5000 Riverside Dr

Keasbey, NJ, 08832

(908) 527-3300

Wakefern Food Corp.

Wakefern Food Corporation is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Employing an innovative approach to wholesale business services, Wakefern focuses on helping the independent retailer compete in a big business world. 

Wakefern is uniquely positioned to meet the wholesale needs of the retail customers it serves. Wakefern’s commitment to delivering quality and value to these retail brands extends to their customers throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland and Rhode Island.

This wholesale reach also includes international, as well as domestic customers, providing them with high quality grocery, perishable, and non-foods products, at a consistently great value.

In the years since Wakefern’s founding, this cooperative has continued to provide its wholesale customers with exceptional services and outstanding value, building trust and loyalty among the retail entities it serves. Wakefern cooperative continues to grow and is now comprised of 47 members.

How to get your product into Wakefern

  1. Understand you client: Before you spend a lot of time and money creating a product, you should know if anyone will want to buy it. Learn more about Market Research
  2. Learn if it’s protectable: Know if you can defend your product against cheap copies if it gets knocked off. Learn more about Copyright and Patent your product
  3. Test your product: Make sure that there’s a demand for your product and the customer understands what you are selling when it’s on the shelf and nobody is there to explain it. Learn more about Product Testing
  4. Perfect your pitch: Before you speak to decision makers, know your numbers, know your retailer and know your logistics in and out. Learn more about Pitching Your Product
  5. Don’t do it alone: If you haven’t been successful in retail before, a secret of success is that you can’t do it alone. Having great sales staff, customer support and marketing partners can take you from zero to success faster than if you tried on your own. Learn more about Retail Partnerships

How to get into Wakefern Food Corporations

Founded in 1946, Wakefern Food Corporation supplies food and consumer products. The Company offers grocery, meat, frozen food, and dairy products, as well as provides private label brand development, advertising support, and category management services. Wakefern Food operates in the State of New Jersey.

Wakefern is the 20th largest private company and the largest retailers’ cooperative group of supermarkets in the United States, the fourth-largest cooperative of any kind in U.S., and the largest private employer in New Jersey (35,000 people). Wakefern has fifty member companies who own and operate 353 supermarkets, under the brands of ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, and Dearborn Market, in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Wakefern supplies all of its members’ ShopRite stores as well as the Price Rite and The Fresh Grocer chains, and Dearborn Market. In July 2007, the cooperative announced that for the first time it was offering its wholesale services to third-party supermarket operators, in the Northeastern United States and other areas of the country. Since then, Wakefern has announced deals to supply the Gristedes and Morton Williams chains of supermarkets in the New York City area, Heinen’s Fine Foods chain in Ohio, as well as The Market Place in Bermuda.

Wakefern also provides its members’ stores with services such as: computer services, insurance, advertising, marketing, merchandising, and procurement.

On its vendor relations, the company states that: “Wakefern Food Corp. has a wide range of vendor partnerships and agreements that support its retail and wholesale businesses.

If you are interested in establishing a vendor partnership with Wakefern, log on to Wakefern.”

For all other information regarding form, applications, and guidelines, you should visit this link.

Wakefern places its strong point in the market on three things: price, customer service, and topmost quality. To achieve price, the retailer must get the products at affordable prices from the suppliers.  Customer service is with the company. The last part is topmost quality. This is also a point with the supplier. The retailer would sell what the supplier supplies. Thus, to maintain the standard, the products must be of topmost quality. 

As a vendor, you need a unique selling point. This is what strikes you different from other vendors. Your offerings are seen differently when you have uniqueness to your market offerings. If you don’t have one at the moment, look at what you offer in products and services and see how you can make it better. It could be a payment service, or the large varieties you present, or the extra-special freshness of what you offer. Just do something differently.

As part of its policy, this retail company sources local products and does this from local suppliers. However, these must comply with regulations and guidelines. 

Contact Wakefern Buyer

Do not trust any “list” of buyers.

Typically retail buyers change either companies or positions every few years. This strategy helps retailers know that their buyers are not taking “kick-backs” and are selecting the very best product for the very best position each time.

