If you, like I do, cringe at the idea of trying a milk-alternative beverage for the first time, you’ll have been ignoring Global Gardens (VGM.C) for the past eight months.
Almond milk? Cashew milk? Soy milk? The texture is all wrong, the taste is odd, and the amount of water needed to grow almonds and cashews really doesn’t make those options environmentally friendly.
So yeah – Veggemo? A beverage made from pea protein, cassava tapioca and potato starch?
At first glance, ew. But then, when you look deeper… hmmm.
Avoidance of Global Gardens over the last eight months has been for the best, frankly. Though the company has a lactose-free, vegan-friendly, non-dairy beverage product that I’ve tried and actually enjoyed, and which has been getting a nice foothold in stores nationwide, the shares opened too high and have drifted southward in the time since.
The company, meanwhile, has been doing what it said it would do. The product is good (shockingly), they’ve been out there offering taste tests to consumers, and they’ve quickly managed to actually get the product on store shelves, at Save-On Foods, IGA Marketplace, London Drugs, Price Smart, Choices Market, Thrifty Foods, Metro, Sobeys, Longos, and – oh yeah – Wal-Mart.
And it’s on-trend: Veggemo is dairy and lactose free, cholesterol free, gluten free, non-GMO, soy free, vegan friendly and kosher.
What? No halal?!
Veggemo is, essentially, this:
Today came news that, for the first time in a while, jacked up the share price. Though it was low on actual sales numbers, the company announced a 252% revenue jump in Q2 over the previous quarter. That resulted in a 21.4% stock increase, up $0.015 to $0.085, giving the company a $4m market cap.
I talked to the CEO of Global Gardens a few weeks back for a podcast (that my computer duly ate, resulting in the need for a new computer that hadn’t been thrown through my office wall), and came away convinced that the company was doing great things in getting market penetration as quickly and completely as it has, and that upcoming plans to release refrigerated products are going to really move this company forward.
Here’s the thing: Refrigerated non-dairy beverages don’t have the preservatives the on-shelf products do, so they’re preferred, higher priced, and in a much more competitive space shelf-wise. But they’re more expensive to make, and you don’t want to send out a boatload of product that may expire before people pick it up, thereby crippling your company before it begins.
So the Global Gardens plan was to get the long life product on shelves where they could get a sense of demand for the product without the risk it would hit its best before dates.
The result of that ‘phase I’ plan has been the company now knows what sells and where, the consumer now knows the product exists and how it tastes, the stores trust the brand to deliver on an order, and the logistics end of things – getting the product made and delivered – is locked in.
Global Gardens has hit its marks. But the stock doesn’t reflect that. Yet.
Today marked a nice turnaround, but the absence of actual sales numbers (the release mentions the percentage increase, but no mention of what that means in dollar terms) means the company may still have some filling out to do.
Opening hands were weak on this stock. They got their warrants and sold at the end of the four month hold, and now the company is largely pushing along without any help from investors and the market.
But it’s standing.
I went to the Veggemo website to see where it’s being stocked and, frankly, was amazed at the penetration. Go see for yourself – stick your postcode in there and you’ll be surprised.
For what it’s worth, I tried the product in November, back in Fabrice Taylor’s investor conference in Nassau, and it was infinitely better than I assumed it would be. I was legitimately surprised. But I didn’t expect to see it on department store shelves for a year or more, because I know players in that space and it’s BRUTAL to get products on shelves, and more brutal still to keep them there.
I know of one (mega large) company in the confectionery space that would have sales reps buy out all of the (local) competitor’s product on the condition the store throw it all in a dumpster out back and replace it with their own product. That’s how cutthroat the retail shelf space game can be. Even when you’re winning, sometimes you’re losing.
So Global Gardens has done the right things to date. That said, Global Gardens was an overpriced stock in January, and April, and maybe even in June, because there’s still some heavy lifting to come.
The stock chart looks terrible – unless you’re looking for the right time to get in.
And, as of today? I see this as the baseline bottom to grow from.
If you believe the dairy alternative space has legs (and I do) and that getting shelf space is the absolute killer for most novel new grocery products (and it is), and you realize that Global Gardens has pushed through that barrier with ease (and it has), all that’s left in terms of risk is, do consumers buy the product?
Frankly, it wouldn’t still be on Wal-Mart shelves if it wasn’t getting play at the pointy end of the retail chain.
I don’t work for VGM.C, nor have I owned any stock to this date. There’s no business relationship here or conflict of interest. But I may have a play at some point in the next few weeks, especially if I can see some actual retail sales numbers – that is, how often is the product being reordered? How much is coming back?
A 21% jump today isn’t bad. Let’s see if it can continue in the days and weeks ahead.
— Chris Parry