By: Brandon Leong, Vice President of Marketing and Growth, RangeMe
Frozen food is one of the hottest categories in grocery retail today and also one of the categories that can expect steady and continued growth in the coming year. In fact, according to the American Frozen Food Institute’s (AFFI) Power of Frozen research, frozen foods are a pandemic powerhouse ringing in $65.1 billion in retail sales in 2020, a 21% increase compared to a year ago. Today’s innovative frozen food offerings tick a lot of boxes for consumers and retail buyers alike, such as meeting the demand for plant-based foods; allowing for quick, convenient, and healthy meals for busy consumers; and offering a level of certainty in grocery shopping after a year that presented an array of uncertainty.
With frozen food’s popularity on the climb, how can a brand catch that buyer’s eye and make their case for the freezer case? Here are a few ideas of what to include in your sales strategy.
1. Differentiate with certifications
Retailers are increasingly seeking brands with certifications that consumers value like non-GMO, organic or women-or minority-owned. Additionally, food safety remains an important issue for consumers. Frozen food companies have a leg up on this thanks to AFFI’s Food Safety Zone, which features science-backed best practices developed by industry experts that are available for free download.
Part of a retailer’s job is to meet consumers’ needs, and they’re always looking for brands that make their job easier. As a brand, underscoring the certifications you have, particularly in your niche area, is one way to set yourself apart from others.
2. Leverage digital platforms for discovery
In today’s challenging times that has many people working from home, business still goes on, though it looks a lot different than it has in the past. These days, rather than meeting retail buyers at one of the many trade shows where you can showcase your products, new product discovery is happening online.
Your unique value proposition is one of the most effective ways to stand out in a competitive retail environment and shows buyers why they should be interested in your product over another. This value proposition should include relevancy, quantified value, and differentiation. When you’ve identified those, bringing them together in a cohesive, comprehensive profile you can share in a digital format makes it easy for buyers to find you. Platforms like RangeMe will make your frozen food brand visible for companies looking to increase their online presence in front of retail buyers and brands.
3. Train your staff on your frozen food brand
Whether you’re meeting buyers in person or online, having a well-trained sales staff is key to sealing the deal with new retailers. When going through the six stages most familiar to the sales process, most organizations aren’t training their sales staff well enough.
The key to overcoming this? Start small. Recognize that your brand is operating in a niche category within a bigger section of the store. Your staff should be well versed in what your products can offer a retailer, for both the consumers shopping in their stores, as well as the overall product mix, and how including your brand could make their store a destination for a segment of customers.
Retail has undergone significant changes in the past year, and frozen food has seen a boost in popularity with consumers that isn’t slowing down. For frozen food manufacturers and brands, establishing a solid sales strategy and leveraging the key elements discussed above can help a brand hook a retail buyer’s attention, make a connection, and ultimately foster a long and robust retail relationship.
RangeMe is the leading product discovery and sourcing platform where retailers and suppliers discover, connect, and grow their business. Through AFFI’s partnership with RangeMe, members receive a $500 discount on upgrading to a premium profile on the platform offering more visibility and increased business opportunities.