How to Get Your Product into Whole Foods
Whole Foods is the ideal retailer for natural and organic products, but is it really possible to get on their shelves if you’re not a big brand? Absolutely, as long as you follow these tips:
Start with Farmers’ Markets.
Whole Foods understands who their customer is and what kind of products they want, so they don’t always look to national trade shows to discover new products. Instead, they search local farmers’ markets to discover locally made products that haven’t gone national yet. If you want to attract Whole Foods buyers to your brand, start selling your products at Farmers’ Markets around you.
Contact the right buyer.
Each region of Whole Foods has a department of buyers that oversees that area. Before you contact anyone within the company, make sure that you’re talking to the right buyer. The nutrition buyer deals with supplements and personal care, while the specialty buyer handles cheese, beer and wine. If you have a dry goods, dairy, frozen or general merchandise item, talk to the grocery buyer.
Be prepared to make adjustments.
Whole Foods has a reputation to uphold, and that means any product that sits on their shelves must meet their high expectations. Before you enter a meeting with their buyers, be prepared to be asked to make adjustments to your product. The buyers may want you to add or remove certain ingredients to your product to better fit their customer. They may want you to change the packaging to target the organic, health-conscious customer. Whatever it is, be prepared for them to want you to change your product, and do the math ahead of time to see if it’s feasible.
Suggest a demo.
Once you do have the meeting, be willing to make suggestions to the buyers to sweeten the deal. If you sense some hesitation on their part, suggest having a one weekend in-store demonstration to prove that customers do want what you’re selling. This is definitely a risky move, since you will not get on shelves if you’re not successful, but it gets your foot in the door and shows confidence.
Work with a distributor.
There are hundreds—maybe thousands—of brands who dream of getting their product in Whole Foods. Sometimes, even if you do all the right things, you won’t have any luck getting Whole Foods to notice you. That’s why it’s essential that you work with the distributors at Mr. Checkout Distributors, a company that constantly searches for new products to pass along to their team of wagon jobbers and direct store distributors. This team of distributors has relationships with big box retailers across the country, so you can get your product into the market quickly with trusted retailers. Mr. Checkout Distributors has been the driving force behind the success of a number of different household name brands, and yours could be the next one.