Entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in food retail face an enormous obstacle: established brand giants. Of course, that’s an obstacle faced by small businesses in any market, but it tends to be a larger obstacle for niche food brands. That’s due in part because people tend to be very particular about what they choose to ingest, which can make for extreme brand loyalty.
That very personal, very particular concern about what one eats and drinks serves as an extremely powerful motivator to choose the best products on the market. This can mean that over time as different trends and health information come to light that people can be looking for products to potentially replace the brand giant they grew up with or are most familiar with.
That provides an “in” from which a shrewd food retailer can carve out a sizable chunk of market share, particularly when partnered with a competent CPG marketing agency.
Establish Your Ideal Customer and Take Them Away From Brand Giants
It can be frustrating, to say the least, for niche food and drink producers to have a product they know tastes better than, and can be competitively priced against, a leading brand, but still doesn’t gain traction. It’s even tougher when said producer knows their product is healthier to boot.
The key is knowing exactly who the customer you’re looking for is and why they would choose you over a brand giant. Once you’ve established that customer and established yourself as a preferable alternative to the brand leader, the giant’s size and dominance works in your favor. People buying something that isn’t produced by a global conglomerate are often buying it in large part because it’s not a food giant.
They’re likely buying a niche product because they believe it’s smaller-batch, with more perceived personal attention to quality. This may be due in part to higher quality ingredients that are locally sourced and a final product that is prepared in something more closely resembling a kitchen rather than a massive production complex.
Use a CPG Broker to Your Advantage
The secret weapon for any niche food producer hoping to help get their brand onto shelves is a good food broker (aka grocery broker, CPG broker). A reputable CPG broker will be familiar with the territory, including the owners of local stores and buyers from the chains. And not just locally. An experienced grocery broker should be generally familiar with national and international vendors, retailers, and wholesalers.
As their job requires selling products like yours, they know what sells and how to sell it. The nature of the business means that the top full-service CPG brokers will be part sales and marketing agency, part brand expert and ambassador, and part deal-making liaison.
It can be frustrating, but even with a great product, landing your niche item on the shelves, where it’s positioned to compete against the giants, requires more than an excellent consumable commodity and determination. There are seemingly endless amounts of work to be done, both minor and major, to not only get, but keep your items on the shelf.
For instance, your product has to be competitive and appealing in its packaging, pricing, and presentation in the store. Its high-volume production logistics have to be viable, streamlined, and financially sustainable. There also needs to be visible in-store advocacy. That might mean a prominent end-cap in a high-traffic region of the store, a window-sign, or sign at the register. On-shelf display may require fine-tuning so your product doesn’t get buried and lost.
All of that requires contacting the appropriate representatives and negotiating the terms. That’s not to say that a food producer can’t do it, but not many niche food producers are already acquainted with the grocery retailing powers-that-be like an experienced food broker is.
At the end of the day, if you’ve got a good product and are willing to adapt and jump at opportunity when it presents itself, with a good food broker you can compete against industry giants and prosper.
About Impact Group
Founded in 1994, Impact Group focuses on employing empirical, fact-based data on consumer buying and CPG marketing trends to guide their clients onto the most productive growth paths. This approach, which utilizes their proprietary technology, has resulted in Impact Group emerging as one of the most effective and respected players in the CPG space. They’re also a trusted sales and marketing agency. Impact Group remains large enough to make an impact, but streamlined, efficient, and nimble enough to specialize, optimizing growth for any client’s niche.
Take your brand to the next level with Impact Group at Impactgrp.com