Food Ads: What we can learn from the CPG brands plating up

April 3rd, 2024

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Francesca Nicasio
lineup of funday sweets packets with candy coming out of them on a pink background

Did you know that the global consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry was valued at more than $160.75 billion in the year 2022, and could surpass $244 billion by 2030?

Consumer packaged goods are the everyday items used by people that require frequent replenishment or replacement. This category encompasses a wide range of products including food, beverages, clothing, cosmetics, toilet paper… basically anything that you consume in your household and personal life.

It’s a huge market, which is why in this article we’ll narrow down our focus to the food category.

Trends in the CPG food industry 🍴📈

Over the years, consumers have become more concerned about their nutrition and physical well-being. There’s also growing awareness of the impact that consumerism has on the planet, which is why shoppers want to lead a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. These trends are reflected in the food CPG industry too.

The food and beverage sector in the CPG industry brings in the most sales and there has been a surge in plant-based items in this segment. According to a report by The Plant Based Food Association, more than 40% of American households surveyed bought plant-based milk in 2023.

Another report by Food Market Insights shows that the size of the global plant-based food market was just over $11 billion in 2023. And this is expected to grow even more — 12.2% over the next 10 years.

As such, CPG brands are becoming more sustainable to meet consumer demands. Companies are innovating with packaging to remove as many harmful chemicals as possible and to make it more biodegradable.

All that being said, food composition and product packaging are just one side of CPG companies’ competitive playbook. To capture the market, forward-thinking brands invest in food ads and other marketing initiatives to convey their messaging and attract consumers.

Five food ads that have got our mouths watering 😋

Legacy brands have long dominated the food CPG space. Food advertisements from companies that are part of conglomerates such as PepsiCo, Nestlé, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble can crowd out those from smaller brands.

But there’s been a shift in recent years.

More and more customers are shopping from smaller companies as they feel market leaders have lost touch with their consumer base. Let’s look at a few examples of challenger brands in the CPG food space that have made a mark with their food ads.

Magic Spoon

Breakfast cereal brings back childhood memories and holds a cherished place in the hearts of most Americans. From Cheerios to Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, everyone has a favorite that they passionately defend. It seems almost impossible that a new brand has been able to carve a niche for itself among these cereal behemoths.

This is the story of Magic Spoon. The company touts its cereal as high-protein, gluten-free, and keto-friendly, without compromising on taste. The company has been massively successful in marketing its cereals by targeting health-conscious adults who are nostalgic for their favorite childhood treats.

People want to indulge in their favorite, sugary treats guilt-free and without packing on the pounds. Every Magic Spoon box and all their food ads let customers know that each cereal pack contains 12g of protein with only 3g of carbs and 110 calories.

The brand understood that during the pandemic, people were looking for comfort food and realized that other cereal companies weren’t catering to this consumer base. Their packaging is colorful, fun, and childlike while also highlighting the health benefits of the cereal.

The brand focuses heavily on influencer marketing and has become famous through its sponsorship deals with YouTube creators. Magic Spoon also has excellent print ads with messages about how adults can turn a bad work day into a good one with the help of its flavored cereal. The brand’s video ads are funny and quirky comparing flavorless, healthy cereals to their range of cereal products.

Watch the Magic Spoon campaign here.

Nature’s Fynd

Nature’s Fynd is a company that produces meat and dairy alternatives using Fy Protein — a comprehensive protein containing all 20 amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fy Protein is crafted through Nature's Fynd proprietary method of cultivating and fermenting a particular fungi, yielding an exceptional nutritional source.

In 2021, Nature’s Fynd secured $158 million in funding, drawing the attention of notable investors such as Jeff Bezos and Al Gore.

The company understood that it needed to get the word out there by showing up where consumers are. This is why Nature’s Fynd decided to focus heavily on OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising with striking billboard advertising promising a tasty vegan alternative to meat that has “Fynally” arrived.

The brand also reaches out to consumers by having more people interacting with consumers in person at events. For example, the company makes sure to have a presence at farmers’ markets and events for climate change, vegan food, etc.

Watch one of Nature Fynd's popular TikTok videos here.

Nature’s Fynd also partnered with Tracksuit to understand how its CPG marketing efforts are paying off. As per our analysis, Nature’s Fynd has been successful in educating its target consumer base about why its products are better for the planet.


The meal kit company, Hello Fresh, really took off around 2021 thanks to the pandemic lockdowns. As people were stuck at home, they needed a way to shop for groceries from their home. Moreover, people wanted tasty meals as they could no longer go out to eat. This is where HelloFresh filled the gap.

The brand pushed the message that with its meal kits, grocery shopping and meal prep would become easy and mess-free. HelloFresh also relied on influencer marketing to get the word across that its recipes were developed by professional chefs and catered to all dietary requirements.

The company made sure that it had a presence where its target audience would be. Stuck at home during the lockdowns, most working adults turned to the internet, especially social media, for work and entertainment. So HelloFresh made sure to partner with popular influencers to increase brand awareness.

