While there are many popular food brands in the world, it takes a certain special something for that brand to reach cult status. These companies can’t just be content with selling products or even being popular, these companies have to have that something extra in order to truly connect with its fanbase. With that in mind we check out 10 Food Brands With A Cult Following.
Coca-Cola may be one of the biggest brand names the world has ever seen; with each of their products making millions if not billions of dollars, but Coca-Cola as a company don’t quite make our list of cult brand names. However, their individual products are a different story. While an argument can be made for Diet Coke, Cheery Coke or their much loved retro classic Tab, it’s actually their short lived Surge that has the biggest, and loudest, cult following. Surge was Coca-Cola’s answer to Mountain Dew and was released to tackle the ‘extreme sports’ market and was actually modelled after a Norwegian soda drink Urge. While Surge didn’t manage to take Mountain Dew’s crown as the gamer’s favorite drink, it did manage to find its way into many peoples hearts and lives. This has been proved as Surge has been off the market for over a decade now and people are still talking about it. There are plenty of online petitions and Facebook pages dedicated to this citrus soda and bringing it back to the market. While Coca-Cola have yet to re-release Surge, fans are still dedicated to it and push for it to come back when ever they get the chance. The Norwegian Urge is still on the market in Europe and Surge fans can re-live that Surge taste whenever they get nostalgic and long for their favorite soda.
Founded over a century ago, the Mars Corporation makes some of the biggest, and cult favorite, foods and drinks in the world. What started out as a chocolate company, Mars evolved and now makes products, not just in the candy industry, but in all foods, drinks, and even pet food, Mars has conquered the world with their products. While Mars are a mainstream company, such as Coca-Cola, they have produced so many cult products that it’s hard not to include the whole corporation on this list. If we were to list all of Mars’s products that have reached cult like status, the list would go on for ever. Maybe their is a Mars list in our future! However, for the sake of this current list, the big cult products by Mars are firmly in their candy range. M&M’s are possibly the most beloved chocolate candies on the market. Every time that Mars release a new flavor of M&M’s, the public goes into a frenzy. The internet explodes with buzz and anticipation and social media is awash with images of people trying the new flavor. Another cult branch to Mars’s tree is their Wrigley range. Chewing gum has always had a bit of a ‘cool’ image and Mars have used this to create plenty of gum-related cult products like Juicy Fruit, Doublemint and Winterfresh. They also create 2 of the most beloved and candies with cult followings, which are Starburst and Skittles. Using sometimes insane looking ads, and celebrity endorsements, these candy brands have followings like no other.
8. Trader Joe’s
One of the new, up and coming brands on the food block is grocery store Trader Joe’s. While there are many grocery stores that offer organic, fresh and healthy food options, Trader Joe’s goes one further and offers it’s customers a truly unique shopping experience. It has the feel of a gourmet boutique or even a high end farmers’ market, yet it manages to keep it’s prices low and cater to the masses. Trader Joe’s also has it’s own identity and store brand; with it’s nautical theme and Hawaiian shirts for staff, it’s almost as if Trader Joe’s is taking us on a voyage across the seas to find great products. While Trader Joe’s is becoming a bigger brand across the country, they manage to keep their cult like status due to their lack of advertising. They don’t have an online or social media presence; no official Twitter or Instagram account, no Facebook page and they don’t even advertise on TV or print. What they do is rely on world of mouth and trust that their concept and image is enough to bring people back again and again. Which they do. Trader Joe’s brand awareness is strong and growing fast yet every time we shop there, it feels like something we have just discovered for ourselves. Being a big business but having a local feel to it has made Trader Joe’s one of the biggest new brands on the market.
There have been a few world famous brands on our list of food brands that have a cult following, and next up is the giants of the soda drink world; PepsiCo. While PepsiCo may have always been a famous number two to Coca-Cola; like Burger King to McDonald’s, however, over the years PepsiCo has brought us some truly cult worthy products. Aside from their version of the cola drink Pepsi, PepsiCo has also given us the mighty Mountain Dew. Dating back to the 1940s, Mountain Dew was originally made as an alcohol mixer. However, the citrus soda drink soon became a favorite among non alcohol drinkers. Once PepsiCo bought the brand, they have made it their mission to create something truly special and unique, which they have succeeded at. Aiming at the young and active market, as well as the gaming industry, Mountain Dew has become a master at advertising and finding their niche market in which their fans will buy any product they release. Using social media and the internet to their advantage, Mountain Dew has managed to become on of the biggest mainstream brands while holding on to its cult audience. PepsiCo must take credit for everything that Mountain Dew has achieved and they have achieved something that not even Coca-Cola could dream of. Despite them trying to topple Mountain Dew again and again. Aside from soda, PepsiCo also gives us Doritos, Frito-Lay, Naked Juice, and Tropicana, each of them also has a cult following and help the PepsiCo brand reach a real cult level of popularity.
