Bringing natural and organic foods to mainstream consumers

Pioneering Story

Annie Withey’s quest for “real” food more than 20 years ago has since challenged the food industry to think differently about products, business priorities and environmental obligations. Beginning with its first product introduction, Annie’s has championed quality and transparency in the packaged food category. This unyielding commitment has defined where the company has been and where it’s headed today.

Challenge

After conquering the snack food aisle with her popcorn juggernaut Smartfood, food entrepreneur Annie Withey set her sights on an 800-pound gorilla in a blue box — macaroni and cheese, a multi-million-dollar category dominated by big mass-market brands. With its distinctive packaging and wholesome product attributes, though, the company’s first product — Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar — quickly became a favorite of health-conscious families nationwide. Annie’s soon realized it needed help growing the brand beyond its core health-conscious consumer as it sought more mainstream positioning and acceptance.

Solution

Haberman began working with Annie’s in 2004 as the company’s strategic communications partner. Annie’s mission-driven approach to business is a perfect fit for Haberman, and it’s been an honor to have helped grow such a pioneering and well-respected brand for nearly a decade — from the brand’s humble roots as a challenger for mass-market shelf space to 2012’s initial public offering on Wall Street. During the ongoing, long-term partnership with Annie’s, Haberman has helped drive awareness and acceptance for several first-to-market Annie’s products, including mac-and-cheese, salad dressing, cereal, fruit snacks and, most recently, all-natural frozen pizza, cementing Haberman’s strong reputation for promoting organic consumer packaged goods (CPGs).

Results

  • Haberman has pitched and placed Annie’s products in some of the nation’s top consumer outlets, including TODAY, Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Everyday With Rachael Ray, Parents Magazine, Real + Simple, and many others. Strategic media outreach methods have helped garner millions of gross media impressions and have driven consumer trial and preference for dozens of new product launches.
  • Haberman initiated the brand’s first foray into social media, building on Annie’s early commitment to customer feedback and dialog. Annie’s Facebook page now boasts nearly 300,000 followers and hosts a variety of creative product promotions, games and conversations about the brand.
  • Haberman created Annie’s unique “Root 4 Kids” cause-marketing initiative, getting nearly half a million school-aged kids to dig and plant fresh vegetables. As part of this initiative, Haberman helped Annie’s forge a partnership with Farm to School — a national organization connecting K-12 schools with family farmers — providing Annie’s direct access and brand penetration within more than 10,000 schools and among hundreds of thousands of kids, teachers and parents across America.
  • Haberman helped manage media communications — including messaging strategy — for Annie’s successful 2012 initial public offering (IPO).
  • Haberman created multiple videos to demonstrate the connection between sustainable agriculture, corporate social responsibility and Annie’s products. These videos live on Annie’s YouTube channel, which now has more than 40,000 views and is gaining more subscribers every day.

Engagement

Expanding Product Family
Haberman launched Annie’s new all-natural frozen pizza products with prominent national media placements and promotional appearances, using the company’s unique mobile marketing vehicle. The launch generated enthusiasm and impressive sales among Annie’s loyalists and new customers alike.

Product Publicity
Haberman developed the media outreach strategy and pitched and placed hundreds of articles for Annie’s most prominent product introductions, including snack mix, fruit snacks, cereal and salad dressing.

Root 4 Kids Cause Marketing Program
Haberman created the Root 4 Kids engagement campaign for Annie’s, including a microsite, pledge form and online game.

Annie’s Farmer Stories
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Haberman created multiple videos to tell visually compelling stories about the Annie’s brand, the company’s sustainability philosophy and its partnerships with organic farmers.