he way that people consume food is changing. In the past, the average American meal was trucked over 1,500 miles, but more people than ever find that unacceptable. They also want more choices on how they buy their food. There may still be some room for growth in meal subscription services, but consumers are indicating that they do not want locked into long-term contracts. They would prefer to buy food that has been produced locally and by small businesses. They also want food options ranging from grab-and-go to options they need to finish preparing at home. This gives small food businesses an excellent opportunity to get their food offered in new locations, as long as they use the right marketing techniques.
Convenience chain stores have buyers who can add new products in stores, so reach out to them. Often, a food producer can get this information from the manager of a local convenience store that belongs to that chain.
There are about 148,000 convenience stores in the United States. The great news is that doing a little snooping, including contacting the home office and asking to talk to the buyer over the type of product offered often allows the producer to leave an elevator pitch voice mail. Some buyers will even leave their email addresses on their messages. Snooping on social media, primarily LinkedIn, may even provide the name of the person who has that job responsibility.
Of the convenience stores in the United States, about 60% operate in a single location.
Of the convenience stores in the United States, about 60% of them operate in a single location. These can be the most accessible options to get into because it is often easier to see the right individual. Do not hesitate to go to their corporate office and offer free samples. Have an elevator pitch ready so deals can be quickly cut when people are impressed with the product. The elevator pitch should include why the convenience store's customers fit the producer's target audience, show the benefits of working with the company and entice the listener to want to know more.
Buyers often attend trade shows with the express purpose of finding new products. These trade shows are a fantastic opportunity to showcase products, so participate. Some focus on national chains while others focus on regional or local convenience stores. The largest food and beverage shows in the United States include:
In the Rocky Mountain region, the largest food show is the Colorado Restaurant and Bar Show. This two-day show features industry leaders and many convenience store representatives. A company can put its products before buyers looking for new foods that they believe will connect with their customers.
Before heading to a trade show, be sure to consider branding. Learn as much as possible about other products. Then, be ready to showcase why the promoted product is different and why that matters to people who shop at convenience stores and restaurants. Secondly, create a list of adjectives that describe the product. Find ways to showcase those things throughout the exhibit space. Finally, determine a promise the company can make to every potential customer.
Hiring a food broker allows executives within that company to focus on production and logistics. They get to do the things that they are passionate about. Since most food brokers get paid on a commission, the food company owes them nothing until sales start rolling in. Some large convenience store chains only see brokers, so promoting a product may be challenging without working with one. Usually, hiring a broker is less expensive than hiring a sales team, and they already have the connections.
The best solution is to hire a food broker like It's All Goods. They already have relationships with companies nationwide, especially in the Rocky Mountain region. Therefore, it is easier to get products into convenience stores. As Paul Solarz said, "Collaboration allows us to know more than what we are capable of knowing on our own." Building relationships is hard work, so hire an expert in building relationships with buyers.
Food producers can use these three methods to get buyers' attention. Yet, the first two require a lot of time and dedication. Working with a food broker allows companies to get where they would otherwise not get in front of the right people. Since they work on commissions, it is usually cheaper than hiring a sales team while allowing producers to focus on their passion.