Jump to content

All Activity

This stream auto-updates

  1. Yesterday
  2. Last week
  3. COVID has impacted the specialty food industry for a full year. In the SFA’s newly released State of the Specialty Food Industry report, 2021-2022 edition, members of the supply chain were candid on the ways the pandemic has positively and negatively affected their businesses. Here is some of what they had to say about in person versus virtual meetings, the challenges of staying connected, and keeping on top of what’s moving as well as new product discovery: “In some ways things have gotten busier because, rather than getting to talk to everyone at a one-day show, I have to talk to all of those people individually. I don’t have to travel to see them anymore, but I still have to connect with them.” -regional sales manager at a specialty dairy brand “We’ve kept on a pretty good track [with promotions and retailer meetings], but we have a lot of retailer buyers that are still not seeing people face to face. We have some that I don’t believe are ever going to go back to face to face. I think they’re going to remain either in a virtual environment or they’re going to do some sort of controlled category management presentations with dedicated periods of time. Because it’s easier in the virtual environment to stay on schedule and on time. There’s been a lot of outsourcing, roles that used to be done at retailer X are now done by the main distributor for that retailer such as the actual physical entering of promotions, printing of tags, and making sure that the pricing is right.” -SVP, business development at a specialty food and beverage broker “Something that retail buyers have missed during COVID relates to the trends, and they’re asking, ‘What’s the next CBD, or the next plant-based category that’s going to explode?’ They’ve been able to survive with talking to their trusted brokers, advisors, distributors, and brands, but they still miss that experience of talking to new brands, especially those that need education. It’s hard to do that via Zoom.” -head of sales at a specialty dessert brand “Supply chain sourcing stabilized pretty quickly. We did not have the same experiences that a lot of box stores did, because of the diversity of who we buy from. We began leveraging our foodservice supply chain, which plummeted as restaurants and hotels closed. We had no problem taking 50-pound bags of flour and putting them in to 5–10-pound bags and selling them. Our guests appreciated the fact that they could get most of what they wanted. They might not have been the same brands or same sizes that they normally were used to, but they still had access to what they needed. We’ve got a long history of being restaurant-type operators and so we were able to be a little bit more nimble than the typical supermarket that’s super reliant on a particular SKU that fits in a particular slot that’s already entered in a system.” -founder, owner of a multi-store specialty food retailer and foodservice operator “For these younger brands, virtual meetings level the playing field, since you don’t have to fly somewhere, pay for hotel and dining expenses, etc. All of that makes it so much more affordable to pitch to retail accounts for these emerging brands, and I think that that is a welcome change. I don’t think the virtual pitch is going to go away, simply because it’s easier for the buyers and it’s more equitable for the brands.” -owner, founder of a specialty brand consultancy “For us it’s a matter of staying on top of what’s moving. We’re constantly rotating and moving things and that’s why our customers like coming in. We’re never going to have a store that’s more than 1,000 square feet, because it’s too big. [At big stores], it’s almost information overload. How do you discover new things if you’re overloaded by different products and brands? It’s a nice conversation that you have with your customers in this small format because you’re listening to them, but you’re also educating them more than ever.” -founder of a specialty c-store concept “It’s hard to get the same level of dialog with our retailers when we’re doing things on Zoom. It’s less personal and hard to make a connection. The food business is so much about the passion and enthusiasm of tasting it, and you either couldn’t send product to people or the companies had different rules on what they could receive. It would have been much harder if we were still a young company that needed to make new personal connections.” -CEO of a specialty chocolate brand “We launched a new and emerging brand program just before the pandemic hit, which turned out to be lucky because the demand bounced back so fast that we ended up onboarding more new suppliers in 2020 than ever before. We’ll do fewer in-person meetings going forward, which is causing us to think about how our offices are laid out, and our retailers are doing the same thing. We previously traveled to do category reviews with our retail partners, those are now done virtually. We’ll still go back to in-person meetings, just not as frequently.” -SVP, category management and growth solutions for a specialty distributor “I don’t plan to go back to my office much at all, and a lot of my staff is the same way. Retailers want the samples of food and to see the product, but they have also gotten accustomed to the succinctness of an online meeting. They have found they can be a lot more productive when there is less time taken up by the in-person discussions that go in many directions. We send a lot more samples, which tends to give us smaller opportunities with each client but ones that are more likely to succeed.” -national sales director at a specialty importer and distributor “All relationships are being maintained with buyers via Zoom, and the same with our vendor meetings. I’ll bet that is going to stick – not 100 percent because you still need that human interaction. But for a supplier especially, it’s a lot easier to do it virtually rather than get on a plane to visit our offices. For our partners, there aren’t any relationships that we’re walking away from. Our relationships strengthened because of the need to do these repeated meetings and discuss service levels. As far as large CPG vendors go, we had to work with them more than usual and it helped us work through those relationships that have been a challenge in the past.” -VP vendor relations at a specialty distributor You can learn more about market growth, fluctuations, and drivers, as well 10-year category tracking and forecasts by purchasing the State of the Specialty Food Industry, 2021-2022 Edition. And weigh in on what you think the new post-pandemic industry norms will be in our discussion in the Community Hub.
  4. Earlier
  5. Looking for a new source of pickled watermelon rind. We buy a few pallets of the large bins at a time. If anyone knows a company that processes watermelon rind, let us know. Thank you.
  6. Join the SFA for another Regulatory Update webinar on Thursday, September 23 at 1 p.m. ET. In August, the US Food and Drug Administration denied two New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) applications submitted by major CBD manufacturers, Charlotte's Web and Irwin Naturals. Join attorney Jeni Lamb Rogers as she discusses the significance and implications of these NDI denials and what it means for the future of CBD in food and beverage. This webinar is free for members and $19 for non-members. Register now.
  7. The State of the Specialty Food Industry and 10-Year Category Tracking and Forecasts helps you make data-driven decisions for your business with insights on:

