You have a new beef jerky brand, how do you get it into grocery stores?
You may have noticed that the beef jerky industry is dominated by a few large brands. These large brands seem to control the beef jerky industry, and you’re right. SDBCNet writes, “In 2007, according to Information Resources, Inc., the four top-selling labels comprised approximately 87% of jerky and 97% of dried meat snack sales in supermarkets and drugstores. This pattern of consolidation is expected to continue, as retailers increasingly deny products from smaller vendors.”
With this seemingly daunting information, you may be wondering, “How do I distribute beef jerky to grocery stores?” You may have had huge success with your delicious beef jerky product at local farmers markets, but you’re ready to branch out and expand into local and national grocery store chains. We’re here to give you advice on how you can beat the odds in this competitive industry and get your product into grocery stores.
Beef jerky is unique in that it doesn’t need any kind of preservatives or refrigeration. It’s jerky, after all. This simplifies distribution needs a little bit, as all that you need to distribute your beef jerky product to grocery stores is room on a truck. How you go about securing distribution is up to you.
Direct store delivery: Many entrepreneurs will start delivering their grocery store items, such as beef jerky, via direct-store delivery. They will utilize this method until demand for their beef jerky product increases and they can look into working with distribution centers.
Work with a Distributor: Once you have proved to local grocery stores you’re able to deliver a quality beef jerky product on-time and on a regular schedule, look into securing a contract with a distribution center. Distributors are valuable in that they have relationships with retailers. They can push your beef jerky product through the sales funnel and can sell your product in mass to the grocery stores in their networks. They can help you grow your business or reach those retailers that are less willing to work with a less-known independent entrepreneur.
Specialty/Gourmet Foods Distributors: If your beef jerky product fits the bill, it can be distributed by a specialty or gourmet foods distributor. A specialty distributor will distribute your beef jerky product to grocery stores, supermarkets, health food stores, specialty stores, gourmet stores and combination stores.
Health/Natural Foods Distributor: A health or natural foods distributor is another option to distribute beef jerky to grocery stores, supermarkets, natural food stores or gourmet stores.
Wholesalers: Wholesalers offer another great route to distribute beef jerky to grocery stores. Wholesalers supply supermarkets with the majority of their inventory. Many wholesalers also serve specialty stores and natural foods stores, meaning your beef jerky product could have a high distribution reach if you choose the right wholesaler.
Know Whom to Contact: In the case of those major retail chains or grocery stores, like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, there is usually a single buyer that you need to identify and get in contact with. Since you’re wondering, “How do I get my beef jerky product in grocery stores?” you’ll want to find and reach out to the specialty foods buyer or snack foods buyer at each of the grocery stores on your list of stores to target.