Retail Promotion for Food and Beverage Products [Food and Beverage Marketing – Part 3]

How can you (1) get retailers to stock your food and beverage products and (2) market your new food brand to stand out on the shelf? If you’re looking for a proven, tactical strategy on retail promotion for food and beverage products, watch now!

Angela Rakis, our guest expert, is a seasoned brand strategist and retail marketing expert. She shares valuable insights on successful brand navigation, niche positioning, and tailored approaches in retail marketing.

Angela emphasizes the significance of packaging, product placement, and consumer psychology and offers practical advice on building relationships with major retailers and leveraging marketing trends like authenticity and sustainability.

Angela’s guidance serves as a beacon for aspiring food and beverage brands, providing a roadmap to navigate the retail landscape with precision and purpose.

Want more niche marketing insights on Food and Beverage Marketing?

This episode is Part 3 in a multi-part series on food product marketing and sales. To continue learning on this niche, visit:
Marketing to Retailers in the Food Industry with Jean-Marc Demers [Food and Beverage Marketing – Part 1]
Expert Food Packaging Design with DePersico Creative [Food and Beverage Marketing – Part 2]
Leveraging Influencer Marketing and PR with Bill Southard [Food and Beverage Marketing – Part 4]
• Part 5: Coming soon!
• Part 6: Coming soon!
• Part 7: Coming soon!
• Part 8: Coming soon!
• Part 9: Coming soon!

Watch the Podcast Interview on Retail Promotion for Food and Beverage Products (Part 3 in the Series):

This episode on retail promotion for food and beverage products covers all of the following and more:

Note: These timestamps correspond to the video version of the episode

00:00 Introduction to Angela Rakis, Retail Marketing Expert
• Brand strategist that will share everything there is to know about launching a food and beverage product at retail.

00:48 Discussion on Retail Strategies with Angela Rakis
• Look at the client’s brand and business to see where there can be improvement in their marketing.
• Her consulting firm focuses on marketing and business development, which includes strategies and plans for client’s brands.

09:07 Angela’s Personal Background and Career Journey
• Shopper marketing: an in-store experience where brands aim to create a connection with consumers through the ambiance and presentation of their products
• Planogram: Allocation of shelf space for different product categories
• Build relationships with buyers to gain traction in major grocery outlets
• Retailers seek exclusivity with emerging brands to gain a competitive edge
• Brands must understand the specific intricacies and challenges associated with each retailer

18:18 Building Relationships with Retail Buyers
• Leverage social media algorithms by actively engaging with stores, brands, and individuals related to the food and beverage industry
• Align product launches with retailer schedules to ensure timely placement and availability (early planning is important)

20:04 Importance of Planning for Seasonal Retail Opportunities
• Understand the retailer’s scheduling nuances and holiday planning timelines
• Use platforms like RangeMe, which serve as matchmaking services connecting brands with retail buyers. This can facilitate the process of getting products noticed by retailers
• LinkedIn can be a valuable platform for engaging with retailers and industry professionals. Establish connections, showcase products, and stay updated on industry trends and events like food shows and expos
• Understand retailer goals and objectives to foster mutually beneficial partnerships
• A well-prepared pitch deck can significantly enhance credibility and instill confidence in buyers.
• Explore brokerage services for additional support and expertise in navigating the retail landscape

24:27 Brokers in the Food and Beverage Space
• Brokers serve as intermediaries, leveraging their expertise to navigate negotiations, distribution channels, and market penetration strategies
• Brokers assist in breaking down barriers, communicating with retailers, and facilitating sales transactions

26:13 The Power of Sampling
• Sampling lets you introduce products directly to consumers and influence purchasing decisions.
• Founder-led demos are identified as a potent tool for product promotion, characterized by the founder’s passion, storytelling ability, and personal connection to the brand
• Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, strategic demo planning remains essential for maximizing consumer interaction and brand exposure

29:11 Importance of Tight Brand Standards
• Provide demo teams with comprehensive brand materials, such as one-sheets detailing brand language, table setup guidelines, and responses to frequently asked questions
• Advocate for proactive engagement with store employees to build rapport and reinforce brand identity

30:59 Clever Promo Strategies
• Discounts or promotions encourage trial purchases, especially when entering a new market
• Coupling market selection with promotional incentives, such as launch specials or opening promotions, can drive consumer engagement and trial purchases

