Market Mondays: Untapped Markets – Packaged Food and Beverage Companies
Access to new markets is a continuous effort. Begin with the opportunities that will require the smallest investment on your part while you identify if it’s a good fit for you farm. Two markets to tap into are early stage packaged food and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverage companies. These are broad markets, so focus on the following:
Early stage companies operating for 5 years or less
Companies operating exclusively within your region (i.e. State or Metropolitan Area)
Narrowing the focus will guide you towards the low hanging fruit as you evaluate businesses in the market.
What are the benefits to selling into these markets?
Local Reigns Supreme
These companies are still building their story and if local sourcing and production is a part of their values and brand, purchasing from your farm aligns their supply chain with their values and helps to build their brand equity among consumers. In an article by AT Kearney on consumer trends in food, they reported that consumers prefer local foods and that market growth for local foods has increased.
Newer and smaller food and beverage companies tend to have more flexibility. Depending upon the product being sold, the company may be able to tailor some of their offerings based on your crop’s seasonal availability. They may also be open to testing out crops that you have that they weren’t initially sourcing.
Potential Organic Advertising
Many new food companies are transparent about their supply chains because of consumers focus on where their food is coming from. As a result, many packaged foods and RTD beverage companies list where they source their ingredients from on their website or directly on their packaging. If you supply a company that lists the name and location of your farm that could generate organic advertising for your farm. If you sell direct to customers on your farm or if you operate a U-pick operation this has the potential to increase the farm’s exposure to potential direct customers.
Where can you find these companies?
You can find and connect with packaged food and RTD beverage companies through the following places:
Incubators, Accelerators, & Commercial Kitchens
Regional food groups
Specialty Product Groups
Regional Food Festivals
There are countless options for farms within both markets. Bear in mind that as some of those businesses begin to scale their operations, they may seek out additional suppliers.
For more information on finding untapped markets for your farm or cooperative register for my next webinar Untapped: How To Access Untapped Markets.
*Below are definitions for two of the terms used in the article*
Ready – to – Drink (RTD): A packaged beverage that does not require anything additional for consumption.
Brand Equity: “a value premium that a company generates from a product with a recognizable name when compared to a generic equivalent. “ Source – Investopedia
 AT Kearney “Is Big Food In Trouble? Forward-thinking food companies are changing direction to recapture lost share.” https://www.atkearney.com/consumer-goods/article?/a/is-big-food-in-trouble-