4 Key Questions For A Successful Grocery Store Listing

On August 28, 1963, Civil Rights Leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Those 3 words hold true for entrepreneurs today who seek to have their products listed with Canada’s leading grocery retailers. Entrepreneurs today are enjoying strong success. For instance:

  1. “Of the CPG industry’s $933 billion of total US sales in measured channels, in 2020, large manufacturers collectively lost 1.3 share points, or $12.1B in sales, to smaller players.”[i]
  2. Some 76% of consumers trust small businesses more than corporate brands.[ii]

Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs succeed. “According to data from the Bureau of Labour Statisticsas reported by Fundera, approximately 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, 30% of businesses will have failed. By the end of the fifth year, about half will have failed”.[iii] For those food entrepreneurs asking themselves when do I know I am ready for prime time, we provide you with Food Distribution Guy’s: “Four Key Questions for a Successful Grocery Store Listing”!

1. Does Your Brand Offer a Unique Selling Proposition?

Your brand’s USP is a specific and clear benefit that makes your brand stand out when compared to the competition. Being “unique” is rarely a strong USP in itself. You have to differentiate around some aspects your target audience cares about. Your USP is worth establishing provided it is:

  1. Important: Difference delivers a high-value benefit to your target audience.
  2. Pre-emptive: The competition cannot easily copy the difference.
  3. Affordable: The consumer can afford, and is willing to pay for the difference.

As noted by Brand Spark as part of their 2017 Canadian Shopper Study: “Consumers have always had choices, but today’s options have exploded beyond all reason. Thus, having a distinct and unique selling proposition is extremely critical”.

Do you know and convey your brand’s USP?

2. What Value Does Your Brand Bring to the Category and How Will You Increase Retailers Category Sales?

The grocery retailer is your brand’s landlord. They wish to understand the value your brand brings to the category, and how your business will increase category sales. Ultimately, it begins with your target audience as they are the master of their own wallet, and they will use their buying power to determine market winners and losers.

Does your brand have a distinct target audience?

3. Can Your Brand Be Competitively Priced?

Before the pandemic, the retail price was the number 2 influencer (taste being number 1) on whether a consumer would purchase a specific food or beverage. With the inflationary wars we are encountering price has become a bigger influencer. Consumers are trading down to cheaper brands, or converting to private label. The days in which food brands can charge a premium price ($1 or more over the category’s medium price point) are gone.

Is your brand’s USP worthy of the retail price you anticipate?

4. Do you Have a “Go to Market Strategy” to Drive Brand Awareness?  

The key question retailers, brokers, and distributors are seeking answers considering: “You have 8 seconds to hook your customer before their short attention span whisks them away.”[iv] With consumers taking fewer trips to the grocery store and/or ordering online, driving brand awareness is crucial to your brand’s success and helping retailers increase category sales. It all starts with a clear and decisive marketing plan.

Have You Created a Marketing Plan for Your Business?

Your business is your passion, and the heart and soul of who you are. Do not launch your brand into Canada’s grocery sector until you can truly answer the 4 key questions I posed. Do not let others rush you prematurely. If you want to have a follow-up conversation, let’s have a conversation at no charge to you!



[i] Large CPG Companies Lose Market Share to Smaller Competitors Despite Surging Sales Spurred by Pandemic, www.foodnavigator-usa.com, February 2021

[ii] Brand Trust is Built on the Cause Consumers Care About, www.forbes.com, June 2021

[iii] The True Failure Rate of Small Businesses, www.entrepreneur.com, January 2021

[iv] You’ve Got 8 Seconds to Grab a Customer’s Attention. Here’s What to Do. www.entrepreneur.com, June 2022