Retail Food Buyer Pitch Meeting #1: Be Persistent

The Retail Perspective: The Retail Food Buyer Pitch Meeting

There has never been a more exciting time to be an emerging food brand! Our mantra for our NewPoint clients: Get on the shelf. Stay on the shelf. Grow your market share. That’s why we talk to retail food buyers: they are the 1st gatekeeper to getting on the shelf. You may know your ideal consumer, but it’s a B2B sale first which means everything hinges on the retail food buyer pitch meeting

The more we know about what food buyers are looking for in a vendor partner, the better we are at helping our clients. We conducted over 25 in-depth retail food buyer interviews and surveyed several thousand more for my book: 
Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain. The buyers were from all size stores, big chains to small independents.

To build on that, we held a Retail food Buyer’s Roundtable at Purdue University as the centerpiece of our Emerging Food Brands conference last fall. We had a panel of 6 buyers from small independent chains like Baelser’s and Martin’s Supermarkets to Midwest rising stars like Fresh Thyme to Kroger.

Q1: What is one thing you wish food manufacturers knew about your job?

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are incredibly busy. They work in a highly competitive world. Not just the buyer’s category or the competitor across the street, or even the threat of Amazon and online sales. They are also competing against the shelf space of the category manager right next door to them. If their product line does not produce, they may lose their shelf space.

The Key Takeaway: Be Persistent

Here is a story of a small Midwest brand. It’s in a unique niche: paleo, gluten-free granola, but that doesn’t mean selling into retail is a slam dunk.

The snack category is one of the most competitive in the store. Moreover, no one knows this brand. The buyer indeed doesn’t. The owner told me how they were able to cut through the clutter and get placed at Kroger, Jewel, Meijer…and others: They kept at it. They held a schedule to call and ship samples until they booked a meeting. Also, the keep growing their distribution.

They do all their marketing on social media—on a very small budget, and it’s spot on—and are just now talking about adding formal marketing to the mix.

If you have any questions or would like to talk more about your retail food buyer pitch meeting, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.