You need to fully understand your product, its unique selling point and the market before you approach a supermarket with a business pitch.
Branded or supermarket own brand product
There are essentially two options when supplying your food or drinks products to supermarkets or other retailers. The first option is supplying your product labelled with your own brand name. Your product would need to be entirely unique and different from other products they currently stock in order for the supermarket or retailers to be convinced to sell your branded product.
The other option is to supply your food or drinks product unbranded, known as a white label product, which the supermarket will sell under their own brand, eg Tesco Healthy Living. Supplying white label goods may mean you sell more products to the supermarket or retailer but the price they pay you is likely to be a lot lower than if you supplied your branded product.
Research and preparation before pitching to a supermarket
Before approaching any supermarket or retailer with your business pitch you should do your research by going into stores and looking at their existing range of products. Supermarkets will expect you to know your product and your market very well. You should ask yourself:
- Do I have a finished product or just a prototype? You may need to hit the ground running. If a supermarket agrees to sell your product they may demand delivery within weeks.
- Where would my product fit in? Study the store aisle-by-aisle so you know exactly where you think your product should be located on the shop floor.
- How does my product differ from other similar products currently on offer? Does it fill a gap on the supermarket shelf? What sets my product apart from my competition? Supermarkets want to diversify their product range and not just replicate what they’re already offering.
- Is my product visually attractive? Does it stand out from the crowd? Think about the branding, design and colour of your product and compare it to similar products already on supermarket shelves. See using design to boost our sales – Mullins Ice Cream.
- Would my product compete with a supermarket own brand product? If a supermarket thinks your product is just a direct competitor for a current own brand product they are not likely to be interested.
- What about price and quality? Look at the prices and quality of similar products. How does my product differ?
- What type of person shops in this store? Is the type of person who shops in this store likely to buy my product? Could my product attract new people to this store?
Don’t be afraid of seeking advice from brands or local businesses that have their products listed in supermarkets or retail outlets that you are targeting. Some businesses are only too willing to offer advice to others.