How To Sell Your Food Product to Grocery Stores (Part 2)

Selling your products to grocery stores is an intensive process that can reap huge rewards. In part one, we dove into the beginning phases: how to research for success, planning for profits, and preparing for orders.

Now that you’ve set yourself up for success, let’s look at what it actually takes to pitch to a buyer and get that yes.

Get to know your distributor

So how do you find the right distributor, especially if you’re a brand new business? Start by reaching out to local distributors. While big companies like UNFI (United Natural Foods Inc.) and KeHE Distributors are more recognizable names in the food industry, they tend to have higher margins and minimum order requirements that might not be the best fit for small businesses. Smaller distributors are usually more accommodating to growing businesses, and are a great alternative to the bigger companies.

New food tech companies, like Pod Foods, offer an alternative to traditional distribution methods while focusing on helping small businesses grow. Pod Foods helps to connect manufacturers with retailers, simplifying the complicated food distribution market. By helping to handle fulfillment and logistics, Pod Foods is making it easier for startup brands to gain a spot in the competitive grocery industry, and allowing consumers easy access to great products.

Find the buyer

The first step is to locate the right buyer. Larger stores tend to have separate buyers for each category, while smaller stores may have buyers that cover all of grocery. Additionally, when it comes to chains like Whole Foods or Sprouts, regional buyers are in place to make purchasing decisions for multiple stores in an area.

For most stores, new product presentations occur on a set schedule (monthly, quarterly, or regular open vendor days). To avoid missing out on pitching, make sure to plan well in advance and have everything prepared for the next presentation window.

Get ready to present

Did your product rise from a niche in the market that wasn’t being filled? Give the buyer a short history without getting lost in the details.

Is your product made with numerous superfoods? Emphasize the overall health benefits without describing what each ingredient does.

Practice your pitch beforehand to ensure that you’re hitting all the major points, without losing the buyer’s attention (or worse, running out of time before you get to the actual selling part!)

Know your product

So before you start that pitch, make sure you know as much about your product as possible. Are your ingredients organic? Where is their country of origin? Is your packaging eco-friendly? Where on the shelf do you envision your product? Who are your biggest competitors? What is your suggested retail price? What is the wholesale cost for each unit?

Pitches go by fast, and buyers often make decisions on the spot. Being as prepared as possible before you start can not only make you appear more professional, it can help to clinch an order if the buyer is on the fence.

Be prepared to market

And marketing your product is another key factor that can make the difference between a yes, or a no. A buyer is going to want to make sure your product can sell, and they don’t want to put time and effort into doing your marketing for you.

Being able to present a marketing plan to show that you’ve thought about how to get consumers into their store and your product into their carts is a great way to boost confidence in not only your product, but your brand as a whole.

Finally, get ready to offer support

Plus, demonstrating that you are there to support the stores can help to build relationships that will pay off in the future, when you’ve expanded your line and have new products to pitch.

growing brands into retail