    • Specialty sales in brick-and-mortar retail, online, and foodservice
    • Top-selling and fastest-growing categories
    • NEW: sales data by subcategories
    • Supply chain insights on how the industry is evolving
    • COVID-19’s impact on category sales
    • Tracking and forecasts in key categories
    • Which categories are expected to slow down and ramp up by 2025
    • Strengths, weaknesses, and innovations for each category

    The Specialty Food Association’s exclusive annual report delves into the purchasing habits, motivations, demographics, and concerns of specialty food consumers. Along with key insights and opportunities to reach and engage this target audience, you’ll find:

    • Data broken down by generations, specialty food v. non-specialty food consumers, and other demographics
    • Purchase behavior by category
    • Shopping preferences by channel
    • Spending behavior
    • Foodservice attitudes and preferences
    • Eating habits and behaviors during COVID
    • Ethical and natural food purchases
    • Food trend usage and interest
    • And more

    You will be able to download these items when you purchase the bundle.

    $1,399.00
  8. The Specialty Food Association’s exclusive annual report delves into the purchasing habits, motivations, demographics, and concerns of specialty food consumers. Along with key insights and opportunities to reach and engage this target audience, you’ll find:

    • Data broken down by generations, specialty food v. non-specialty food consumers, and other demographics
    • Purchase behavior by category
    • Shopping preferences by channel
    • Spending behavior
    • Foodservice attitudes and preferences
    • Eating habits and behaviors during COVID
    • Ethical and natural food purchases
    • Food trend usage and interest
    • And more

    Purchase the full 90-page report.

