Seeing your product on the shelf of your local supermarket is the ultimate dream for many artisan food producers.
However, in a highly saturated and cutthroat market, not all products can secure themselves a spot.
Here are nine questions to ask yourself to help you on your journey.
Who is your customer, and what makes them tick?
The key to selling your product is knowing who will buy it.
Your customer will dictate almost every aspect of your final product.
Your delicious new offering needs to meet their needs, echo their values and speak to them through the noise of a crowded market.
What’s special about your product?
A typical UK supermarket ranges up to 50,000 SKUs, so customers have no shortage of choice.
You must determine what makes your product different from the 49,999 on the shelf.
It could be a unique ingredient or recipe, your rich family heritage or your branding – buyers and customers are looking for something new.
Have you done a name check?
This might sound daft, but have you Googled your product name lately?
It’s important to check that there’s nobody using a similar name but also that your product name doesn’t mean something inappropriate in another language!
Who else is making waves in your market?
It’s essential to be aware of your competition. You’ll also be able to learn a lot from their journey to success.
Have you got the finished product?
You may only get one opportunity to get your product in front of a supermarket buyer, so it’s important to make sure that your product is up to scratch.
Don’t be tempted to show up with concepts and mood boards, as you’ll just look unprepared.
Have you worked out the details?
Major retailers have strict standards for health, manufacturing, and distribution so you will also need rigorous standards in these areas.
It’s important to make a decision early on whether you want to keep production in-house and have a plan for distribution.
You will need to conform to their processes rather than expecting them to conform to yours.
Are you ready for a taste test?
This will make or break your product. Get as much feedback as possible from various tasters and take their thoughts on board.
Who can you ask for help?
You’ll get the best advice from those who have already undertaken this journey.
Seek out a mentor who can guide you through the common pitfalls of your industry.
Are you staying true to your values?
Going into supermarkets will mean substantially upscaling your business to meet demand.
You have to decide how this can coexist with your brand values when production has to move to industrial premises or some elements need to be outsourced.