The inaugural Foodservice Summit, brought about by the wonderful team behind Bread & Jam Fest,  was held at the beginning of March in an effort to help foodie start-ups crack open the often misunderstood world of away from home and showcase the many opportunities that the foodservice market can offer brands. As a leading foodservice agency we were of course there and were in fact proud to be a sponsor of this exciting new addition to the foodservice calendar.

Covering a range of topics throughout the day, expert panels and speakers including Dash Water, This, Tony’s Chocolonely, Little Moons, Luck Saint and many more shared advice on everything from how to get listed, to navigating the supply chain, sharing first-hand experience, hurdles and solutions that they’d faced on their own brands’ journeys to making it in the foodservice world. Whilst we also heard from wholesalers including Bidfood, Vegetarian Express and Collectiv Food on what they are looking for when it comes to listing brands for their business.

Our MD Susan had also been asked to take to the stage for a one-minute power pitch to explain how a specialist food and drink marketing agency can make all the difference to brands hoping to hit the sweet spot (if you’d like to find out more, give us a shout here).

But if you didn’t manage to make it along, here are our top take outs:

  • Foodservice is no poor cousin. For younger brands, Out of Home is a fantastic way in which to build brand equity and positive brand association. If consumers see and love your products when they’re out and about in venues they love, chances are that when they make it to grocery, the demand will already be there.
  • Know the market. Foodservice is so much more than one sector. Does your product suit profit or cost? Is it better suited to The Ritz or McDonalds? They’re important distinctions to determine before diving in head first (more on that here).
  • Nurture relationships. With buyers, wholesalers, end users, delivery teams and anyone else who crosses your path. It’s a competitive world out there and general rules of business apply: it’s about people.
  • Bend over backwards. Well, no, not literally. But flexibility is key to providing the right offer for the right buyer at the right time. Don’t be wed to a certain SKU or packaging. To get things right in foodservice, it’s all about working collaboratively with the supply chain to meet demand.
  • Think like a chef. If you can adapt your product so it has a longer shelf life, is simple to use, versatile, frozen, low in allergens, or a combination of any of the above, you’re probably on to a winner.
  • Follow the trends. Linking your product in with a trending cuisine or theme is bound to pay dividends. At the moment, think Japanese, regional Spanish, ancestral British and value-added meat products. To keep up-to-date with what’s trending, have a look at our blog.
  • Make it emotive. Food and stories go hand-in-hand. If you’re selling in your product to a wholesaler, tell them what makes it so special. Tell them why and how it can solve a problem for them. Share your success story and believe in your product’s USP. It’s all about addressing the ‘so what?’.
  • Consider all the costs. Understanding wholesalers and how they operate is hugely important. There’s no need to target the big guys straight away – know that regional wholesalers are a great place to start and understand that when it comes to scaling up, the risk and the cost to you as a brand can be quite different. Crucially, make sure you factor in the wholesalers mark-up and possible marketing and retros when you plan your pricing strategy.
  • Impress the end user. A consistent ‘all-ways on’ approach is so important when it comes to cracking foodservice. Utilise all the tools you have to get your product out there – social media, trade shows, networking. When it comes to building your brand, visibility is everything.

Well done to the team at Bread & Jam on a great inaugural event. We look forward to next year’s.

In the meantime, to find out more about how to hit the sweet spot in foodservice, feel free to get in touch today!