Tips for Marketing Your Specialty Foods Startup

In today’s world, there are countless options when it comes to choosing food products to market to consumers. If you are a specialty foods entrepreneur, you know how hard it can be to break through the noise to the coveted consumer.

In recent years there have been more specialty foods hitting the market than at any previous time in history. There is just something about foods labeled “gluten-free” or “keto-friendly” that immediately attracts attention.

No matter what kind of specialty foods you are creating and selling, there are some things you can do to get your products on the shelves as fast as you can produce them. Let’s start here.

Unique Packaging to Grab Attention

Even before contacting the purchasing department of the stores or retail chains you would like to place your products in, the key to getting items on those shelves is the packaging. Bear in mind that no retailer is going to take the risk of purchasing products they feel have little chance of attracting consumer attention. You would want to research custom food packaging solutions to ensure both adequate packaging for extended shelf life as well as designing labels that draw the eye.

The purchasing department of any store, local or national, will want to know that their buyers will be attracted to your products when shelved among similar products. They want to know that your products can literally sell themselves.

Create a Website to Showcase Your Products

While you may want to create an eCommerce website where consumers can buy directly from you, it is important to understand that you may not be successful selling to purchasing departments the first time around. When you have a web presence, those stores can find you and your products with a simple search. If you miss them the first time around, they can always find you. You will obviously want to follow up on every meeting you have because you want them to remember your brand. This way they can find you if you don’t get back to them soon enough in your repeat round of calls.

Conduct Market Research

Another thing you should always do is market research. Not every grocery store will carry the specialty foods you produce. For example, if you produce organic whole foods then some local stores may not have the shelving space or the market for whole foods. Once you have a list of stores you want to pitch, begin cross referencing to ensure you aren’t spinning your wheels. While you really can’t know beforehand who will buy and which stores will pass over your products, you can come back to the questionable retailers later. Get on that list of stores known to have a large department in your specialization.

Take the time to make cold calls to get the name of the purchasing agent at the stores or chains you would like to place your product line in. There is no need to spend a half hour pitching a person who doesn’t have the power or authority to make a decision. Solidify that list before setting up appointments. Once you know you have a captive audience of the person with the authority to sign on the dotted line, it’s time to put your pitch in motion. Just don’t forget to bring personal samples as gifts for the buyers you meet with. It never hurts to give them a taste of your specialty delicacies to clinch the deal.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan