Small Bites July 21, 2021
dedicated to the VT food system supply chain-
creating opportunities to sell more VT products to more buyers

Among the Grocery Aisles

Creating effective in-store sales & promotion strategies can be deeply systematized & well-constructed or completely random created under duress. Then of course, there is everything in between those two extremes.
Your store strategy might be highly tied to a price point image for a short-term window of opportunity. Do you know the existing sales velocity of your target sale item? How much do you hope to increase unit sales & revenue?  Are you positioned to expand brand loyalty & future sales of your VT sale items?
Working with a local producer on a promotion might mean that you plan on increasing the volume & holding existing margins. It might mean you can drive sales that exceed your monthly purchases by as much as 10 times during a prescribed time. Marketing & product placement are key drivers of this outcome. Your buying decision cannot be based on a discounted price alone. When a store can promote a VT product from a local producer, you have created an opportunity to increase the "life-time revenue", help expand VT product awareness, & promote future sales.
Garuka Bars, an original VT adventure food, works with stores to help create sales promotions that are beneficial to both of them as producers & stores. Ultimately, owner Mike Rosenburg likes to encourage long term gains & brand visibility that build a customer base that strengthens the life-time revenue.
Stay tuned for future info on profitable sales strategies. At some point we are going to dive more deeply into how to create effective sale programs that support brand engagement & profitability.
This can be a good time to clear out some older products. Yes, staffing is tight, but sales are strong.
By reducing inventory of slow sellers, you open opportunity for new products to generate profits by dumping dead-end items.
All products have a life cycle (check out the Bell Curve on Buying ) & your job is to have product turns that help your revenue & profitability by continually assessing your mix & merchandising to encourage strong sales.   
You paid for those slow sellers ages ago, "take the loss" & offer deep discounts. We advise not using premium shelf space for the lost margin items. You can offer effective signage. Middlebury Coop used the above sign to help folks know the product was going away. The signage is clear & inviting for folks who liked it to stock up. It can help drive the sale that opens shelf space for higher potential turnover products. 
This week we rave on the Wilcox Dairy 802 Bar. These bars are so dang good, made with premium VT cow's milk & fabulous chocolate that covers each flavor. They are a hit at all the stores & farmstands that sell them. This summer must-have is perfect for post-adventuring on a hot summer day.
In addition to their own frozen products Wilcox is a major distributor of VT frozen products including a line of gluten free. If your store is unfamiliar with Wilcox- it is time you get on board! 
Battenkill Wholesome, are some more great products for adventurers in our state. Do you carry them? Available through VT Roots & drop shipped. Join the hundreds of stores that sell these gems!
In the "before times", we might have sent our dairy buyer to a cheese & butter making workshop to educate them on production techniques. This experience would provide valuable information that then informs shoppers. In the event that one can participate...During Dig In VT’s Open Farm Week in August Earthwise Farm is hosting an on-farm dairy workshop in Bethel. This is one of the many farms in VT that is a member of the Real Organic Project (we encourage all stores to become familiar with the Project).
Vermont Creemee Trail: VT Creemees represent our "Stronger Together" ethos & our 82+% vaccination rate. For those out of staters reading this, we are all about creemees!
Farm to Plate created Receiving Tips to help establish a strong & effective receiving regime. Introduce your new crew to the techniques that will save you money in the long run through inventory management & credit oversight.
A most creative display was seen at the Lincoln General Store. Located along the New Haven River, a high traffic summer adventure area, the store keeps the river safer by promoting wine in cans rather than bottles. WE LOVE THIS IDEA; it helps keep the rivers & beaches & even hiking trails free from broken glass.
Sauce King Competition is seeking VT specialty food makers of BBQ sauces, condiments, rubs, or marinades. Click here to get the low-down & get registered with your flavorful VT products! This could open up new product exposure to the NYC market.
Signage is so important. At Clear Brook Farm along RT 7A in Shaftsbury, they identify their own produce
on a sign with their own logo. The mid-July cauliflower crop had a premium
location, good signage, & the high-quality early season produce was well merchandised.
File Under Keeping Things Local

Rolling through Vermont valleys, local stores including Mehuron's on RT 100 in Waitsfield, The East Warren Community Market & the Warren General Store each carry local products to enhance the summer-shopper expectation for VT food & satisfy the food needs of adventurers.
Heading down RT 30 where old quarries are filled with summer folks swimming, & hiking is at a premium in the Dorset area, adventure foods are a plus for quick sales at the Dorset Union, Nature's Market in Manchester & Nice n' Spice in Bennington. Local favorite adventuring food include the Battenkill Wholesome line of products & the 802 Bar from Wilcox.
Our local distributors like Wilcox, Lesser, & Provisions International each has their own distinct product lines & are keeping dollars local. Each business is working to meet their customer base in these trying times of staff hiring & retention. Travelers love the selection of food that they are finding at all our stores even though staffing is tight, shelves are getting stocked & sales are super strong for Vt products.
Pumpkin Village Foods & Myers Produce distribute VT foods around the state but also have a portion of their business introducing VT products to NYC customers. Are you a specialty food producer or produce farmer looking for new outlets? Contact each of them for product opportunities & BOL rates. Need a clue about costs or are you new to distribution? Check out the NOFA Wholesale Report.
It's tomato season full tilt!
Here are a few display tips:

Create a sense of bounty with "changes of plane". By placing product at differing heights or by utilizing vertical elements the eye is drawn into the choices offered. Along with color breaks, size can be effectively incorporated as a juxtaposing element. Cherry tomato pints can separate out the heirloom varieties. Use yellow tomatoes to offer a color break among beefsteak varieties. Protect product integrity with padding in display baskets.
MNFC uses a mini riser to provide steps for cherry tomatoes co-merchandised with local Shishito peppers. It works well to provide a display canvas of colors, is easy to shop, & helps maintain product integrity too.
See more produce tips for improving sales with some display basics
Farmstands across the state are cranking out sales to summer travelers & still going strong with local traffic that reached a peak last year.
Von Trapp farmstand in Waitsfield has a comprehensive product line of their meat & cheese that is augmented by local products available from local distributors & DSD. The town is a fun summer adventure community with river activities, ski mountain resort summer programs, loads of hiking in the Green Mountain National Forest & plenty of amazing mountain biking.
Shoppers love the easy grab & go foods from our cheese producers & local charcuterie including Babbette’s Table in Waitsfield, sold widely. 
Brown's Orchard & Farmstand in on RT 30 in Castleton makes it easy to shop corn. It's not too curated allowing for customers to feel the farm experience. Bags & pricing are easy to find. One tip I'd share: open a few of the ears to showcase the type of corn (bi-color, white, yellow) & feature the overall freshness.
Reminder! Tax Update
July 1, 2021 VT law exempts taxation of products used in connection with the menstrual cycle. Is your POS system updated to comply & no longer charging tax?
Black Rose Creamery in Rupert sells their cheese through Northshire Grown Direct &
DSD to stores. One of their specialties is Halloumi, a perfect summer cheese because it is so good when grilled. Looking for the perfect cheese to rave about? Contact BRC for their Halloumi.
Pigs & cattle are just some of the critters adventuring in the lush grassland at Tangletown Farm in West Glover, an area of the state that enjoys lots of summer traffic with visitors coming to Bread & Puppet & enjoying the slow pace of the NEK.