    $549.00
  9. The Specialty Food Association wants to know how we can better serve you as a valued member. Please take this short, 5-minute Member Survey and tell us how we're doing and how we can help you grow your business. Knowing your time is important, at the end of the survey you will have the option to enter a drawing for one of five $100 gift cards. Thanks for participating!
  10. Hi, My regular (wholesale/bulk) supplier of freeze dried apricots is currently out so I'm looking for an alternate source. I need 20 - 40 lbs, preferably in 3/8" diced. Anyone in the US have them?? thanks
  11. We are reaching out to all members who may have been affected by Hurricane Ida. We hope you and your families are safe! The Specialty Food Association is here to support you. We can help you notify the trade about your status through SFA News Daily. Please let us know if you have been impacted by the flooding by contacting Membership@specialtyfood.com or reaching out to us on Facebook or Twitter.
  12. I have a distributor from Mexico who said I might be eligible for duty drawback. Would anybody have any information on this?
  13. The SFA’s newly released State of the Specialty Food Industry report, 2021-2022 edition, digs into a business environment still adjusting from COVID’s impact over the past year. A burgeoning ecommerce channel has been one of the shifts the industry has experienced and here, members of the supply chain share their opinions on its growth, challenges in discoverability for small or emerging brands, and the future. “For specialty brands, a lot of the ecommerce platforms for retailers are very not friendly to browsing, not nearly as much as old-school shopping trips where you’re walking through a store, and you say ‘I’ll try that.’ Retailers need to level the playing field a little bit for specialty because you need that browsing ability for specialty for somebody to stumble onto your [brand]. That’s my biggest concern right now for long-term growth for specialty.” -SVP, business development at a specialty food and beverage broker “When we added the online ordering platform that came along with DoorDash, it was like having an additional outlet to give people food. We just had the discussion this week where a store manager asked when we’re getting rid of curbside and our response was ‘probably never.’ It’s probably going to be an element of our service model going forward. This will allow us to curate those relationships with frequent customers and do special rewards for them.” -CEO of a specialty retail and foodservice group “Brands are discovered in a variety of ways and you have to be relevant in every way that your consumer would discover and buy your brand. And maybe online is a very saturated platform, it’s hard to compete as a small brand. I know for us online was pretty small [pre-COVID], and now it’s a huge chunk of our business. And [by] online I mean our own DTC, but also online retailers like Imperfect Foods, Fresh Direct, Good Eggs, and Amazon Fresh.” -head of sales at a specialty dessert brand “We saw a lot of emerging brands do more paid advertising themselves to location-specific audiences, driving traffic back to particular retail stores rather than driving traffic to their own websites. Especially brands in cold distribution since they simply don’t ship direct to consumer. They do paid ad spending, which you have to dial in, but once you get it, it’s relatively affordable, and there should be a positive return on investment. It’s win-win. The brand wins and the stores love it.” -owner, founder of a specialty brand consultancy “One of our biggest challenges has always been that people love sweets and they believe that something with low sugar can’t taste good. Demos and getting people to try the product for their first time has gone away, so we’ve been focusing more on how to engage with people digitally. The challenge is how to get taste cues across, so we’ve been using recipes a lot to help them understand what it will taste like. And we’re also starting to use coupons more than before.” -CEO of a specialty chocolate brand “Jet, Walmart, Amazon—basically all of the major retail platforms out there … bias the large incumbent players, which makes sense. That’s where the mass demand is, that’s where the dollars are. So, what does that mean for small and emerging brands out there? It’s really interesting to see great things that small brands are doing, truly innovating, and offering a lot more value to stand out versus the big incumbent players in the space.” -CEO, co-founder of a specialty e-commerce retailer “We launched in October 2020 and think the timing was ideal in many ways. Of course, with COVID forcing people to change their patterns, it unlocked some behaviors that were previously closed off. We’re pretty big believers that [ecommerce] is only going in one direction. This is not a trend. This is a permanent shift in consumer behavior that’s here to stay.” -CEO, co-founder of a specialty ecommerce retailer You can learn more about market growth, fluctuations, and drivers, as well 10-year category tracking and forecasts by purchasing the State of the Specialty Food Industry, 2021-2022 Edition. And weigh in on what you think the new post-pandemic industry norms will be in our discussion in the Community Hub.
  14. Did you know that the SFA now has an app that covers the latest news, trends, and products? The app, which is updated daily, is available online and on your mobile device. SFA Feed brings you features and trends, new product introductions, video and audio recordings, and the digital edition of the award-winning SFA Specialty Food magazine. Download SFA feed on the iOS App Store or Google Play, or access the web version at feed.specialtyfood.com.
  15. Join the SFA for another Regulatory Update webinar on Thursday, September 23 at 1 p.m. ET. In August, the US Food and Drug Administration denied two New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) applications submitted by major CBD manufacturers, Charlotte's Web and Irwin Naturals. Join attorney Jeni Lamb Rogers as she discusses the significance and implications of these NDI denials and what it means for the future of CBD in food and beverage. This webinar is free for members and $19 for non-members. Register now.
  16. Join the SFA for another installment of its In the Know webinar series on Tuesday, November 9 at 1 p.m. ET. As your specialty food company emerges from the pandemic, what actions will you be taking to accelerate growth in the next – 6 to 18 months? Join Chasm Institute's Michael Eckhardt and Andrew Green for an interactive webinar focused on practical steps your business can take today to "score / prioritize / execute" the highest-probability opportunities to innovate and drive your company's profitable growth 2022 and beyond We’ll cover: The 3 crucial questions that need to be answered ASAP in order to accelerate your business growth The most frequent –- and costly –- mistakes food companies make in their target market strategies - and the analytics and tools to avoid them How to assess the risks of implementing your go-to-market strategy - and key steps to minimize these threats and hazards This webinar is free for members and $19 for non-members. Register now.
  17. Thursday, September 23 at 1pm ET

