Key updates include U.S. expansion plans for Oki beverage line; expected timing of product placement with retailer distribution partners; and upcoming PR and marketing initiatives
VANCOUVER and SAN DIEGO, CA, Nov. 15, 2018 /CNW/ - Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA OTCQX: PHVAF) ("Phivida"), which offers premium beverages and clinical products infused with active hemp extract, today announced its Q4 2018 corporate business update on milestones achieved and strategic initiatives underway.
Oki Product Distribution – Phase 1 Phivida's Oki lifestyle brand of beverages, tinctures and capsules are currently in the process of being presented to U.S. retailers across the country and are expected to be on shelves by the end of 2018. Working with NSS/Acosta, the Company has begun to target retailers in the Natural Specialty channel and has completed multiple key account meetings. The Phivida team is working to build out its distribution plan at a faster pace in a number of key U.S. markets – California, Washington and Oregon – to gain distribution with well-known retailers in each of the identified regions. Additional partners are expected to be added in the near future to support the NSS/Acosta distribution efforts and to broaden Phivida's ability to penetrate the functional beverage market.
Ongoing Sales with NSS/Acosta
Over the quarter, the Company's focus has been on working with NSS/Acosta to begin sales of the Oki product by meeting with potential retailers. Phivida is currently focusing attention on targeting the Natural Specialty Channel within Acosta's network which includes retailers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts Market, Natural Grocers, and other natural product stores.
After the first production run, the Company launched the Oki Beverage line to NS Sales Beverage Account Managers at Expo East in Baltimore on October 5th, 2019. Samples of the Oki beverage line have been provided to all NS Sales Key Account Managers to help drive their sales activity. The feedback from the Acosta team was overwhelmingly positive and just fueled their excitement around the launch of the Oki brand.
Working closely with NS Sales Key Account Managers, responsible for the overall business development of brands, the company has created an immediate list of accounts to target with interest in the functional beverage category.
Key account presentations are currently underway to gain new retail listings for Oki. The Company has completed promising presentations and provided initial product samples to two significant regional retailers.
Developing Alternative Sales Channels
Phivida is currently building and adding an Oki e-commerce store to provide direct-to-consumer ordering online. The site is expected to go live in early 2019. This will support the Oki sales effort in driving direct revenue for the business in 2019.
In addition to the Company's focus on the Natural Specialty retail channel, key influential accounts have been identified as targets for product points of sales (including a variety of hotels, cafes, gyms, etc.). The Company plans to work directly with these accounts to secure additional retail locations.
The Company will be completing a Product Market Blitz in the San Diego area in early December 2018. Over the course of a few days, the internal Phivida team will be travelling to pre-identified strategic retailers to provide samples and sell product. The team will be focusing on driving new distribution to key grocery and on premise accounts in the San Diego metro area, to gain local attention on the Oki product.
Distribution to Japan After completing an initial shipment of product to Japan, Management has decided, given the regulatory and logistic burden of serving the Japanese market, to focus solely on building strong distribution networks in the United States and eventually in Canada once the sale of beverages and edibles become legal.
Vida+ Product Distribution The Vida+ health products continue to be distributed to the Integrated Health Care professionals segment as well as sold direct to consumers through the Company's online channels. Attention is being placed on driving Vida+ business via online channels over the coming months, with changes and updates planned to the website to improve the overall experience and increase traffic. New Vida+ brand packaging and a full website refresh is planned for early 2019.
Phivida's Capital Structure The current cash and equivalents is approximately $13.0M million CAD with no debt or loans. Total shares issued and outstanding is 61,729,963 and the total shares on a fully diluted basis is 74,517,426. The company is well capitalized to transition to major mainstream distribution with a solid structure poised for long term growth.
Product Quality Phivida strives to lead the industry in product quality through high quality ingredients and best in class testing. The Company has partnered with Flora Labs to test and ensure consistency and potency of all products. Flora Labs is a world class testing lab, with stringent QA and QC quality assessment protocols and will provide Phivida with ongoing impartial quality testing.
Expanded Marketing and PR Strategy "Over the last three months, Phivida has met with a number of top US-based consumer lifestyle PR firms to select a partner to support the launch of Oki into the US market," said Jim Bailey, President and CEO of Phivida. "PR will play a pivotal role in building awareness through positive word of mouth, buzz and credibility. Currently, we have narrowed down on three firms who are currently working with leading consumer brands in their categories and will announce the decision by the end of 2018. We also expect the imminent passing of the U.S. Farm Bill to ease restrictions on advertising channels and platforms available to us to promote all Phivida brands and products."
Phivida is excited to bring on board new talent with the addition of a Marketing Communications Manager. In the newly created role, Laura Barnard, who has an extensive background in the food and beverage sector having previously worked at Jackson Family Wines for over four years, will work closely with Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Cornwell to manage the company's Marketing and Communications efforts across all Phivida brands and business lines covering advertising, sponsorship, experiential marketing, sampling, trade and influencer marketing, and public relations.
As the company prepares to broaden its U.S. footprint, Phivida has been working with leading L.A.-based creative agency, Sid Lee, to develop a launch campaign for the Oki lifestyle brand of functional beverages and supplements infused with active hemp extract. The campaign, which will convey the essence of what it means to "feel Oki", is expected to be launched in early 2019. It aims to build brand awareness and includes a multi media campaign across multiple consumer channels.
Partnering with global influencers who embody the Oki look and feel and key messaging is a priority. Phivida has already signed on with top World Surf League (WSL) Hawaii-based surfer, Malia Manuel. As an important ambassador for Oki, Malia is working closely with the company to produce a campaign that integrates the Oki launch activities with coverage and social media content around her experience with the line of lifestyle beverages. In addition, Phivida continues to work with the team at Superheros Management Talent agency to identify new brand ambassadors to support the US launch in raising the brand's awareness among its target audience. Phivida expects to announce the addition of pending partnerships in early 2019.
Other Key Marketing and PR Highlights
Sampling activities are expected to commence in Q1 2019 in select U.S. west coast metro markets to support distribution and drive awareness for the Oki brand of products.
Jim Bailey, President and CEO of Phivida, recently attended the Canaccord Genuity U.S. Cannabis Symposium in Toronto where he presented Phivida's latest business update to North American and global investors.
ABOUT Phivida Holdings Inc.
Phivida Holdings Inc. is headquartered in Vancouver, BC with operations in San Diego CA. Phivida is a premium functional food and beverage company focused on whole plant nutrition and natural ingredients that help best maintain overall health and balance in the human body. The company infuses organic active hemp extract into a variety of premium beverages and clinical products for everyday health. Phivida embraces and celebrates a return to organic, natural, plant-based foods and beverages, and a focus on holistic health and wellness. The mission is to help reduce the world's dependence on pharmaceuticals and provide food and beverage choices that allow customers to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit phivida.com
SOURCE Phivida Holdings Inc.
For further information: Website www.phivida.com, Toll free +1 (844) 744-6646 (ext. #2), Email [email protected]; Jim Bailey, President and CEO, Phivida Holdings Inc., 647-283-3357; Investor Relations: Craig MacPhail, NATIONAL Capital Markets, 416-586-1938, [email protected]; Media Relations: Amie Lauder, NATIONAL Public Relations, 416-586-1943, [email protected]