How To Sell Your Food Product to Grocery Stores (Part 1)

Do your research

The very first step before pitching to retail buyers, is to research your products, competitors, and potential stores. Here are some things to consider.

Who is your target audience?

Does your product cater to a wide range of consumers or does it fit into a particular niche? Would your product do better on the shelves of a general retailer (like Target, standard grocery stores, etc.) or more of a specialty store (Whole Foods, etc)?

What sets your product apart?

(Differentiation is key when pitching your products) Is it similar to other products in retail? Does it contain new or different ingredients (vegan, dairy-free, etc.)? Does it fill a gap in the market?

Where in the store do you see your product?

Does it fit into a pre-described spot or is it in a new category? Is it shelf-stable or does it need to be frozen/chilled? Can it be displayed in high traffic areas like registers or delis?

Who are your major competitors?

Are they established household-name brands or relative newcomers? Do they command huge amounts of shelf space? How does your product stand out from the others? Does your packaging pop in comparison or get lost on the shelf?

Find the right fit

To find your perfect retail partners, build off of your previous research. Each store has a different target audience with different requirements, including lifestyle, budget, and preferences.

  • UPC codes
  • FDA compliant packaging & nutrition panel
  • NAICS codes
  • Transparent supplier list
  • Full pricing disclosure
  • Full sourcing and ingredient disclosure
  • Sampling & demos

Plan for profits

Once you’ve done your initial research, it’s time to move onto researching logistics. To meet the retailer’s wholesale margins while still turning a profit, your production costs need to reflect the final price.

Prepare for increased volume

Increased volume is another major consideration when pitching to retailers. If a buyer accepts your pitch, you will need to be able to fill the demand immediately.

  • Storage space (for ingredients and finished products)
  • Staff/manufacturing time commitments and availability
  • Capital (for ingredients, packaging, transportation, etc.)

Next time

Part 2: How to present to buyers

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