Gaithersburg, MD, Oct. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Verus International, Inc. (“Verus” or the “Company”) (OTCQB: VRUS) is pleased to provide this update on new growth initiatives at its Eliot’s Nut Butters Division (“Eliot’s”). Acquired during September 2020, Eliot’s has already begun several programs designed to create significant growth through the end of 2020, with accelerated expansion expected during 2021.
In less than two months as part of the Verus product line, Eliot’s has implemented the following growth initiatives:
Completed its largest production run in its operating history, with expectations for a ramp up of production capacity and small batch frequency as business expands;
Remedied backlog issues and began a previously-delayed inventory build phase, which will allow further store front and new customer expansions;
Finalized plans for the launch of single-serve packaging during December, with significant roll-out at convenience stores expected during Q1 2021;
Renewed discussions with major chains for expansion into new regions;
Commenced customer discussions to enter the food service segment for the first time via larger capacity containers for bakeries and commercial food manufacturers.
During 2020, Eliot’s has experienced strong growth, despite limited store front expansion due to both pandemic conditions and a lack of sufficient inventory. In terms of sales channels, year-to-date direct sales have increased approximately 70%, Amazon sales are up 73%, and distributor sales are up 122% and 140%, respectively, at the two main distributors servicing the grocery store segment. Eliot’s is now positioning itself to begin a new growth phase within its existing customer channels and is currently selling products in approximately 600 stores in 27 states, but plans to double this footprint at the grocery store level over the next four quarters. The brand currently has less than 7% penetration in any of its national chain customers, leaving room for significant expansion, with a multi-year goal of more than 10,000 retail locations within just the existing identified customer base.
In addition to new product initiatives, such as single-serve portions, Eliot’s has also been approached by bakeries seeking an alternative to name-brand hazelnut products that contain dairy, palm oil, and large quantities of sugar. Eliot’s offering in this space is healthier, containing 80% nut content and significantly less sugar. Based on significant current interest, the division is exploring food service-size packaging of existing nut butters. This would mark an acceleration of a long-term plan to create a commercial sales channel, representing a new source of revenue and an opportunity to scale up the production of existing flavors.
“We couldn’t be more excited with the timing of adding Eliot’s to our product family,” explained Verus CEO Anshu Bhatnagar. “This is a true stair-step growth story, where they spent much of 2020 navigating the pandemic without the resources to implement their major expansion plans. In less than 45 days, Eliot’s has essentially flipped the switch on growth across multiple categories, with expanded production and inventory being key starting points. This expansion plan has very high visibility, particularly following solid year over year growth across a fairly static store footprint in 2020, an indicator of strong customer loyalty to the brand. We expect Eliot’s to have open-ended growth now that it finally has the capacity to service a much larger store base, giving the brand a clear path into new regions with its existing national customers. Based on what we have seen thus far, we believe that Eliot’s will vie for the top spot as one of our fastest growing divisions over the next year.”
Additional Operational Update
In conjunction with the recently announced reverse stock split, Verus management intends to significantly reduce the Company’s existing number of authorized shares to a level more appropriate with the reduced number of post-split shares. Management will provide this new authorized shares number upon completion of an internal analysis of merger, acquisition, and other estimated common share needs.
In terms of additional product line information, Verus intends to provide an update on the Pachyderm CBD division later this month, following attendance at an upcoming trade show. Also, in conjunction with today’s Eliot’s update, the Company is pleased to offer shareholders a Verus Family Discount, using coupon code VERUSELIOTS20 for a 20% discount off the purchase of any Eliot’s products through its website at www.eliotsnutbutters.com.
About Verus International
Verus is a global, emerging multi-line consumer packaged goods (CPG) company developing branded product lines in the U.S. and on a global basis. The Company trades on the OTC market (OTCQB: VRUS). Investors can find real-time quotes and market information for the Company on www.otcmarkets.com. Additional information is also available at the Company’s website, www.verusfoods.com, the Eliot’s Nut Butters website, www.eliotsnutbutters.com; and via the official Twitter feed @Verus_Foods, the Big League Foods subsidiary Twitter feed @BigLeagueFoods and the Pachyderm Labs subsidiary Twitter feed @PachydermLabs.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are identified by the use of the words “could,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “may,” “continue,” “predict,” “potential,” “project” and similar expressions that are intended to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Although we believe that our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that these plans, objectives, expectations or intentions will be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties (some of which are beyond our control) and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical experience and present expectations or projections. Actual results could differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and the trading price for our common stock may fluctuate significantly. Forward-looking statements also are affected by the risk factors described in the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
MKR Group Inc.
Todd Kehrli or Mark Forney