6. Whole Foods
We all have our go to store when it comes to groceries. Whether that is for our weekly shopping, healthy daily staples or those items that we treat ourselves with every once and a while. What ever your grocery shopping needs are, we bet that Whole Foods is one of the stores on your list of regular stores. The extremely popular grocery store chain is known for its organic products as well as taking their time to hand pick products that are free of artificial fats, preservatives, colors, flavors and sweeteners. They also commit themselves to sourcing sustainable farmed produce as well as humanely raised meats and animal products. While Whole Foods has been a revolution for many people, there are some people that still refuse to shop there. One of the main reasons for this is Whole Foods prices. While Whole Foods does bring us some of the best products out there, they also have the prices to match. Because of this Whole Foods has managed to keep its cult status as shopping there isn’t for everyone. However, it might be nice for some people to know that Whole Foods do have sale and discounted items from time to time, but that is something that Whole Food fans keep to themselves.
There aren’t many products on the market that just about everyone in the country has tried. The Hershey Company however, is one of the exceptions. Everyone around the country has tried at least one of the candy giants products and most people instantly fall in love with them. Whether you are a Kisses fan, a Peanut Butter Cups, Twizzlers or you like something different like an Almond Joy, Hershey has a product for you and they’ve been giving them to us for decades. Not only has Hershey’s been providing us with great tasting candy over the years but they have established themselves as pop culture icons. Being involved with such big movies as E.T, plus being named dropped in several TV shows from Mad Men to The Simpsons, The Hershey Company’s products have been at the fore front of our culture for years which has just gone to strengthen their cult brand. As well as their image, Hershey has focused a lot of their time recently into making their products better. Dropping artificial colors and flavorings from their chocolate was the first step in their quest to bring us a better product. Hershey’s also strive to source milk and other ingredients from local farms, so, their brand is not only cool and popular but their products are good for us and the planet too.
Pretty much all entries on our list of brands that have a cult following, are world famous international brands with years of experience, but our next entry may well be a bit of an unknown to many people. For those that aren’t aware of this brand, you know who you are! LaCroix is one of the biggest manufacturers of carbonated water and it is quickly becoming the brand to be associated with. Their drinks may be tasty but LaCroix’s strength is in their advertising and brand recognition. Instead of using tradition methods of advertising, LaCroix utilizes social media to get their brand into the new generation of consumers. Starting with Instagram, LaCroix started a campaign in which it encouraged people to tag their brand in posts and photos. Some lucky people even received free cases of their drinks! LaCroix also added hashtags and to their growing followers and awarded plenty of perks for those who re-posted or shared any LaCroix news. Using Instagram as their main advertising tool helped LaCroix grow it’s brand and actually went along way to doubling their sales within two years. The LaCroix brand may well still be small but it’s cult following is growing bigger and bigger.
3. Philz Coffee
Philz coffee chain is rapidly becoming one of the big boys on the coffee scene. Starting out in San Francisco, California, in 2002, Philz Coffee focused on drip coffee as well as providing their customers with a ‘small shop vibe’ compared to their bigger, corporate style competitors. Focusing on their customers, Philz Coffee have several well crafted social media channels designed to interact and appeal to those coffee lovers out there. Not only do Philz Coffee use social media to its full potential but they also offer something that other coffee brands, such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, you won’t find pre- brewed coffee at these chains, instead you’ll get more of a personal touch as Philz Coffee single original brews as well as hand crafted, customized blends that are quickly becoming a lot of peoples favorite coffee houses. The rise of the Philz coffee brand has been quite steep in recent years and only looks set to get bigger as more stores and coffee houses are opening up around the country. So if you are yet to try a coffee at Philz, then you could soon be in luck as they may well be opening up on a street near you soon.
What is the best way to keep your brand exclusive? To have people join a membership and pay for it of course. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of an exclusive club, something they belong to that not just anyone is a part of. Costco may well be one of the biggest brands and stores in the world but having it limited to members only gives this international brand a big cult feel to it. Like many exclusive brands, Costco doesn’t need to advertise or make it’s presence know in any way. They know that people will come to them for their great products and low prices and word of mouth is Costco’s secret weapon as it knows that people will pass on the word and get people to join their membership. While it’s products and bulk buying style, as well as their much loved Kirkland food brand, Costco has also won over millions with their food court. Rather than franchising their food out to fast food restaurants or coffee shops, Costco does its food in house and provides hot and cheap food to hungry shoppers. The Costco food court has become stuff of legend as people que up for their pizza and hot dogs. then of course there is Costco’s much loved rotisserie chicken. People drive for miles and brave the crowds at Costco just to grab one of the ready roasted delights. Because of these things, Costco has truly become a world leader when it comes to cheap food and a cult brand.
On our quest to find the companies that have a big cult following, it can be difficult for a company to achieve both commercial and mainstream success while keeping the brand unique and intimate to the extent that customers will feel like they’ve discovered something special that only they know. We can be pleased to inform you that their is one company out there that has achieved both and that is Starbucks. Unlike many fast food or any other food chains, Starbucks prides itself on having the customers input at the very heart of their business. With drinks that can be adapted and personalized by the customer, Starbucks gives us the power to create our own experience in their chain. They also release seasonal drinks and even have a secret menu that only die hard Starbucks fans know about. Whether it’s the pumpkin spice lates, holiday red cups, crazy secret menu frappuccinos, unicorn drinks, Starbucks knows how to create a buzz that lasts and they can strike up time and time again. All of those things are designed to make us feel like we are part of their coffee family, part of an exclusive club that makes you flock to their shops anytime you see them. The Seattle based coffee shop is quite possibly one of the biggest food and drink brands in the world right now and yet it has still managed to keep its image current and continues to set the standard in brand recognition and marketing techniques.