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The Journey to Placement on the Retailer's Shelf

Closing a deal with a grocery retailer


Foodpreneur client Fun to Eat Fruit is using mommy bloggers for new product launches.

Foodpreneur client David Salzman started Fun to Eat Fruit and is using mommy bloggers for new product launches.

Mamma Belly Eco-BeeCo innovative sugar free sweetner

Foodpreneur client Eco-BeeCo gets on the shelf with new sugar-free sweetner that uses a taste of honey

Eco-BeeCo Eco-BeeCo differentiates it's brand

Eco-BeeCo differentiates it's brand using unique ingredients that attract new customers


Objectives to Achieve

If you are either in a business selling retail consumer food and beverages products or contemplating this as a business, you have 3 objectives to achieve:

  • Getting you product idea Out of the Kitchen
  • Getting the product on the Retailer's Shelf
  • Getting on to the Consumers Plate.

Getting on the Consumers Plate has 3 distinct efforts:

  • Getting initial consumer trial of your product
  • Getting the critical consumer repeat purchase
  • Maintaining consumer loyalty or preference for you brand

Basics of Getting on the Shelf at Grocery Retailers

Starting Small and Local is a must. Some great examples are Whole Foods, EarthFare, Ingles and cooperative retailers such as ShopRite.

For example, in food, many food entrepreneurs start because they have a great recipe, serve it to friends and get the inevitable "you should sell this product".

However, not to burst your bubble, it is not just taste.

Buyers want to hear and see the following:

  • How your product will expand the category (this is called Category Management)?
  • What is your trade support program?
  • Do you have pricing that is competitive, provides value AND is affordable?
  • Do you have a package that is shelf ready?
  • Do you have a line of products vs. one item?
  • Do you understand their merchandising policy?

Food Entrepreneur Tips - Tips for Starting or Growing a Food Business

  • Starting Local and Small. Trade Shows are great and the best are Expo West and The Fancy Food Show . Before you invest a single dollar exhibiting, go to the shows first as an attendee.
  • Food retailers prefer to deal with brokers because they rely on the broker to pre-qualify products prior to presenting to the buyer. Additionally there are not enough appointment hours in the year for buyers to meet with every individual brand. Just think… 50 weeks a year… 40 hours per week equals 2000 hours a year. Even if a buyer did NOTHING but take appointments all day they could only speak with 2000 brands. And you know there are way more than that:)
  • Using Social Media to get the buzz going about your product. There are companies out their that can help you with this task.

Create Social Media Buzz

Absolutely find bloggers who will sample your product and blog about it… creating valuable buzz. Don't expect buyers to call you. It is VERY rare that you will get a buyer calling you. Use the buzz in your buyer presentation to reinforce a decision to give you shelf

However, not to burst your bubble, Shelf Strategy, how you will get the product on the shelf, is not just taste. Buyers want to hear and see the following

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