Collaboration over competition: Renewal Mill, Miyoko's create vegan cookie

Renewal Mill rescues Miyoko's leftover vegan butter to create a co-branded cookie that fights food waste.

Gianna Rosenbach, Content Creator, CPG and Digital

June 21, 2022

5 Min Read
Renewal Mill collaboration with Miyoko's

Modern day competition has come a long way from its early Latin root, competere, which means to strive for something simultaneously with the same goal. Fortunately, some brands are taking that original meaning to heart and recognizing the value of using each other’s resources to lift one another towards a shared objective.

This is particularly true in the natural products industry, where competition also means collaboration, as well as a motivator to find partnerships well suited to a brand’s mission and goals. New Hope spoke with three brands, JUST Egg, ReGrained and Renewal Mill, to learn more about the impact of their recently co-created products with other brands. Find the story about ReGrained here and JUST Egg here. These brands are showing exciting innovation when they lean on each other’s specialties and resources to create new products. In the last of this three-part series, discover why Renewal Mill chooses to partner with others and examples of products that fulfill the spirit of competere.


Renewal Mill collaborates with Miyoko to create vegan cookie, reduce food waste

Renewal Mill’s Miyoko’s gluten-free and plan-based Vegan Salted Peanut Butter Cookie is made with upcycled Miyoko's Creamery European Style Cultured Butter.

Upcycling collaborations fight food waste, increase brand awareness

Renewal Mill, a producer of upcycled ingredients, baking mixes and cookies is finding that upcycling creates opportunities for brands to collaborate that would not have been thought of otherwise. When Miyoko's sustainability director spoke to Renewal Mill about how they wanted to find a home for this end-of-production-run vegan butter they had leftover in the machines and were unable to sell, Renewal Mill knew exactly what to do with it. Renewal Mill upcycled Miyoko's leftover plant-based butter to use as a fat source in its cookies. The end result of the partnership is a Vegan Upcycled Peanut Butter Cookie. With both brands being Northern California-based, plant-based, and women-owned, it was a perfect match. Having shared values with a partner leads to a symbiotic collaboration process. Not only has the collaboration helped increase brand awareness for both brands it brings attention to the sustainability wins upcycling can create.

Related:Collaboration over competition: How ReGrained is using the power of upcycling for new partnerships

Caroline Cotto, co-founder and COO of Renewal Mill, spoke to New Hope about how partnering with shared value brands to create new products has helped to increase Renewal Mill’s brand awareness.

How does the marketing work for your Miyoko's collab? Whose strategy do you use, and what audience are you trying to reach?

Related:Collaboration over competition: How JUST Egg uses partnerships to give consumers options

Caroline Cotto: Renewal Mill had two ready-to-eat cookie flavors prior. We had a chocolate chip and a salted peanut butter, but they were not gluten-free. We had always planned to transition them to be entirely gluten-free and phase out using sustainable palm oil. This was a great opportunity to transition them to being fully gluten-free and no longer using sustainable palm oil. It is a Renewal Mill core product, but we are jointly marketing with Miyoko's online social media, and they've been sharing it with their influencer network and other people who are tied to their brand.

How has partnering with a well-established brand helped your own?

CC: Miyoko's has built an extremely powerful brand. At Expo West, we didn't have our own booth, but we were able to exhibit by doing a pop-up with the cookies at their booth. People are so excited by Miyoko's brand, and when they see their logo on the front of our packet immediately, it garners a lot of interest. We have really seen the benefit of sharing each other's audiences, just because we are both plant-based, and so it's a really similar group of folks who care about better for the planet products.

What else has this increased brand awareness contributed to?

CC: We are a much smaller brand compared to Miyoko's. It's great to bring new folks to our brand, and I think we also are bringing some new folks to their brand who might not be familiar with plant-based butter food and find themselves in the cookie aisle. Also, Miyoko's is mainly in retail and food service. We sell our cookies a lot into snacking, especially as offices come back to being in person. So it is also opening up that audience to Miyoko's.

Would you recommend participating in collaborations to smaller CPG brands that may still be just starting out?

CC: Honestly, I think partnerships and collaboration have been absolutely key to us growing our brand because marketing is really expensive. A great thing that partnerships do is get your product in front of more people's eyeballs at a relatively low cost. We've tried a bunch of different things on our direct-to-consumer website with just new product launches alone and social media advertising. Still, by far the most successful thing is when we launch partnership products, and they put it out to their network—for example, with their newsletter—and we do the same. We definitely see huge spikes in traffic that we can't get other ways. I would say don't be afraid to reach out and just ask. We partnered with Fulton Street ice cream, and I literally just emailed their team saying, "Hey, we're a big fan. This is why I think it would be a great fit." They were totally on board. Pick strategically who a good partner would be, and then don't be afraid to just ask.

What do you keep in mind when figuring out who to partner with?

CC: As a woman-owned brand, we really appreciate partnering with other female-owned brands that focus on sustainability. We try to find similar alignment, and then because we sell ingredients as well, we also work with several upcycled companies and do joint PR and marketing with them, like with Seconds Crackers. We operate in the upcycled space all the time, and it's a fairly small community. I think partnering with folks outside of that community is a great way to bring their audiences into the world of upcycling and introduce it because I think it's still a fairly novel concept for most American consumers.

About the Author(s)

Gianna Rosenbach

Content Creator, CPG and Digital, New Hope Network

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