Getting your crops into local grocery stores.
The key elements for success at getting your products into local grocery stores.
Get your packaging right.
By this I do not mean spend a fortune but do realize for most supermarket chains of almost any size they will use warehouses to store and sort their produce. When this is the case you must have your items stack able and in boxes and packaging that can be added to pallets.
If you have the good fortune to have a smaller local store near you it is still a good idea to get your packaging figured out so it can be ready for sale, and stacked in back of the grocery for restocking by the store.
Being kind and talking to the right people really does still matter even in this World where everything seems so automated. Those personal connections can help you get a better view behind the scenes so you can understand where your crops or produce fits in the overall grocery store produce process.
One local produce manager shared this.
Another important thing for people to think about is that dealing with produce is not just putting it in the ground, harvesting it, and putting it on a truck. Its important that [growers] try to remember that they need to think of it as being their product from the time it starts as the seed to the time it gets to the consumers plate. I say that because a lot of farmers that I have dealt with over the years have excellent product. However, when it comes to harvesting, packaging, shipping, icing, and doing all the finer points to get the product into our back door at its maximum quality, they have no concept of these steps.
These kinds of personal yet professional connections make a difference in keeping your business as well.
Listen to this story shared by another local grovery professional.
A couple of years ago, we were contacted by a guy from Georgia that grows Vidalia onions, which are Georgias very hot commodity. We went to work with this guy because in the past we had a lot of problems with quality and consistency. The first year, he shipped his onions in his own boxes with his own label. They were of very good quality, clean, dry, and of a good size. The next year when Vidalia onion season came around, there was no doubt in our minds where we were going. The second year was even better. This year, when the Vidalia onions get ready, we are going to buy from nobody but him, even to the point that, if on a given day, we do not have any Vidalia onions to ship to our stores, we won’t ship.
In that comment above you also hear the effect that good packaging has on the experience and perception of the grocery manager or buyer.
Determine your place in the local market
You likely have done this already to determine how popular your crop or produce will likely be in your marketplace.
You have or should have looked into any competitors, demand for the product locally, and the ideal way to package and care for your product in order to maximize your sales at the grocery level when you get in the store.
This means thinking not only about popularity, competition, price, but also the shelf life of your items, and what can be done to promote your sales and the local grocery store.
Sometimes small local stores like the idea of have the farmer offer product samples, or do calm meet in greets in the store itself. Other are just happy to see customers coming in asking about your item and buying it.
When you do some social media work to let people know when your fresh items are in stock and where you will assist this process.
You can even let a produce manager know about your social following, and that you are happy to promote the fact that you item is at their store on a regular basis.
I know several growers who peeked the interest of a grocer because they were able to demonstrate that they had an active local following of thousands of potential customers.
In order to get your social media marketing in order you should post content regularly that engages with your ideal customer base.
You can watch a free webinar on this topic here: