and how small restaurants operate. However, we didn’t have a broader understanding of how supermarkets work. This was one of the key learnings from the last few months. If you don’t understand this relationship, you’re not going to get your products onto supermarket shelves.

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