Last week we discussed how to create a product line in the marketplace. This week we're going to take it a step further and analyze how to align your product with a gourmet food company for distribution. When it comes to your product line, it's all about understanding what your product stands for, whether it's integrity, sustainability, being local, organic, etc. Make sure you work with a grocery store or a food company that's aligned with your ideals and stands by the integrity of your product.
Step 1: Find a company or grocery store that follows the same principle as your product line.
I have had the honor of working with Foodstuffs located in the suburbs of Chicago. My food line, Suzy's Samosas, is an exotic line of gourmet, artisanal, and local products that completely fall inline with Foodstuffs products.
Step 2: Research the products that have been introduced at the company or store already.
Foodstuffs is known for being among the first to distribute WildFire Dressings, Hecky's BBQ Sauce, Maggiano's Marinara/House Dressing, Francesco's Hole in the Wall Pasta Sauce, Wells St. Popcorn, Skinny Pop. Gary Pippins Popcorn, and Milk & Honey Granola. What do they all have in common? At one point they were all small ventures that were introduced to the gourmet product market through Foodstuffs, and have later gone on to become successful ventures. This is a great opportunity for startup and new, local, gourmet products lines to get introduced to Foodstuffs Gourmet Stores. This can also be said for Whole Foods, Marianos, Jewel, Trader Joes, etc. Do the research before your approach.
Step 3: Make the approach.
When you are approaching a company or store, understand that there is a process. First is an formal introduction on your product, then a tasting, then working with one individual store on a trial basis, and finally expanding your product line to various stores. This process (depending on your product) can take anywhere from two weeks to one year.
Step 4: Maintain the connection/integrity of the product.
I like to call this the Oprah Effect! Once your product becomes super popular (because you are creating such an amazing product) not only is it really important to keep the connections with your first/primary contact at the store location, it's also a great way of incorporating quality control. You can see what parts of your product line are selling, and which ones may need improvement.
Step 5: Create something amazing, original or with a unique flare and find a home for it! Good luck!
MasterChef contestant Suzy Singh spices up life through culinary arts. An inspiration to her fans, she recently left a career as a neural engineer to pursue food and cooking. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Suzy believes in the integrity of food and cooking. She is versed in Punjabi, Classic French, American, and Molecular Gastronomy cuisine. Currently, you can find delectable treats from Suzy at Bombay Wraps (Chicago), Foodstuffs (multiple Chicagoland area locations), and Fedora (Chicago). She is also a national spokesperson for Le Cordon Bleu, has her own food truck in the spring through fall months in Chicago. She plans to author a book, star in her own show and inspire others to pursue their dreams. For more on Suzy go to SuzySingh.com.