Create a family of products for successful grocery store sales

Creating a family of products through flavor variety and same category additions can boost grocery store profits for food manufacturers.

Selling your food product at grocery stores is more than a full-time proposition. There are several different factors that can affect your success. Here are some pointers from the MSU Product Center that have been shared by clients who have experience in selling to over 100 stores.

First, it is critical that your product is unique. Without uniqueness, you will have an uphill battle competing against similar products from companies that most likely have a higher marketing budget and a larger sales force. Second, even with a unique product, having only one product to sell will most likely not be enough if you want your total sales to provide a livable income. In addition, large retailers will not even consider you if you do not have a family of products. When you consider how many times the consumer is likely to use your product within a week or month, it becomes very clear that having a family of products will enable you to reach your sales goal.

Creating multiple products gives your business several Stock Keeping Units (SKU’s) in the store. Creating a variety of products can be achieved in several different ways. If your original product is not unique, then make your next product unique in some way by adding a flavoring or ingredient(s), making it gluten-free, or perhaps giving it a unique package. The addition of an ingredient that isn’t used today by other competitors could catch the consumers’ attention. If you have a truly unique product that doesn’t have many or any competitors, then different flavors may be sufficient in increasing your sales considerably.

Another possible method to increase your SKU’s is to create a new product that will be in the same category as your original product within the store. An example is creating a dipping sauce that goes along the same line as your spaghetti sauce. Regardless of what product it is, consider your expertise, the kitchen equipment and packaging process you currently use to ensure the product is the right fit for your production capacity. This will reduce your start-up costs.

In contrast, you could add a complimentary item that is generally used by the consumer with your product. For example, if you sell a salsa, partner with a restaurant or start-up business that makes tortilla chips to offer the chips under your brand and offer them in the store together in the deli section if possible. This creates more sales for them and an additional income for you.

It is important to remember that trying to introduce a truly new and unique product is really the best way to achieve success. In addition, a high rate of inventory turnover is essential and can only be achieved through sampling and marketing.

See the following articles for more information on grocery store sale success tips: Selling your manufactured food product in the grocery store and Marketing your food product in the grocery store.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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