Q&A with the brand and marketing gurus from Nucleus Maximus

Nucleus Maximus work with leading food and beverage brands to cut through the clutter and help them drive sales by refining their brand strategy, product positioning and package design. At FoodBytes! in Boulder, Colorado, pitch companies met with Adam Spriggs, founder of Nucleus Maximus, during a mentor session. Adam will talk through his tips on branding and packaging and give the companies recommendations on how to better position their products to consumers.

F&A Next: Tell us a bit about the beginnings of Nucleus Maximus

Adam Spriggs: I’ve always worked at agencies that partner with food and beverage brands in one creative capacity or another – be it branding, package design or product development  so I’ve pieced together a wide vantage point of what works and what doesn’t work in grocery.

Two years ago I started Nucleus Maximus and put my own perspective and theories into action. We focus on brand strategy, helping companies understand how to capture what their story to the marketplace should be. We also specialize in package design, helping these brands understand how and why shoppers make purchase decisions in-store and designing packaging that wins sales while on the shelf.

F&A Next: How do you work with startups in the food & ag industry and beyond?

AS: It’s more fun and rewarding to work with companies who have something new to bring to the table – so naturally we gravitate toward working with startup-minded companies.

We’re not doing much on the B2B side with food ag and food tech, but I’m curious to dig in at the event and learn more about these sectors and what these brilliant startups are up to. I think there are parallels between what we can offer food-related startups on all fronts.

For one, we work with a lot of startup CPG brands whose biggest challenge lies in identifying the clearest way to present what they offer to a marketplace short on attention and overrun with clutter. Within the food and ag tech space you have brands who are bringing new offerings and propositions to market, so in a way they face a similar challenge, choosing the best way to present brave new ideas to people that really have no precedence or context to compare it to.

F&A Next: What do you look for when deciding which companies to work with?

AS:  We get excited about products first. We’re looking for ideas that are aimed at an opening or opportunity in the marketplace that we can all see instinctively.

Assuming that’s in place, we really want to feel confident about the leadership and the team behind the product. We want to be a part of brands that are going to make a name for themselves. A timely product is one thing, but if we don’t have faith in the leadership and focus of key team members – we’ll pass.

F&A Next: FoodBytes places a special emphasis on increasing food sustainability. Apart from sustainability what other key trends are you seeing among food and ag startups?

AS:  There’s so many that are worth a mention but let’s go with something related to sustainability – food waste. People in our industry have been reading about this for a while now, particularly in regard to the challenges and opportunities in restaurant and foodservice circles. Back To The Roots was one of the first examples of a CPG brand repurposing food waste for good and for profit (coffee grinds as potting soil). But now, we’re seeing brands like Forager repurpose the leftover pulp fiber from their cold pressed juices into snack chips, and they’re amazing!

F&A Next: What do you see as the most pressing problem in food and ag at the moment?

AS:  Speaking from the heart, it’s a conflict of interest between what the new consumer wants and how the established industrialized food system operates. The powers that be – the biotech companies, big-time growers and ranchers, big CPG corporations – they’ve all been resistant to change and wielded their influence to maintain a status quo that favors their interests.