Why Food Brokers Are the Best Way to Expand Your Business

October 5, 2017

Food retail is a $5 trillion industry, with roughly 40,000 supermarkets and storefronts throughout the U.S.  As the owner of a new food company, your goal is to get a slice of this very big pie.  But without the proper connections, it’s difficult to get a foot in the door.  A food broker can help.

What is a Food Broker?

Generally speaking, a food broker is the liaison between your company and the stores in which you’d like to place your product. Think of a food broker as your agent.  This person has the best contacts and can often make the difference between industry obscurity and great success.  More specifically, food brokers do the following:

  • Master the details: When convincing a supermarket or storefront to sell your product, everything must be perfect. Food brokers help you land on pricing, promotions, packaging, production logistics, demos, and the right marketplace. They help you present your product in the most compelling way possible.
  • Expert negotiator: They work with store buyers to find the best ways to promote your product. Whether that’s endcap placement or a sign at the register, they’ll land on the most effective methods to maximize your sales.  They’ll also negotiate the best possible terms of your deal.
  • Front and center: With a food broker, you won’t have to worry about your product being buried in a non-dominant location.
  • Bottom line: The ultimate objective of expansion is to produce more revenue. A food broker can help you achieve your business goals, which in turn improves your bottom line spending.  Plus, you can do this without bringing on an additional hire.
  • Peace of mind: They take care of all the tedious business stuff so you can focus on your passion—making an incredible product.

It’s important to note that food brokers are not salespeople.  While salespeople can be somewhat beneficial, they’re only focused on moving units and hitting targets.  They’re not concerned with strategy or building ongoing relationships with buyers (and department managers).

Additionally, food brokers are available in every possible niche.  Whether you sell organic, kosher, or other ethnic foods, there’s a broker that has your market cornered.  Be sure to select a broker that knows your specific category.

Finding a Food Broker

Now, it’s clear that you need a food broker.  But this realization is only half the battle.  Next, you need to start your search.  However, before you start sending emails and making cold calls, you need to understand as much as possible about your current business plan.

What do you love about your current model and what do you hate? And if you want to change anything, what would you do?  Be clear about what’s working and what needs improvement.  A food broker will work as a partner, guiding you through the necessary changes to reach new levels of success.  But you need to know your business inside and out before your initial contact.

Once you’ve analyzed your business, consider the following points:

  • Experience: What qualities should your broker possess? What kind of success metrics are you looking for?
  • Budget: How much have you allocated for expansion and marketing? What can you afford to pay out in commissions and fees?  This is a major factor in what your food broker can do for you.
  • Territory: Where are you currently selling the product, and where would you like to expand to? You need a food broker that has connections in your target market. Also, which distributors are you willing to turn over to your broker? Are your current distributors helping or hindering your ability to grow?
  • Research: Build a list of brokers you’d like to work with and find their contact people and information.
  • Prepare: Before a food broker can sell your product to buyers, you need to sell your product to them. This means an updated pricing sheet and thorough marketing plan, which includes strategies for demos, advertising and social media, and promotions.

After booking a meeting with your desired food broker, it’s time to sell them on your product.  Your sales pitch to them should be just as convincing and professional as if you were going directly to the head of Whole Foods, Sprouts, Nob Hill or Albertsons.  Your pitch should include your long-term goals (i.e. stores you’d like to work with, distributor gross margin, etc.), your primary categories, your previous failures and successes (and the reasons why), and what your brand stands for.

Additionally, you should share the stores you’ve been rejected by.  It might be painful to recount these details but covering this will help your broker assess your current challenges and ways to overcome them.

Your first meeting should also cover some important terms of your business relationship with the broker:

  • Verify background: What lines does this broker currently represent? What territories are they working in?  How long have they been in the business?
  • Pay: What’s their desired commission rate? Does that fall in line with your budget? How much wiggle room do you have?
  • Contract: You should come prepared with a contract, which can be reviewed on the spot if all goes well.

For food brands looking to launch a new product or expand their current business, food brokers aren’t just “nice to have”; they’re your key to national success. FreshSource represents products (Taylor Farms, Foxy, Green Giant, etc, etc) in nearly every major grocery store in the U.S., including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vons Albertsons and many, many others – see full list here.


FreshSource, LLC’s Natalie Machado and Dave Juarez Discuss Success at FPFC Southern California Expo

October 3, 2017

Any produce person that’s made it through at least one full show season, knows that an industry event is a key time to shine. From a well-designed booth to newly formed connections, a successful show can leave you with a buzz that lasts past the closing events. For FreshSource, LLC, one of its most important expos of the year is FPFC SoCal; allowing the company and its clients a chance to dazzle the industry.

National Director of Marketing Natalie Machado and National Director of Retail Dave Juarez took the time to sit down with me and divulge not only what made this year’s event a success, but how FPFC SoCal primes FreshSource and its clients for yearlong success… Read More

Tony Zagarella to Promoted to Director of Retail for the North

May 5, 2017

We would like to officially announce the promotion of Tony Zagarella to Director of Retail for the North. Tony has shown a passion and energy for success during his nearly 3 years as a retail merchandiser, and this promotion is very well deserved. Tony has also been working on some independent accounts, and that focus will continue. The retail team will now report to Tony. Please congratulate Tony on his new position and wish him well in this new and vital role.

