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7 Steps to Getting Your Product Onto Grocery Store Shelves


When you go to the grocery store shelves, you see endless rows of products stocked on shelves ranging from cereals to baking materials, fruits, veggies, frozen goods, and more. While there are tons of products carried by various businesses, you may be wondering how they even get there.

Getting a vendor to sell your product is a complicated process, requiring a lot of preparation from businesses before they even find a vendor. Things like ensuring your product development is top-notch, getting insurance coverage, and getting your business online. With so much to do, you may be wondering where to start. If your goal is to get your products into grocery stores, here are some things to help you prepare. 

Get Product Liability Insurance

When you set out to get your product onto the shelves at grocery stores, the first thing you’ll need to look into is product liability insurance. Product liability insurance can help protect your business if someone gets injured or sick while using your product. Of course, the hope is to avoid this situation, and you should take careful measures to ensure your product is safe, but if some obscene accident occurs, you can remain protected. 

Product liability insurance isn’t required by law in the United States and gets included in your general liability policy often, but it doesn’t hurt to have it on hand. Some distributors or stores may require you to provide proof of coverage, so you may end up enrolling in a policy regardless. 

Trade shows, expos, and farmer’s markets

Cold calling can be unsuccessful and demotivating, making call after call with no avail. Instead, to get your products in front of the eyes of buyers and distributors, attend local trade shows, expos, and farmer’s markets. Not only will this help boost brand awareness and recognition amongst consumers, but it can also help you get your foot in the door to having a conversation with people who have the power to sell your products in their stores.

Getting a booth at these events can be expensive, so you want to ensure you get a return on your investment. Check out who has attended these events in the past and aim to target shows with the audience you’re looking for. Additionally, ensure the event falls within the niche of your business. 

Launch your website

Building and launching your website is crucial to your business and its success. A website is where users go when they want to learn more about your business and the products it provides. Your website can help you build brand awareness, improve your brand’s image, build authority within your niche, and promotes lead generation. 

If a grocery store or distributor is interested in your product, they’ll turn to your website for methods to get in touch with your sales team. Your website should be a resource to website visitors and offer you an opportunity to flex how great your product is. On your website, ensure you include contact information, information about your products like weight and size, images of your products, cost, and your distribution process.

Market & Pitch your product

Every bess needs marketing, and when you’re trying to get your products onto the shelves at grocery stores, you’ll need a marketing strategy to appeal to wholesale buyers. Create a brochure for your product that highlights key features and provides in-depth information. Be sure to list your ingredients, build your nutrition label, and highlight what sets your product apart from competitors.

Grocery Store Shelves

Contact stores and distributors

With your stellar pitch and marketing campaign, the next step is to get in touch with grocery stores and distributors. Hopefully, after attending a few trade shows, you’ve garnered a list of leads, but you’ll also need to do some direct marketing. 

Call up grocery stores you want to work with and ask to set up an appointment with someone in charge of merchandising and bring your brochures and product information with you. Grocery store chains often set up a window of time for vendors to demonstrate products, while independent grocery stores may need you to find a time to meet with the owner.

Not every store will be ready to start carrying your products immediately. Remember, they’re running a business too, and don’t want to carry a product that won’t sell. Some grocery stores may ask that you set up a product demo during store hours to measure interest.

    Large grocery stores often make it a mission for the company to work with small, local businesses through vendor programs. Check out the websites of stores you’re interested in to see if they provide contact information for someone on their vendor relations team. You can ask to send in samples of your product, hopefully getting their attention so that you can pitch your product. 

    These programs usually ask for recent examples of product performance in other stores. This can profit from your booth at a farmer’s market or from another store that sold or still carries your products. You must show the senior buyer that your product has performed well at other stores and can perform well at theirs.

    Another option is signing up for a vendor membership through various trade organizations, such as the Natural Grocers Association, which can help you network with other vendors and buyers.

    Pitch your product

    In addition to marketing your product, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got a stellar pitch to go along with it. When doing product demonstrations to potential buyers, you have a finite amount of time to capture their attention and get their interest, so ensure you’ve got a powerful sales team on the job. When crafting your sales pitch, ensure that you keep it short and sweet, easy to understand, highlight your target market, and demonstrate how your product solves a market gap. 


    Seeing your product on the shelf at a grocery store you frequent is no small accomplishment. Working with grocery stores can be long and complicated, but the results are fruitful and gratifying. There are a couple of things you’ll need to do to get your products into stores, like investing in insurance and marketing your products, but by following the above steps, you should be on your way.

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