    In August, the US Food and Drug Administration denied two New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) applications submitted by major CBD manufacturers, Charlotte's Web and Irwin Naturals. Join attorney Jeni Lamb Rogers as she discusses the significance and implications of these NDI denials and what it means for the future of CBD in food and beverage.

    $19.00
  18. Here’s your chance to compete in Fast Pitch Friday where SFA members make their quick sales pitches for a panel of judges! Fill out a brief application and we’ll invite as many makers as we can to compete in a friendly, fast-paced pitch-off! We’ll have industry-expert judges ready to listen and provide feedback on pitches, and the whole audience will vote for their favorites. The winner will get a promotional package from SFA so that your products get even more buzz! Application is due by MONDAY, 9/13 so apply now!
  19. SFA’s Maker Prep series is an online educational program designed for new startups to provide them with the building blocks and knowledge base they need to do business in the specialty food industry. The third and final webinar in this series will take place Thursday, September 16 at 1 p.m. ET. In this webinar, hear from a veteran specialty food maker who has worked with a variety of distributors. You’ll learn about how to set your pricing to ensure profitability, contracts and negotiation strategies, how to handle disagreements, and how to keep maker-distributor relationships strong. Register now. This is the third webinar of a three webinar series. All webinars are free for SFA members. If you’re a non-member, you can purchase the 3-webinar series for $50 here, or buy a la carte for $19 each.
  20. The food industry has a specific lingo with which startups should become familiar. Here is a glossary of shipping and freight terms from The Basics: The Business of Specialty Food, SFA’s intensive workshop where a team of veteran makers help new companies learn the fundamentals of the market and best practices to get their business off the ground. COD: Cash on delivery; a payment agreement where payment for a product is given at time of delivery. Fill Rate: The comparison between the amount of goods ordered versus the amount actually delivered. Usually stated in percentage. Used to evaluate performance of sellers as seen from the buyers’ perspective. FOB: Literal translation – freight on board. When quoting a price, a supplier will identify if the price includes delivery (freight) to the buyer’s warehouse or store – i.e. Delivered Price. If freight is paid by buyer, that is called FOB, but is usually specific to location (e.g.: FOB Public Warehouse-Newark, NJ). Lead Time: The amount of time, usually in days, that it takes for a manufacturer to receive, process, and ship an order. This time should also include the actual shipping time. Less Than Truckload (LTL): Designates a shipment that does not meet the weight or cube requirement of a full truckload. Lumper Fees: Billback for cost of unloading product. Minimum Order: A vendor’s terms of sale frequently require a purchase of a specific amount for commercial buyers. O.O.S.: Out of stock; Not available for sale either from the retailer or from a distributor, wholesaler, chain warehouse, importer, or producer. Pallet Fees: Billback for shipping on pallets that do not meet specifications. Pallet Pattern: Describes the number of cases on a single layer, and the number of layers on a pallet. Short Shipped: An order shipped or delivered without some of the items ordered. The SFA’s upcoming Basics online course is taking place October 6-7. Find more information about the event here.