HelloFresh’s print and digital ads are minimalistic and have one focus — the delicious meals that meal-kit subscribers can prepare in the comfort of their own homes. HelloFresh allows consumers to create restaurant-worthy dishes even if they just have basic cooking knowledge. The brand ensured that this message was consistent across all CPG ads.

Watch the HelloFresh campaign here.


Would you believe that drinking soda can be good for you? It’s well known that Americans love their sodas and many lament the adverse effect that this has on our health. OLIPOP wants to give you a healthier alternative that is also good for your gut health. In the past few years, the brand has managed to go viral on TikTok and earned revenues exceeding $200 million in 2023.

OLIPOP’s packaging is eye-catching with cans in solid, bright colors. The brand also creates a range of 16 nostalgic flavors such as Ginger Ale, Banana Cream, and Tropical Punch. Its food ads are simple — large pictures of OLIPOP cans that tell you the drinks are non-GMO, have only about 5g of sugar per can, and are made of prebiotics, botanicals, and plant fiber.

Apart from TikTok influencers, OLIPOP also partnered with celebrities like singer Camilla Cabello to position its healthy drinks as a lifestyle choice. The brands want to differentiate its beverages from the average soda that conjures up images of unhealthy food choices and bad health.

Take for example this digital ad showing two hands in front of plane windows. One jeweled hand is holding an OLIPOP soda can while the other shows the drink in a champagne glass. The image exudes luxury and health.

Date Better

Ever brought someone home to meet your family and the awkward pauses were just too much? How about the summer fling you thought’d last forever?

Date Better is a healthy food brand that’s leaning into all these relationship experiences to create a cheeky tone of voice that proclaims on their website: “A healthy relationship can be found here!”

They offer a range of delicious dates stuffed with nuts or coated with chocolate, for extremely indulgent yet nutrient-dense snacking.

With smart product bylines like “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” “These dates won't ghost you” and “The flavor you bring home to mom,” this brand is relatable and fun.

On their colorful Instagram page, you can find a range of images which show their product range being uses in a variety of spreads, positioning it as a gourmet snack that belongs on your best cheese board.

Why brand should be the centerpiece of food marketing 🎯

The CPG food market is packed with more or less similar items from hundreds of different brands. On the crowded shelves of a supermarket, what will make consumers pick your products over others? Your brand identity.

According to Surge SMC managing director Tony Trilford, “The only way you stand out in a retail environment is having a brand that people choose to buy over others. That’s why brand strength is critical.”

For example, Oreo is a widely-recognized cookie brand and even if there are millions of other types of cookies out there, people continue to pick up packs of Oreos because of the distinctive brand they have cultivated over many years.

Even when competing with industry giants, smaller companies can capture buyers’ consideration with distinctive CPG marketing and food advertisements. Your food ads should aim to not only increase brand awareness but also brand recall.

Package design, product messaging, in-store displays, and other pieces of media should push for increased brand recall. To understand how much of your budget needs to be allocated to creating an effective CPG marketing strategy, you can use Tracksuit’s Brand Budget Calculator.

Tracksuit helps companies use their brand to educate category managers on target consumers, demonstrate brand growth, increase share of shelf, and maximize trade spend. Our data can not only help you increase brand awareness in your category but also negotiate for more shelf space.

How Tracksuit helps food brands win 👏

Achieving success in the competitive CPG market doesn’t happen by accident. It demands innovative CPG marketing strategies and the ability to identify the most effective ones. Tracksuit’s brand tracking dashboard gives you the solution to measure the impact of your brand activity against your top competitors and understand how you are perceived in your market.

We’re fizzing to work with a bunch of incredible CPG food brands such as Arnott’s, Mingle’s Seasoning, Funday Sweets and Nature’s Fynd, helping them achieve their marketing goals related to the five pillars below.

Find out whether your brand activity’s working

Tracksuit runs always-on, continuous surveying within your brand's category to gauge awareness, consideration, usage, and preference. Our research team will set up your survey and you’ll get your baseline metrics in just 30 days.

Plan what to do next

Leverage Tracksuit data to pinpoint areas or demographics warranting focused marketing efforts. Through demographic analyses and funnel assessments, refine your strategies and plan future brand positioning with precision.

Find out what competing food brands in your category are doing

In addition to tracking your brand, select up to five competitors to track alongside yours for comprehensive comparative insights. Use this data to inform competitor reviews and benchmark against industry standards effectively.

Communicate all things brand with your stakeholders

Tracksuit offers analytics data in beautiful and intuitive dashboards that will help stakeholders understand your brand more easily. This will help you better negotiate and communicate with stakeholders and category managers.

Grow your food brand

Tracksuit serves as your definitive tool for quantifying the impact of brand marketing endeavors. Use our data to calculate ROI, secure more brand marketing budget and advocate for the pivotal role of marketing in driving business success.

The finishing line 🏁

The food industry might seem to be dominated by a few, huge brands. It can be daunting to get a foot in and make a name for your company. But you can make your journey easier by working with a company like Tracksuit so you know exactly where you need to spend on marketing, what campaigns are working, and what aren’t.

Take Tracksuit for a spin and see how we can help your brand grow.


Start growing your brand today.