Ground Up Thinking: How Hampton Creek reached Wal-Mart From a Niche Idea in a Niche Industry

Hampton Creek has done very little according to the books. To reach Wal-Mart, they developed a niche product. To reach retail superstores, they began in the food service industry. Nothing they have done has been traditional in any sense of the word. Partly because of this, the company is now labeled as one of the most successful plant-based food brands in the country.

It was a series of daring moves that placed the company on the map. But, it is the actions of innovators such as Hampton Creek that have made vegetarian and vegan food options as popular as they are now. The company never seized on reaching mainstream success immediately. They began from the ground in 2011 and appealed to a small market. Enthusiasts can find more information about Hampton Creek and the company’s history by visiting the detailed Wikipedia page or the official website.

Hampton Creek has played it smart. They are appealing to a younger demographic who traffics in some alternative places. These may not be the people who are floundering in the aisles of the local Wal-Mart. They are writing articles from a fair-trade organic coffee shop. They are blogging about vegan diets while remarking on the disturbing political environment. These are individuals who are loftily progressive and arguably elitist. But, the best of them embrace the future- and what will eventually dig into the mainstream. Hampton Creek is on the cusp of a grand explosion of plant-based foods. Wal-Mart and Target are just two retailers (and arguably the two that most matter) that are placing a lot of stock in plant-based foods. They begin by opening their Hampton creek inventory from one product (Just Mayo) to about 43 over the course of the next five years.

Hampton Creek reached their niche audience through college cafeterias. Their ascent to success was through the people that would most appreciate what they are doing. They emphasized food service- not just retail- and found a more open path to success. All of this has led to wondrous and unprecedented success for a company that began as a quirky innovator in a misunderstood industry.