Do you make artisan foods? Do you dream of selling your food product at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco? Don’t know where to start?
In this article I am going to share with you some insider tips on getting your product through the door, tips straight from Raph one of Bi-Rite’s grocery buyer.
Come Prepared to Bi-Rite: The 4 things to have ready.
You will need a really great story about your product and brand. Below you will find some tips on crafting the perfect product story. So let’s get started with the basics.
What is Storytelling?
- Useful Info in a Narrative
- What Motivates Your Team
- What Your Brand Stands For
- About Your Customers
- Emotional & Engaging
- A Beginning, A Crisis & A Resolution
- An Interaction Between Your Customers And Your Brand
What makes good storytelling?
Good stories – the ones you remember because they captivated you – use all the right elements in the right proportions. The right combination
- captures your attention
- keeps you interested
- draws you in
- resonates with you
- builds a bond between you and the storyteller
What makes good storytelling?
People want a hero that they can aspire to be–which means starting from a place they can relate to
7 Questions to get you started on the right path:
- Where did you start?
- What struggles did you face?
- Where did your journey take you?
- Why did you continue on, in the face of adversity?
- Why did you think you were the person to do this?
- How are you different now?
- Who you are and who you serve. What matters is that you stand for someone, rather than stand for something.
If you still need some help, take a look at the ultimate storytelling guide infographic
Also Check out our collection of Great Food Brand Stories, to get more ideas.
It’s helpful to bring a sales sheet with you when you drop off your sample.
What is a sales sheet?
A sales sheet, also known as a product datasheet, sales slick or sell sheet, is a tool that relays product or service details, such as features, benefits and pricing in a one-sheet format. Small business owners offer sale sheets to help customers make buying decisions, as well as sway decisions.
What should be on my sales sheet?
What should be on my sales sheet?
- Logo, Product Name & Tagline
- Clear, High Resolution Product Images.
- Unique Selling Proposition:
- What is It?
- Who is it For?
- What Makes it Special?
- Story product and or brand
- Social Proof
- Customer Testimonials
- Other stories that carry your products
- Product Details
- Package size
- Product Line if you have more than one product
- Order Details
- Contact Information
- Distributors (if any)
In order to get into Bi-Rite you will need to drop off a sample at their 18th street store location.
Getting your samples ready:
- Review the shelf that your product would be placed on in the store. Make sure to size the package isn’t to wide or tall for the shelf it would be placed on.
- Design packaging to show off your product and ensure it stays fresh.
- Your packaging should also be informative, articulating selling points such as whether a product is healthy or organic, and containing legally required information such as ingredients and nutritional content.
- Call to find out the day they will be reviewing samples.
Tip: Seasonal Products
All decisions on items to carry for Thanksgiving and Christmas are made in June & July.
Grow your audience on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Create a calendar & post with trending keywords/ holidays. Post at optimum times of day for each platform. The goal is to increase exposure to your brand. Having an established audience will help you keep your product front of mind in your customers and increase sales. This will also help you stay on the shelves and become a Bi-Rite top performing food product.
Process for Picking Foods for Bi-Rite Grocery Stores
- They work with over 400 suppliers.
- Each week 5 new products are introduced to the store, and
- About 5 existing products are replaced to make room for the new food items they bring in each week.
- They choose about 15-20 products a month through the varieties food shows they attend. (keep reading for a list below)
- They choose about 5 new products a month through product samples delivered to the store.
So you are probably wondering by now, how do they judge the products.
Bi-rite looks at 8 main criteria.
- Packaging- Will it fit on the shelf? Is it eye appealing?
- Is it produced in small batches?- Bi-Rite defines small batch as only a few cases produced at a time up to 20 cases max. The food is produced by the owner or a small team of no more than three people.
- Is it local?- they prefer if the ingredients are locally sourced and produced.
- Is it unique?
- Is it “best in class” for the type of food item. Has it won any awards? Is it excellent and does it stand out?
- What are the ingredients?- Are they high quality ingredients? Do the ingredients come from family owned farms? Is it transparent where the ingredients are coming from?, Are the ingredients local? Are the ingredients “clean”? No GMO’s or hydrogenated oils.
- Do they currently make a similarly under the Bi-Rite Label? If they do, it is unlikely that your product will be chosen for Bi-Rite.
- Is it shelf stable or a refrigerated product? They don’t have enough freezer space to introduce new frozen products.
Bi-Rite gets about 200 products a month to try from varies artisan food producers, which are sampled and evaluated by all the food buyers at a monthly meeting. Out of those 200 products they choose about 5-10 to stock.
Bi-Rite rejects about 95% of the products they receive to sample.
Pricing: Am I Appropiately Priced?
Wholesale pricing is dependent on the type of food product you are making.
How do I figure out my wholesale price?
- Need to Cover Cost of Goods Sold (Ingredients, Labor, Overhead)
- Your Margin (profit) per item sold
- Competitor Price Comparison
So once you have an idea of what price you need to sell your item at to cover your business costs, lets see if you are competitively priced to get into Bi-Rite.
First let’s go over the math:
See some examples in our slide show for:
- Cereals & Granola
- Salty Snacks: Such as chips
- Shelf Stable Salsas
- Nut Butters
Yes ! Bi-Rite wants to Carry My Product... Now What?
So you are have been chosen to be a Bi-Rite vendor, what is expected of a food vendor:
- Completing accounting forms with Bi-rite
- Weekly orders, which need to be delivered to both stores between 6:00 am -2:30pm.
- Invoice dropped off with every delivery.
- Staffing from the food company for in store tastings & product demos.
- Promoting sales of your product at Bi-Rite through your company’s social media channels.
- Bi-Rite Marketing department features one new product a week in their newsletter.
Food Shows Bi-Rite Buyers Attend
The Bi-Rite grocery buyers attend the following food shows every year looking for new products. If you have an excellent product and can afford a booth, it would be a great way to get noticed.
Here is the food show list:
San Francisco Fancy Food Show (January)
Good Food Awards Market Place (Mercantile- SF mid January)
UNFI Show (June)
Tip: Food Shows
Try to share a booth with another small food producer. This will keep the costs lower.
Insider Tip: Food Show
If you can only go to one show, Raph recommends the Good Food Awards Mercantile.
Tips to Keeping My Food on the Shelves at Bi-Rite
Congratulations on getting your product into Bi-Rite, now you need to make sure it won’t get bumped for a product. So how can you do that, you might ask. It all comes down to volume of sales. To save your shelf spot, most products need to produce at least $500 in sales for a 12 week period.
Tips to become a top food brand at Bi-Rite:
A recent study provided good evidence of the benefits provided by effective in-store sampling. In ideal conditions, sampling can result in 656% more sales on the day, with a 90% increase still present in product sales after twenty weeks; that’s an increase of over 10% still happening five months later. (supermarket news)
So seeing how many products they sample to make a decision is there any opportunities for new food products?
There are, there are very few excellent small batch producers of the following products:
- Shelf Stable Salsa
- Potato Chips
- Cereal (not granola)
- Nut Butters
It would be very hard for you to get a new product in these categories: coffee, granola and chocolate. There is a large amount of excellent small batch producers, the competition is fierce.
Share your Success Stories!
Let us know how you got your product into Bi-Rite or Other Stores.
Leave a Comment Below!