34:27 Leveraging Email and SMS Marketing
• Send relevant promotional offers, recipes, holiday-themed content, and brand stories
• Deliver engaging and valuable content to keep subscribers interested

35:42 Food and Beverage Marketing Trends
• Authenticity matters
• Consumers value genuine products
• Upcycled foods, fair labor practices, and sustainable sourcing
• Know your competition on the shelf based on the retailer you’re aiming for

This Episode is Brought to You by The Agency Guide (TAG)

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Season 1: Mortgage Industry Marketing Series
Season 2: Marketing Mavericks Series
Season 3: Industrial Product Marketing Series

Retail Promotion for Food and Beverage Products (Part 3 in the Series) - Angela Rakis

Tweetables for this “Retail Promotion for Food and Beverage Products” Episode:

  • Discover why authenticity reigns supreme in food marketing today. #FoodBranding #AuthenticityMatters
  • Want to make a splash with your food brand? Know your audience and have fun! #FoodBusiness #RetailSuccess
  • Don’t just follow trends—create genuine connections with your audience. #BrandAuthenticity #FoodMarketing
  • For emerging food brands, being real beats following a formula any day. #ChallengerBrands #FoodStartups
  • Find success in retail by understanding the shelf landscape and enjoying the journey. #RetailStrategy #FoodEntrepreneur

About Host John Bertino and TAG:

A decade spent working for marketing agencies was more than enough to know that there are too many bad agencies and not enough objective marketers within them. John launched TAG in 2014 with the mission to provide brands unbiased guidance from seasoned marketing professionals at little or no cost.

TAG advises brands on marketing channel selection, resource allocation, and agency selection to ensure brands invest in the right marketing strategies, with the right expectations, and (ultimately) with the right partners.

TAG represents 200+ well-vetted agencies and consultants across the United States and Europe.

John’s professional background and areas of expertise include: Marketing Planning, Earned Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Link Acquisition, Digital PR, Thought Leadership, and B2B Lead Generation.

TAG Testimonials

About Our Guest Expert: Angela Rakis

Angela Rakis holds a philosophy that your career isn’t a straight line. She started as an account manager working in advertising agencies in New York City, building her creative energy and a foundation in strategic planning while working on national brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Denny’s and Jaguar Cars. Then she made a career shift. She enrolled in The French Culinary Institute in New York City (now called the International Culinary Center) earning her certification in Pastry Arts.

While attending school, she learned the details of small business working in the best cheesecake shop in NYC, Eileen’s Special Cheesecake. Eileen was proof that when you put heart into what you do, you will succeed, and inspired her to unite her business savvy with her personal passions.

Angela combined her love for food with her background in business joining Whole Foods Market as head of marketing. In this role, she was entrenched in the food industry. Whole Foods was her training ground for retail execution, exceptional service and strong leadership. While her focus was marketing, customer service and purchasing, she established herself as a marketplace strategist and connector in the industry. She was recognized for leadership, innovation, creativity and driving results.

She took my marketing and retail skills to EDENS Realty, allowing her to see the retail business from a different perspective. Focused on the EDENS mission to enrich communities, she launched the consumer-facing marketing team for Mosaic District, the premier neighborhood in the Washington Metropolitan area. From nurturing independent businesses to creating engaging experiences for their visitors, their team crafted a vibrant place to gather and engage. Her efforts allowed their sales team to lease space to best-in-class retailers, restaurants and service providers.

When not working, Angela can be found discovering new restaurants, tinkering in her kitchen or hanging out with her beloved dog, The Drake. She is inspired by traveling and the cultures of other cities and countries.

Favorite Daughter

Favorite Daughter Consulting offers a wealth of program management and strategic planning skills, a tenure of successful leadership and a clear passion for mentoring, marketing and brand management. Their varied professional background ensures they provide a unique and valuable perspective on operations, consumer behavior, customer trends and business strategy.