  21. Why do people go to business school? It’s the lectures and the homework, the research and the capstone projects. It’s the opportunity to focus on developing new skills. And for many students, it’s the connections they make with their professors and classmates that propel them toward success and serve as supports during the entrepreneurial journey. It’s the same with SFA's The Basics online workshop, taking place on October 6 & 7. In about ten hours over two days, you’ll hear talks on pricing, selling, the latest consumer research, freight and logistics, best practices in trade promotions, ecommerce, and more. You’ll get slides you can hang on to and use as reference and recorded lectures that are yours to review any time. You’ll spend time with eight incredible teachers and learn from their experience. Our instructors include founders and principals from some of the most iconic brands in specialty food, including Marich Confectionery. Renfro Foods and Dave’s Gourmet, plus exciting new brands including Hella Cocktail Co., Rumi Spice and TBJ (The Bacon Jam) Gourmet, plus our resident Amazon expert Betsy McGinn of McGinn Ecommerce Consulting. You’ll also make connections to your classmates. You’ll meet at the evening chat on Day 1 – then you’ll have your own dedicated space to chat and share stories, and stay in touch after the class is over in our SFA Community Hub. Come see what it’s like in our specialty food “business school” – and reap the rewards as your brand grows. It's just $99 for SFA members and $199 for non-members. Wonder if The Basics is right for you? Email us education@specialtyfood.com and we’re happy to talk with you.
  22. Why do people go to business school? It’s the lectures and the homework, the research and the capstone projects. It’s the opportunity to focus on developing new skills. And for many students, it’s the connections they make with their professors and classmates that propel them toward success and serve as supports during the entrepreneurial journey. It’s the same with The Basics! In about ten hours over two days, you’ll hear talks on pricing, selling, the latest consumer research, freight and logistics, best practices in trade promotions, ecommerce, and more. You’ll get slides you can hang on to and use as reference and recorded lectures that are yours to review any time. You’ll spend time with eight incredible teachers and learn from their experience. Our instructors include founders and principals from some of the most iconic brands in specialty food, including Marich Confectionery. Renfro Foods and Dave’s Gourmet, plus exciting new brands including Hella Cocktail Co., Rumi Spice and TBJ (The Bacon Jam) Gourmet, plus our resident Amazon expert Betsy McGinn of McGinn Ecommerce Consulting. You’ll also make connections to your classmates. You’ll meet at the evening chat on Day 1 – then you’ll have your own dedicated space to chat and share stories, and stay in touch after the class is over in our SFA Community Hub. Come see what it’s like in our specialty food “business school” – and reap the rewards as your brand grows. It's just $99 for SFA members and $199 for non-members. Wonder if The Basics is right for you? Email us education@specialtyfood.com and we’re happy to talk with you.
  23. Thursday, October 14 at 1pm ET

    Why are some companies beloved by consumers while others fight to be remembered? What makes a brand resonate with consumers – and investors? And, what exactly is a brand anyway? Can you market on your product attributes or do you need something more? Join creative agency Moxie Sozo as we delve into the importance of creating a compelling and authentic brand.

