You’re past the place of looking up food broker definitions and trying to decide what a broker could do for you. No one needs to talk you into the value of hiring one. You know you need a brokerage to get your stuff into the hot little hands of your customers.
The burning question isn’t how to become a food broker, it’s how to choose from among the slew of food broker companies out there to find the one that’s right for you!
It’s in the Details
Here are a few pointers that will help.
Proven track record
Go for a company that has been in the food industry for a long time, has plenty of experience, and understands the ins and outs of the business.
Area of expertise
Choose a broker whose focus aligns with your product line. For example, a natural/organic food broker could be a great fit for a company with vegan, vegetarian or fair-trade products.
Look at their ratings for customer service. You want an accessible broker—someone who will respond quickly to your phone calls and emails.
Your ideas for target retailers match the broker’s. You don’t have to get into a wrestling match to convince them to place your products where you want them.
Select a broker who, from the first phone call, communicates proactive strategies for marketing your products—for example: promoting sales through demos and promotions… monitoring sales statistics… advancing product awareness through targeted campaigns.
Friends to the End
Find a broker who wants a relationship with you. Your personalities and priorities mesh. You could see yourself grabbing a frappuccino together after hammering out the details of your product launch.
Where to Go Pearl Diving
How do you actually find your broker?
Let your fingers do the walking . . . online, that is.
In your browser, search for food broker directories. A bunch will come up, including: Best of the Web Food and Beverage Brokers, Whole Food Magazine directory, and Food Brokers USA. There are a lot of broker directories and some are broken down by category or focus, for example, military, gourmet, and specialty.
Check out food broker associations. Again, do an online search and you’ll find a lot of broker associations.
Got friends in the food industry? Pick their brains. If they don’t have ideas, they may know someone who does.
Follow these tips for identifying the right brokerage for you and where to find it out there in broker-land. Then you will be on your way to getting your products where they need to be: on retail shelves and in customers’ carts.