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Connect Socially with Our Guest Expert:

Angela Rakis
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Transcripts of Retail Promotion for Food and Beverage Products (Part 3 in the Series)


This transcript (of the video version of this episode) has been provided to assist you in finding extra information specific to your needs and goals. We have not edited it line by line for grammar, spelling, punctuation, or spacing. Please forgive errors. Feedback welcomed at


0:00:00 Introduction to Angela Rakis, Retail Marketing Expert
0:00:48 Discussion on Retail Strategies with Angela Rakis
0:09:07 Angela’s Personal Background and Career Journey
0:18:18 Building Relationships with Retail Buyers
0:20:04 Importance of Planning for Seasonal Retail Opportunities
0:24:27 Brokers in the Food and Beverage Space
0:26:13 The Power of Sampling
0:29:11 Importance of Tight Brand Standards
0:30:59 Clever Promo Strategies
0:34:27 Leveraging Email and SMS Marketing
0:35:42 Food and Beverage Marketing Trends

Long Summary
In this gripping interview, we are joined by Angela Rakis, an esteemed brand strategist and retail marketing expert. Angela’s vast experience in the industry, from her beginnings at McDonald’s to her pivotal roles at renowned agencies like Ogilvy and leading regional marketing at Whole Foods, equips
her with unique insights crucial for successful brand navigation. Through her current venture, Favorite Daughter, LLC, Angela merges marketing and business development expertise to propel brands towards their full potential.

Diving deep into the realm of retail marketing, Angela emphasizes the need for a tailored approach aligned with each brand’s audience and financial resources. She stresses niche positioning and thoughtful retailer selection, urging entrepreneurs to blend aspirations with pragmatism for retail success. Angela’s guidance on shopper marketing underscores the pivotal role of the in-store experience in shaping a brand’s triumph.

She further underscores the importance of packaging in retail placement, advocating for differentiation that harmonizes with the retail setting. Angela’s strategic approach involves a detailed evaluation of competitors’ packaging to pinpoint unique value propositions for effective brand distinction. Her advice serves as a beacon for aspiring food and beverage brands, offering a roadmap to navigate the intricacies of the retail landscape with precision and purpose.

Shifting gears, our discussion veers into the realms of retail merchandising and consumer psychology, honing in on packaging and product placement strategies. We explore the significance of visually striking packaging to captivate consumers, along with methods to identify market gaps and design elements for optimal consumer engagement. The conversation extends to building relationships with major retailers, understanding category review schedules, and leveraging platforms like LinkedIn for effective outreach and industry networking.

We delve into the pivotal role of brokers in guiding small businesses through distribution complexities, emphasizing the need for persistence and preparedness when engaging with buyers. Sampling emerges as a potent marketing tool for creating memorable consumer experiences, influencing purchase decisions, and building brand loyalty. The importance of founder-led demos, promotional strategies, and current food and beverage marketing trends like authenticity and sustainability are thoroughly dissected, offering valuable insights for emerging challenger brands.

In conclusion, Angela’s sage advice resonates with budding entrepreneurs seeking to carve their niche in the competitive retail world. Her transformative journey and strategic prowess serve as an inspiration for marketers in the food and beverage industry, highlighting the transformative force of passion and strategy in crafting impactful brand identities. This enlightening podcast episode provides a wealth of actionable strategies tailored to empower small brands to thrive amidst the dynamic and challenging retail landscape.

Brief Summary
Angela Rakis, a seasoned brand strategist and retail marketing expert, shares valuable insights on successful brand navigation, niche positioning, and tailored approaches in retail marketing. Emphasizing the significance of packaging, product placement, and consumer psychology, she offers practical advice on building relationships with major retailers and leveraging marketing trends like authenticity and sustainability. Angela’s guidance serves as a beacon for aspiring food and beverage brands, providing a roadmap to navigate the retail landscape with precision and purpose.

Angela Rakis, brand strategist, retail marketing, brand navigation, niche positioning, consumer psychology, packaging, product placement, major retailers, authenticity, sustainability

Introduction to Angela Rakis, Retail Marketing Expert

My next guest is so awesome, we’ll even forgive her for being a Washington Commanders fan.
Yuck. Go burn.
That next guest is Angela Rakis, a brand strategist, fractional CMO, and retail marketing expert that
knows everything there is to know about launching a food and beverage product at retail.
Angela started her career as a marketing intern at McDonald’s.
Fast forward several years, and Angela is in NYC working for the infamous Ogilvy, you know, the same
famous marketing agency established in 1850.
Yeah, that one. This eventually led her to heading up marketing regionally for Whole Foods. That’s a big
180 for McDonald’s, wouldn’t you say?
Suffice to say, Angela knows more about successful food and beverage brands at the retail level than
99.99% of the population.
And now she’s sharing some of her most important insights with you.
Discussion on Retail Strategies with Angela Rakis
In this episode, we’ll discuss stalking retail buyers on LinkedIn, hijacking the retail planogram, in-store sampling.
Thank you so much for joining us. Marketing Podcast.

