April 22, 2014
Whole Foods Market tends to be the Holy Grail for many food artisans who are anxious to grow their companies. They believe that if they can get into Whole Foods Market then that means their business has ‘made it.’ Denise Breyley, Whole Foods Market Local Forager for the Pacific Northwest region, shared these tips of things to keep in mind before you approach your local buyer:
- Does your product meet Whole Foods’ Market’s quality standards? You can learn about those standards here.
- Do you know how people are going to respond to your product and your packaging? Farmers’ Markets are a great way to test this out. What’s important is that producers have a clear understanding how of their product is able to differentiate itself from similar products that are on the shelves in that same category. For example, what might be a differentiator for Whole Foods Market is if the product is organic, if it’s traceable back to the exact farmers, etc.
- Speaking of packaging, make sure that your packaging looks professional and will catch the eye of consumers. Your packaging should contain the same elements, such as nutritional labeling and UPC’s, as similar products within that same category.
- Understand your pricing model and make sure that you’re allowing for appropriate margins for yourself and for Whole Foods Market.
- Within your pricing strategy you also want to allow for a promotions budget so that you can help Whole Foods Market sell your product to consumers.
- Do you have a food safety and product recall plan in place? What about product liability insurance?
- Make sure you have the infrastructure not just to create product for Whole Foods Market but also to produce invoices, handle shipping and/or distribution, and be available for in-store demonstrations.
Lastly, remember that Whole Foods Market does want to help small brands succeed but in order for this to happen you need to be open to feedback and willing to work with Whole Foods Market’s buyers to maximize your products’ chance of success in their stores.