Please welcome Dennis Palma to the team

May 3, 2017

Please welcome Dennis Palma to the team. Dennis will be a sales merchandiser in the North Bay, covering from the Golden Gate to Ukiah over to Napa/Sonoma. Dennis most recently worked for Impact sales and brings a depth of experience in sales and merchandising.

We would like to announce the hiring of Nannette Andersen.

May 1, 2017

We would like to announce the hiring of Nannette Andersen. Nannette was most recently with Interlink Marketing Group, and previous to that with me at Edge Sales and Marketing. Nannette is an energetic and creative addition to the FSN team! Nannette will be responsible for Raley’s, Nor-Cal Produce, Inc. and other independent accounts while managing brands and sharing her knowledge base and experience with the entire team. Please welcome Nannette to the FreshSource team with open arms.

Marylou’s focus will be Safeway and the bay area independents.

I will continue my focus on Save Mart, Safeway and Raley’s, in addition to the independents.

FreshSource, LLC Sales & Merchandising is proud to announce the recent hire of Mike Casazza, as the President of FreshSource, LLC- Southwest Region.

February 7, 2017

FreshSource, LLC Sales & Merchandising is proud to announce the recent hire of Mike Casazza, as the President of FreshSource, LLC- Southwest Region.

“FreshSource is proud to have such a tremendous talent join our family. We are confident that Mike will add a great deal of value to the services we provide our principles and retailers, as well as helping us execute on our expansion in the years to come.,” says Founder Robert Thompson.

Mike has more than 25 years of executive experience in sales and marketing of Tropical Fruit, Commodity Vegetables, and all lines of Value Added produce through retail, foodservice, club and wholesale formats throughout North America.

Prior to joining Freshsource, Mike served for more than a decade-and-a-half as Executive Vice President for North American Sales and Marketing with Apio Inc., where he managed its commodity fruit and vegetable business and growth of value added vegetables.

Earlier in his career, throughout the ’90s, Mike was with Del Monte Fresh Produce, starting as a Western Region Foodservice Manager and was promoted to Vice President North America Sales. In addition to expanding the Western Region division Mike managed 5 divisional offices in North America, developed new markets, and planned and implemented sales strategy for Del Monte Gold pineapple.

Mike is a long time member of the Fresh Produce and Floral Council, currently serving on its Board of Directors. While Chairman of the FPFC Board in 2013, he became the first-ever current chairman to receive the Norman H. “Buz” Bolstad Produce Award, recognizing his distinguished leadership at the Council and in the produce industry. He is also on the Advisory Committee of the Southeast Produce Council.

Mike has been married for 45 years and has two daughters, one son, four grandsons, and two granddaughters. His hobbies are his grandchildren and golf.

FreshSource currently manages territories for their principal partners in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southwest territories. FreshSource continues to understand the pressure to capture the attention and imagination of niche audiences in today’s ever-changing consumer market. They are committed to building sales, delivering key services and ensuring your goals are met! If you are seeking to net sustainable, consistent results please contact FreshSource, LLC to discuss your company’s future sales & merchandising needs.

FreshSource, LLC Sales & Merchandising promotes Natalie Junqueiro Machado to National Director of Marketing

January 19, 2017

FreshSource, LLC Sales & Merchandising is thrilled to announce the promotion of Natalie Junqueiro Machado to National Director of Marketing at FreshSource, LLC.

“Natalie has been a solid Marketing Manager for the Southern California division and this promotion will elevate Natalie’s responsibilities to manage the entire company’s marketing direction and social media objectives for all divisions as we continue to grow” says Founder Robert Thompson

Natalie is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo who joined the company four years ago and has held positions in both the Business Development and Sales departments for FreshSource. Since joining the FreshSource team she has performed at a high level in managing the many aspects of daily operations and tackling special projects for the company. She has proven to be an exceptional addition to the FreshSource Team.

FreshSource currently manages territories for their principal partners in Southern California, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. FreshSource continues to understand the pressure to capture the attention and imagination of niche audiences in today’s ever-changing consumer market. They are committed to building sales, delivering key services and ensuring your goals are met! If you are seeking to net sustainable, consistent results please contact FreshSource, LLC to discuss your company’s future sales & merchandising needs.

Learn more at www.freshsource.info

Nugget in Corte Madera

June 3, 2016

This is the second Paradise Foods store that in undergoing the change over to Nugget. We worked with TJ from Organic Girl and Charles from Edge to complete the Space Grid install. We pulled all product/shelving, cleaned the entire set by removing the well to wash all shelving and get to the fans to clean the entire case. While spraying down to case the drain clogged up which cause about a 30 minute delay, but we were able to get all of the water out and drain working again. We set a 8ft five shelf Space Grid section and a 4ft set for Dressings/Cut Veg. We were able to get an extra row of Taylor Farms in for a 12 facing block of TF Chopped Kits and incorporate TF Shredded Carrots and Cabbage to complete the section. As we were setting Dressings/Cut Veg we were also able to expand TF Organic Veg to 6 horizontally blocked facings and set the TF Organic Veg Tray at 2 facings in the well.

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NatureSweet product being merchandised at store level at Luckys SF

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Before and After of Green Giant at Albertsons in Calabasas