[1:38] And we’re back with another episode of the Niche Marketing Podcast.
As always, I’m your host, Jon Bertino. We’ve got my colleague, Steven Picanza in the producer role. He
might chime in at some point.
And today, I’m super excited to have our fantastic guest, Angela Rakis with Favorite Daughter, LLC.
Angela, welcome to the show. We’re so excited to have you. Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
And we wanted to bring you in because right now we are knee deep in all things food and beverage
And we’ve talked about packaging, we’ve talked about PR, we’ve talked about influencer marketing, five
other things I can’t think of off the top of my head.
But we haven’t really gotten into retail yet.
And what series on how to market a food and beverage product would be complete without a fairly
significant exploration of the retail environment.
And that’s why we had to have you in. We know that that you’re excellent and very experienced in this
And so here we are. So before we get into food and beverage marketing at retail, let’s talk about you a
little bit, Angela.
Let’s start with, you know, a little bit on your personal background.
How did you get into food and beverage marketing in the first place? Where are you from?
Husband, kids, you know, what can you tell us about Angela Regas? All the good stuff.
Okay, we’ll start Um, with how I got into this, um, uh, I, I started my career in advertising.
That was my thing was to get out of college, to eventually go to New York, to, um.
To work in an ad agency. I started in college working interning, and one of our clients was
McDonald’s, regional franchisees of McDonald’s, if you can believe it. I think I’ve heard of them. Yes.
They’ve been around a little while, right? They’ve been around a while.
The leap from there to where I’m going to go, you’re going to be like, how did that connection happen?
But it did.
And so when I came to New York, or I got to New York, I was like, okay, I can use this food
And I got up on sort of working for a midsize agency on a national brand, another one you’ve heard of
called Denny’s.
And my very New York focused boss was like, so you know, when they’re talking about menus and this
and that, you know what that means?
I’m like, sure, I know from my fast food days and working on this brand.
And so I got hired to work on the Denny’s account, which was a national account at an ad agency in
New York. I’ve also worked in automotive at ad agencies.
I worked at Ogilvy, which is a big agency in the city.
And from there, I got let go because, as you may know, some agencies that you may have worked with,
once the account goes, it’s time for you to go.
And so at that point, I had a friend who said, hey, you know, you should go to culinary school. And I
thought, that’s insane. Who does that? Yeah.
So I did. I looked into it. It was a six-month pastry program at what was then called the French
Culinary Institute.
And I thought, what’s the worst that happens? I always loved baking. I always loved cooking.
My family has somewhat of a food background.
And I said, all right, let’s try it. Let’s do it. And so I took the pastry program.
I worked in some bakeries.
I learned a lot about small business through those jobs. I bet.
And yeah, and at that point, I also then realized, wow, it’s really hard to make a living in New York City
in food.

