Navigating Life’s Journey: How Path of Life Harnesses SPINS Data for Category Growth, Distribution Expansion, and Mission-Aligned Promotions

July 28, 2021
by SPINS Marketing

The Innovation Journey of a Local Brand

Path of Life is a Chicago-based brand under the Harvest Food Group umbrella, dedicated to making simple, delicious plant-based frozen foods. Positioned as “innovative products heavily rooted in whole real food ingredients”, Path of Life is dedicated to frozen vegetables and entrées category, making it easy for consumers to eat clean.

With a product line of frozen grain, quinoa, and vegetable sides, Path of Life launched into a new category of frozen breakfast and they have been exploring data to find the best areas of opportunity to improve distribution growth based on their existing products.

As they go through the innovation journey, Path of Life strives to expand in many other parts of the frozen department while still staying true to its mission.

"Live Simple" with Path of Life's Wide Selection of Frozen Foods

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Gaining Additional Visibility into the Retail Landscape

As a Chicago-based company, Path of Life only had in-store data on a local level for the Midwest. And while they had the ability to purchase one-time data pulls from SPINS, it wasn’t enough to think bigger.

Ashley Collins, the brand manager for Path of Life, focuses on trade and consumer marketing. In the midst of a rebrand in 2019, she knew it was the right time to partner with a data provider that would give them actionable intelligence into their movement.

Ashley and her team knew this data would provide a better understanding of performance across different retailers and help build an innovative strategy that would propel them forward. Just as important from a marketing perspective, they wanted to learn how best to resonate with consumers through measurable and optimized promotions.


Using SPINS Data to Meet Customer Demands

Using SPINS’ SATORI platform, Ashley and the Path of Life team gained access to a nationwide landscape of their retailers, providing a view that showed what is currently trending vs. areas of opportunity.

Looking at product movement, they were able to view performance at different retailers in real-time to make quick and meaningful growth decisions.

Today, as Ashley collaborates with the sales and marketing teams to identify a price point based on different markets, they are able to establish a discount that resonates best with their consumers and lets them measure the effectiveness.

“Utilizing the landscape for the nationwide side of retailers that we have access to, SPINS data has been able to help us take a look at what’s going on and what’s trending in order to build a solid innovation strategy for the brand moving forward.”

Ashley Collins
Senior Marketing & Brand Manager at Path of Life


Improving Channel Growth and Retail Partnerships

Since partnering with SPINS and unlocking access to a single source of truth, Path of Life has seen terrific growth over 52-weeks in the SPINS Innovation Channels, including an increase in sales by 24% in Regional & Independent Grocery and by 69% in the Natural Enhanced Channel.

Now, Path of Life is approaching the top 10 in their key category of frozen entrées when looking at natural standard brands over the last 52 weeks in the Regional and Independent Grocery Channel. Their top item, Original Quinoa & Kale (10 oz) more than doubled in sales YOY in the Natural Enhanced Channel for the same period.


Just as importantly, the Path of Life team has built stronger relationships with retail partners by having a high level of insights on their performance ready to share. They’ve seen consistent incremental same-store sales growth in Publix, for example, which is highly notable because they have full distribution in that account.

“With our retail partners, SPINS data helped us position ourselves as the expert in our category.”

At Sprouts, their account has grown in same-store sales in the past 12-24 weeks, and they are continuing to add new items. For broker partners, the SPINS partnership is a great tool to leverage in getting the brand on shelves at smaller, regional independent locations.

Streamlining Processes and Driving Quick Decisions

With close collaboration from the SPINS Customer Success Team, Path of Life has access to all the necessary performance data to better streamline their process and drive decisions that keep the team on the same page. As they continue their innovation, distribution, and velocity journey, they have a data-based foundation on which to build their strategy. With the insights into their current product categories, they can identify where to go next.