Selling gourmet food to supermarkets is a dream goal for many food businesses as well as home chefs. However, the market is tough to succeed in and even tougher to break in to. Food businesses looking to expand their sales may want to consider taking a chance in the retail food market. Not only do restaurant brands offer a potential profit increase for the owners from direct sales, the packaged meals named after the restaurant instantly provide marketing for the venue. Businesses considering selling to supermarkets should be prepared to plan meticulously and invest time and effort into pushing the product into the markets.
Understanding Selling to Supermarkets
The first step in food branding is developing an idea. Without a vision of what the retail food will be and how it will stand out from the millions of products already available, aiming to create retail food is pointless. Once an idea for packaged meals, chef products, or any other gourmet food is ripe, research must be done about the local markets and opportunities for sale. FDA regulations for packaged products must be understood and followed as well. Restaurants can start out with experimenting with gourmet food in-house. Perfecting a recipe can be easier when an already existing consumer group is eager to sample it and provide feedback. However, once a product has been chosen, the retail food will usually have to be prepared in a separate venue, to allow both businesses to run efficiently and according to FDA standards. Tests will have to be done to determine proper nutrition facts labeling and sell-by dates, and proper packaging will have to be chosen. Once irresistible tastes and packaging for restaurant brands have been developed, businesses will have to think about how to market their products to stores, as well as consumers.
Marketing Restaurant Brands
Businesses wishing to sell chef products, packaged meals, or gourmet food to supermarkets must start the marketing process before the product is complete. Packaging is the best way to market, before even having an outlet to sell to consumers. Once a retail food product is complete, many brands choose to start selling at a local gourmet food store, or small markets. This is a great way to test the waters before going big, and gain a good reputation which will make it easier to convince larger stores to sell the product in the future. Supermarkets can be approached personally, or by using brokers. Brokers have connections and can therefore raise the chances of success and shorten the process of selling to supermarkets.
Be prepared for rejection. There are many products out there that are alternatives to your products. Have a catch phrase explaining how your product is different and better than other options available. Mention any local, gourmet food store selling your product, and successes of sales rates. Once a market has agreed to sell you product, you must aggressively, but subtly, win over the public. Offering samples in supermarkets and at community events can help consumers fall in love with the product before having to commit to a purchase. The steps to success demand hard work and unwavering belief in your product.
Creating gourmet food and chef products to develop a retail brand can expand a restaurant business by making it famous and providing the owners with an additional source of income. Packaged meals and other gourmet food are tough to sell when selling to supermarkets. Creating a truly unique product and starting out by selling to a local gourmet food store can increase the chances of success.