People do it, but it’s hard. And so I thought if I could combine my business background from the ad
agency and my love and passion for food together, I would have the ideal job. Yeah, voila.
And voila, Whole Foods Market had a marketing position.
At the time, it was considered the Northeast region, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. Connecticut.
We had one store in New York City at the time. I think they might have 12 now or something like
So my responsibility was to build the brand, help find local products, open new stores, and really we
kind of helped put Whole Foods on the map on the East Coast in that region because we opened
Columbus Circle, New York City right away.
Were they Whole Foods at the time or were they Freshfields? They were Whole Foods. I knew them as
Freshfields growing up in DC, But yeah, there were Whole Foods, officially Whole Foods at the time.
So I did that and I thought, okay, I’ve landed in a place where I can talk about food all day. I can meet
I mean, I could do community work because most of our marketing did go to community type of
Cool. And it was awesome. It was very much entrepreneurial spirit of Whole Foods at the time because
it was like if you stick to the values of the company and the quality standards, you’re kind of free to –.
Make it work for your region and your stores. All of this before you even started your own agency.
That is true. I started my consulting after that. I had one more corporate job in between.
And then I was Whole Foods for 10 years. So, you know.
Yeah. So McDonald’s, Denny’s, Culinary School, Whole Foods and Ogilvy.
Guys, you need to listen to Angela Rakis and everything she has to say.
So clearly your resume is intact here. My resume is intact and food has changed so much over the years.
And that’s part of the fun is kind of navigating what’s new, what’s old. And that’s what I love about it.
And then you also asked, I’m from the D.C. area. I’m from a place called Silver Spring, Maryland.
Check it out. It’s really a delightful place. Redskins fan.
Yes, Washington fan, but also, sorry, Philadelphia fans here.
We’re going to smoke you guys this week, by the way. I just want you to know.
I’m sorry. Are you an Orioles fan like I am? Because I know enough about the horse to be dangerous,
but I do know that my Orioles are really good.
Ain’t no Orioles fans in Philadelphia.
People are going to stop listening right now. But yeah, you know, having lived in New York for
like, I don’t know what, 13, 15 years, my brothers always said, you have to stick with the team you got.
There you go. And they were like, I don’t care if you’re being yelled at by Giants fans.
That’s right. You will stick with your Washington team. And I was like, oh, this is awful.
Especially when you don’t know anything about sports. And you’re like, I’m a Redskins fan. And the
people are booing you.
Commanders. Did I say Redskins? You said, yeah, they’re the Commanders now.
Yes. Yes. Or the Commodores, as I like to call them. Yeah. You got to stick with that hometown team.
And then eventually they become good at some point, from what I understand.
I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. I got to be honest with you.
Philadelphia. Fantastic. And then on Favorite Daughter, your current initiative.
So how long have you been operating under Favorite Daughter LLC?
And how do you position yourself as far as what you specialize in and what you do?
Got it. I started Favorite Daughter, oh, seven years ago or so, six years ago.
And it really began, somebody who I knew who had a product at Whole Foods, and well, it wasn’t
food, it was in the body care.
She just was having a hard time navigating the waters, which is one of the hardest parts.
And I kind of took her on as a side project while I was still working.
And I realized, you know, this could be something.
I didn’t really want to help people put their product in the stores, because there’s brokers that do that.
But I wanted to look at their brand and their business and see where there’s holes in their game.
A lot of people come to me for for marketing specifically.

But then I say, well, your operations could use some work or how do you plan on scaling this?
You know, you want to get into Whole Foods, but are you ready?
Because that’s when the work really begins.
Or their packaging looks, it’s hard to tell what’s going on there.
Or, you know, for other clients, it could be their customer service is really terrible.
So a lot of people come to me for one thing and then we assess and review and see what they really
So most of the time it’s, I call it marketing and business development.
Development, sometimes it’s really sitting down with a founder or CEO and like, let’s build out the
strategy. What is the plan? What do you really want to do?
Angela’s Personal Background and Career Journey

Because they’ve thought about my awesome product, but they haven’t thought about like, well,
now what do I do with this?
People love it. Well, who loves it? Why do they love it? And where’s it going to go?
And so that’s what I do. Okay, fantastic. Perfect segue. Okay, thank you.
So, and I think today’s discussion and really really our entire series on food and bev in general is
through the lens of the smaller startup challenger brand.
Maybe they have a little private funding behind them. Certainly nothing larger than that. It’s like
friends and family funding, but basically we’re talking about bootstrapped startup challenger brands.
So through that lens, you come across one of these and they say, Angela, I love all the work you’ve
I’m dying to get into whole foods or any one of these gross, grosser retailers. retailers, although I’m sure
Whole Foods has its own very specific intricacies and challenges associated with it. Where do you start?
So let’s assume, I should say, that they have done a package, they have a package, they have a product,
and they think they’re ready, but maybe not. So where do you go from there?
I think my first questions, the two things I’m always going to ask is let’s talk about your audience,
because retailer to retailer is different, right?
Safeway a giant might be different than a Whole Foods, could be different than, I don’t know if you guys
have Foxtrot here, that’s like a newer retailer.
We could talk about that.
So who’s your audience? We hear a lot.
Well, it’s for everyone. It’s a potato chip. Everyone loves potato chips, but you really have to, I mean,
this is called the niche podcast.
You’ve got to niche it down a little bit so that you can get- Oh, wait a minute.
But you’re not just saying that because it’s a niche marketing podcast.
You’re saying like rule number one is we got You’ve got to get more niche. Right. Okay. Right.
That’s number one. Number two, I’m always going to ask, what is that funding?
Looking like you know is it done after this round or however much you have are you self-funding
yeah what do you have to work with you have to work with mostly because forget about having to pay
me which you will yeah there’s so much that goes into i’m in my farmer’s market or i’m in three stores
locally but i want to get to whole foods right um i often will ask why whole foods i mean sometimes it
seems obvious but i think a lot of people think well because their customers have a a lot of money.
It’s like, well, that’s not necessarily true.
So I really want to question a lot of that. Like why?
And I, I never want to kill someone’s dream. Like if Whole Foods is your dream, like this particular
client I mentioned earlier, we still work together now.
She’s nationwide at Whole Foods.
Fantastic brand, but it’s so funny because it’s like every time we veered off track, you know, I was like,
is Whole Foods still your vision?
Like, is there a reason why? Like, is it just prestige or is it like, I really, that’s really something I want to,
I want to do. I know my people are there. My customers are there.

