; Retail Ready for Local Foods | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Retail Ready for Local Foods

S. Gary Bullen


The Retail Ready program was developed after listening to farmers discuss the need to scale up to retail markets, and witnessing the explosion in demand for local foods statewide. Farmers have the opportunity to sell their products for retail sales in grocery stores, co-op markets, food hubs, food service buyers, hospitals and universities. Many retail market outlets are actively looking for farmers to supply them with local products. The Retail Ready for Local Foods taught farmers how to successfully sell to new, larger customers. The program was based on research that segmented the market into different outlets, each with unique needs and requirements. One of the goals of the project was to help farmers select which market outlet is the best fit for their operation. Restaurants, for example, are most concerned with how a product tastes, and the consistency of the product, and not as concerned about how it looks, whereas retailers need a product that looks good on their shelf and meets “retail quality” standards. Distributors need their products to look good and to come in easy-to-transport packaging. whereas a specialty distributor may not need a large scale, but they do need high quality and variety of products.

The program provided fresh insight into what works and what doesn’t based on based on research that broke down the market into different “channels”: retail (chains, independent grocers, and cooperative retailers); restaurants; wholesalers and food service (food distributors); and specialty distributors (offering household produce delivery or aggregation services for corporate buyers).

Presentation Materials