How La Vie is using data to successfully launch into the UK market and manage demand


The brand: La Vie

La Vie is on a mission to help people switch from animal meat to plant-based meat, with a big happy smile on their face. What’s their secret? Their delicious and unique vegetal fat recipe. La Vie products are better for your health, the planet and animals without compromising on taste. Having launched in France over a year ago La Vie is now listed in all their major supermarkets including Carrefour, Monoprix, Franprix and Super U and are now looking to take on the UK market.

La Vie launched just 12 weeks ago in the UK and in addition to numerous foodservice successes, the brand has already secured listings with Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Planet Organic, WholeFoods and Ocado.

We talk to La Vie’s Head of Sales Emily Giles about how they are using elm data to help manage demand and keep track of sales as they expand into the UK market.

Fresh-chilled challenges

Launching any business into a brand new market is challenging and when you add in the complexities of a fresh-chilled supply chain it can often seem unmanageable. With so many moving parts it’s important to make sure you are keeping track of all eventualities.

“Data solutions are notoriously slow and clunky and more often than not end up producing more work than you bargained for, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As a fresh-chilled brand we are up against short lead times and potential wastage and we have to stay on top of our stock holding on a daily basis. Without having access to digestible data this would be almost impossible to manage. The daily insights we get from elm, have been critical to the success of our UK business

I check elm every single day, it’s a brilliant way of combining and putting all our data into one place to get an overall view of what is going on.”

ROS and managing demand

Using the daily sales data from the elm dashboard the team at La Vie can better manage demand and appropriately communicate with relevant stakeholders in the supply chain to ensure that retail customers are happy.

“The sales module is the most useful thing for us at La Vie. As a fresh-chilled brand I was very conscious of wastage and managing daily store stock levels. By having easy access to our daily data we can effectively assess the demand from our factories in France. Sometimes there is a 10 day lead time between communicating an increase in demand and getting it to the UK, at which point you can easily lose 10 days of sales because we receive orders daily. elm data allows us to react quickly to prevent this from happening and service our customers with excellence.

If we don’t get the forecasting right and the service levels right, the customer will lose confidence in us and won’t turn to us with new opportunities. I wanted to create a frictionless trading relationship with our customers and I feel like elm has enabled us to do that.”

Dealing with wastage

“We get given wastage targets by our customers when we launch and because we are fresh-chilled our supply chain is up against a risk of high wastage, especially at the early stages of launch. We were told that we needed wastage to be at a certain percentage after a certain amount of time, so to make sure we are delivering against those KPIs it’s really useful to track the data in elm. It means we can look at the data and check whether we have hit our wastage target for different retailers.”

Tracking and managing growth

Having a strategic and data driven approach when launching into a new market can enable businesses to better track and manage their growth – whether that’s through comparing performance across markets or tracking sales to influence marketing strategy.

“The heat map on the elm platform is great to see where our core consumers exist, especially as our marketing involves geotargeting. The data on elm validates our marketing plans and confirms what we are thinking with regards to our target consumers.

On a more topline level, we are able to track our performance in the UK on ROS against what our growth curve was in France to see where we stand. As we look at our Series B investment raise our investors are always keen to see if the UK market will be a success and elm data allows us to show this.”

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