    $19.00
  24. Join the SFA for a webinar on Thursday, September 9 at 1 p.m. ET. As you progress toward your business goals, you may be considering taking on some debt in order to take the next steps toward success. In the third webinar of our Funding Your Business series, we’ll cover opportunities and best practices for SBA loans, grants, bank loans, lines of credit, and asset-based and accounts receivable financing. Bring your questions! This is the third webinar of the series. All webinars are free for SFA members. If you’re a non-member, you can purchase the 3-webinar series for $50 here or buy a la carte for $19 each. Register now.
  25. The specialty food supply chain shared opinions and observations on pandemic-influenced pricing strategies, consumer behavior around trading up and down, and private label. More insights can be found in the recently released State of the Specialty Food Industry report. “I was looking at [a big retailer account] today, and the condiment set. Based on the trends you’d think with condiments, cooking sauces, etc., that the retailers would go into specialty because of the cooking at home thing. And instead, they went really commodity, really warehouse, away from the distributor business, and put in a lot of restaurant brand name stuff. But then the same buyer, for pasta and pasta sauce, went more specialty. I can’t really understand why. Consumer behavior in general varied wildly by category. With pasta, it almost didn’t matter what brand. If it was on the shelf, people bought it. Pasta sauce in the $7.99 to $10.99 range did better than it ever does. People also traded up on coffee.” -SVP, business development at a specialty food and beverage broker “As far as private label, we’ve made the decision to stay committed to our makers and not compete directly against them. To support them and help amplify the greatness of their products, and their stories, and their voices, so in contrast to a lot of other players out there we don’t have a need or interest to get into private label.” -CEO, co-founder of a specialty ecommerce retailer “We have seen competition from private labels, especially in baking chocolate. But a good thing about a good private-label brand is that it can help by getting more exposure to a category. We had the opportunity to expand into a club store, but in the rest of retail we didn’t need to upsize any of our packaging. We got feedback from customers at the onset of COVID that they would like to stock up, but we knew it would take a while to develop that packaging, so we took a wait and see attitude and didn’t jump into it.” -CEO of a specialty chocolate brand “In the beginning of the pandemic, retailers didn’t put promotional tags on the shelf because they had to simply keep up with the increased volume. Then we saw a huge bounce back in promotions. While a lot of consumers lost their jobs, I haven’t seen an overall change in pricing strategy. It was more around the promotional piece of it – EDLP (everyday low price) versus a hi-lo strategy, a shift in when they promote, or the depth of the deal.” -SVP, category management and growth solutions for a specialty distributor You can learn more about market growth, fluctuations, and drivers, as well 10-year category tracking and forecasts by purchasing the State of the Specialty Food Industry, 2021-2022 Edition. And weigh in on what you think the new post-pandemic industry norms will be in our discussion in the Community Hub.
  26. Join the SFA for an Instagram Live event on Wednesday, September 15 at 1 p.m. ET. Come and hear from Betsy McGinn, Doug Renfro, and Dave Hirschkop about the online program. Just click here to visit the SFA's Instagram profile at 1 p.m.!
  27. It’s ridiculous, I feel sorry for all restaurant employees, having to play enforcement police for the Mayor. Does being vaccinated now give me the right to eat?
  28. until
    To succeed in the specialty food business, you need a great recipe. An outstanding brand. A motivated team. And a lot of knowledge. Complete this two-day intensive workshop with SFA, and you’ll have the tools you need to take the next steps. Learn about key topics like pricing, selling, understanding the specialty food consumer, trade promotions, and much more! The price for SFA members is $99 and $199 for non-members. (Special discount for new SFA members -- email education@specialtyfood.com for details!) When? Wednesday, October 6 and Thursday, October 7, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET with an optional chat session from 6:00 - 7:00 pm ET Wednesday, October 6 Sponsored by: Zipline Logistics
  1. Load more activity
×
×
  • Create New...