I enjoy having actual food entrepreneurs tell us their story on how they obtained their food product on retail shelves; profitably! The Critical Retail Buyer Sales Pitch Elements include slotting allowances, in-store promotional support (such as end displays and shelf talkers) and such of the like. So how do you do it as a start up business?
A vital element is supply or the fancy term is the Supply Chain.
The challenge with expanding distribution is that it can get complicated and costly. Early stage food entrepreneurs attempt to do it on their own; packing their vehicle and delivering themselves. This is not very good use of your time and you really need all of your customers to be focusing on your new product development, launching their goods, and focusing on their social networking outreach to construct word of mouth and new supporters. I reached out to actual foodpreneurs such as Michael Adams, founder of Green Mountain Mustard. He has written below about his adventures on how Green Mountain Mustard got into supermarkets and onto product displays.
So know he’s 5 tips on better wholesale supply.
Use a local delivery service to distribute your food product.
Remember when you drove all the way throughout the state to your new retailer? It was great the first time, but re-stocking the shelf along with your next order was lots of gas and time. That is where local delivery businesses comes in hand. For only a few bucks, they will likely pickup and deliver your goods for you – and you do not need to go anywhere. In Vermont, there are lots of companies who do this. It is $15 for up to 50 lbs – and for us, that is a standard purchase. Beats driving two hours for a single delivery!
Boost your minimum order.
Throughout Green Mountain Mustard’s first two years in business, we’d no minimum order… it would just grow. Now, we are smarter and have a minimum order; it is two cases (24 units) not too big, but it makes sure we are moving volume, which is the key to any food business. If you travel across town only for a buy order of 6 jars and you are likely to drop money. With a minimum purchase, you are ready to make money with every delivery.
Consolidate deliveries on specific days of the week.
Doing deliveries daily throws off your own schedule. That is why you need to combine your deliveries on certain days of the week. Maybe one suburb is Mondays and another suburb over gets deliveries on Fridays. That leaves the middle of the week for producing merchandise, doing office admin work, and calling on new merchants. Why not consider drawing a path out that helps you get all of your deliveries done faster?
Learn how to sell food online.
Back when I owned an energy bar company, I delivered to 20 unique stores every week. It took a whole lot of time and not making much money. Green Mountain Mustard has both direct accounts food vendors. But, food supply eats into your gross margin. Food sites are increasing and there are popular simple to use ecommerce platforms such as Storenvy, Shopify and Etsy all concentrated on small artisanal companies.
Partner with the other food producer.
You probably know at least a dozen other small food manufacturers like yourself, all bringing to exactly the very same stores, right? Consolidate deliveries with each other… for example “everyone provides to a specific store on Mondays”. If you start doing this more frequently with the very same stores, you might want to check at working with a food distributor (the best way to locate a distributor for your product will be a subject for another article), and you may get more of your product on supermarket metal display stands.
Distribution is its own creature when it comes to running a food business, but there are numerous ways to make it work for the own food company. Get more merchandise to retailers, but do it brighter with these supply hacks!