December 9, 2010

Letter from a reader… Food Broker Questions

I saw your on-line discussion on using food brokers to represent food products and had a few questions. By way of background, I am in the very early stages of developing a new type of food product. I made a number of samples and have shown them to a several professional in the food industry. Without exception their response has been positive and encouraging. However, to be thorough I wanted to contact a food brokerage service to gain their impression of the product and confirm or correct my market assumptions. So, if you wouldn't mind I would like to pose several questions on this subject:

First, at what stage is it appropriate to engage in discussions with food brokers?

(Tim’s Comment)
You would be well advised to fully understand your product and market prior to reaching out to any of the large brokerage houses that service major retailers. If you are given an opportunity or shot at their time, use it to move your product onto the shelf and not formulate a strategy for re-approaching them with a product at a later date. Be shelf ready!

Can you approach brokers too early? Are there some that specialize in early ventures and if so how would you know?

(Tim’s Comment)
Most do not work with new smaller ventures, but ask them. I have helped many small companies and can offer my services if needed. You can start with one of my intro packages
Depending on how involved and planned your opportunity, we can discuss other opportunities. Please sign-up for my posts on feedburner below, currently I am finalizing a video on "Categories - adding context to your product offering" and know this will help your effort. or visit my site and sign-up at the bottom of most posts.

Second, are there any advantages to dealing with local versus national?

(Tim’s Comment)
Yes, you should start local and treat as your test market for many reasons and depending on your allocated budget to this endeavor. If you were well financed, I might suggest you go to a part of the country where your product would find the most likely success.

Should I use large versus smaller food brokerage firms?

(Tim’s Comment)
Everything depends.... generally a larger firm will not work with an un-proven start-up product. But, I have taken non-rev, ideas to big firms and started new business. It really depends on the situation.
Third, I noted one of of the more interesting broker's website that they represent a firm that creates a similar product. To what extent should you try and find brokers who do not have a conflict or is that just standard practice in the industry for large brokers?

(Tim’s Comment)
You will be hard pressed to find any firms without a conflict of any size due to consolidation. If your product is similar, why do you think you have an opportunity? If you are successful, the other company will have a similar item on the market and how will you effectively hold your market with your consumers?

What are you doing to grow your company and how do you work with brokers? Let me know right now at this link

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