Buyers are typically held to a very rigorous standard of sell-through volume that they must hit and because of this they are risk averse. Your job as a supplier or vendor is to convince them that the buyers going into the stores not only know about what you’re selling but are actively seeking the product in the store currently.

  • Step 1

    Contact Wakefern Buyer

    Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Wakefern’s radar.

    Call the Wakefern’s corporate phone number and ask for the names of the buyer and assistant buyers in your category.

    Always leave voicemail with whomever the dispatch will connect you.

    Use that information to connect with them on LinkedIn, RangeMe and any other professional social platform.

    Ask your representative at your trade bureau to connect you to the Wakefern buyers as they will potentially have a better history.

  • Step 2

    Get On Wakefern’s Radar

    Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Wakefern’s buyer through 3rd party websites & industry media sources.

    Be everywhere that they look, the key is to position your brand as the obvious choice when Wakefern is looking to either refill a slot or create a new category.

    Latch on to the news of the day and any trend that will make your product fill that niche whether that be Non-GMO or Vegan Leather for example.

    Investing in your brand can only benefit your opportunities in the future. As being “top of mind” will have a ripple effect when you physically present your product at a Wakefern buyers meeting or trade show in the future.

    Step 2

How to Submit a Product to Wakefern

There are several ways to get a product placed in Wakefern. However, most entrepreneurs only dream about getting their product distributed to major retailers, few actually do it. We have experienced a significant rise in interest since the show Shark Tank started airing on NBC. Mr. Checkout has had the pleasure of working with a few Shark Tank success stories such as KISStixx and 180 Party Cups which are now currently being distributed around the country to stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, 7-Eleven and more.

If you envision your product would be a good fit for Wakefern, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.

Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in Wakefern.

1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Wakefern, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Do you need to build demand for your product, or is there already a demand for it? Do you know that Wakefern would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Wakefern, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Wakefern, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle distribution?

2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for Wakefern? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Wakefern’s guidelines for other fees that you will have to build into the cost of your product in order for you to be able to turn enough of a profit to make the effort worth your while. If you work with a discount retailer, they will try to strip your profits down to zero in order to keep their prices as low as possible.

The typical breakdown of margins are: If a products costs $1 to produce, that product will retail for $4. That product that retails for $4 will wholesale for $2 to distributors and stores that purchase direct. Big box retailers like Wakefern may offer to pay $1.25 to the manufacturer if the product costs $1 to produce. That is the typical profit margin.

3. Determine if Wakefern is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Wakefern starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Wakefern already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Wakefern to see what kind of products they are selling, speak to the manager and see if he thinks your product will sell well in their store. Picture in which zone your product would best fit on the shelf and keep in mind that the most precious asset that these big box stores value are their shelf space. Keep this information in mind when you are preparing your presentation to Wakefern.

If your company is minority or women owned, check Wakefern’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.

4. Pitch your product to Wakefern.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Wakefern. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.

It’s common for companies to hire a broker to pitch their product to Wakefern, as it will be more likely that your product will make it to the next stage if the individual pitching your product has industry knowledge or a personal relationship with Wakefern. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Wakefern.

We at Mr. Checkout have experience dealing with brokers and know that there are several retail brokers that have poor business practices that can potentially damage your brand. If you are seeking a legitimate Wakefern broker, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.

5. Complete the required Wakefern paperwork.) Often Wakefern will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Wakefern, you should contact a buyer at Wakefern and let them know your intentions. Having a contact inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.

6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having Wakefern agree to stock your product will most likely mean a significant increase in volume. You should be prepared to ramp up your production and informing your manufacturer of this opportunity.

Having production, logistics and distribution to sync is not only difficult, it requires a significant amount of time invested in customer relations. Also, Wakefern may have stipulations in the contract that may penalize you for delays in shipping and production. Have an attorney explain all contracts to you if you don’t understand the terms.

If you’re looking to sell your product to Wakefern, be sure to thoroughly assess the marketplace, carefully prepare for production growth, and take full advantage of resources available to help you grow your business.

Submit Your Product Now

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