So I would ask those kinds of questions. That’s where I would start.
Okay. Very good. And then bringing it closer to retail specifically versus, you know, all the other ways
you can sell a food and beverage brand.
Let’s do a little housekeeping and terminology with shopper marketing.
Could you define for our audience what is quote unquote shopper marketing?
I mean, I see that as the in-store experience.
That’s kind of how I would define it. You know, that feeling you get in the store, Or there’s some stores,
you know, you walk into and you’re just like, yeah, this is my place. These are my people.
It’s a beautiful cornucopia of food type thing. And sometimes you want to go to a store that’s
more in the warehouse space.
Um, setup, right? The, the Costco’s and that kind of thing.
And it’s like, that’s a different, it’s a vibe and just going to know what you’re getting into or, um, go in
and see if it’s, it’s for you. And that’s the same thing for that brand.
I mean, the brand is not necessarily the, the food brand is not necessarily going to create that, but if
that’s where you want to be, then that’s what you got to figure out that that’s, that’s the kind of store I
want to be in.
As a matter of fact, I had a client who was a potato chip, um, client and, um, he really, there’s a lot of
work we had to do to get his chips in the market, but he really wanted to to start at convenience stores,
the 7-Elevens, Wawa’s, places like that.
And he was like, I don’t necessarily need to be in the grocery store.
He’s like, I really think that this is the place where people are going to grab a small bag of chips that’s
going to be different than a national brand.
One of our previous guests that was really focused on packaging had suggested that one of the keys to
breaking into a certain retail outlet is that your packaging fits their vibe or or that your packaging might
somehow reflect positively upon them, or taking that a step further, might actually enhance the beauty or
aesthetic of their shelves.
Agree or disagree? Is that overblown? What do you think about that?
I’d say agree with the caveats.
I would definitely, if I had a brand and I wanted to put it into a particular store, I’d go look at that shelf.
Take pictures of the shelf.
Why? What are you looking for there? I want to see what the competitors are, what that packaging looks
like, Like, what are the buyers of this company buying?
So that you can see two things. One, what’s missing that I can bring, right? Because that’s going
to be key. Like, I’m different because of.
And then also, how will I fit in here?
It’s not necessarily you want the whole shelf to look exactly the same.
And you do want to pop out a little bit.
But what is everything else that’s there? What kind of claims are they making that are different than
And yeah, just how does it look on there? And it’s some packaging you look at and you’re just
like, ooh, that is ugly.
But that’s just me personally as a shopper that doesn’t like it.
So you got to look at the whole shelf. I would Photoshop my product into the shelf. How does it look
Again, not to make it look like a merchandise shelf like we have behind you, but more like- It needs a
little work back there. It’s not bad. I’m not going to lie.
We need your help maybe with that. You can help us merchandise the studio.
I have some ideas, but I think that’s the thing is like, where am I going to fit in?
Because sometimes you’ll see like a bar, right? Like those, you know, like, I don’t know, granola bars,
sports bars.
Sure. There’ll be one that’s like square, and that’s kind of where your eye goes, right? And you’re like,
ooh, that’s the one.
For what reason? There’s probably a lot of shopper psychology around it.
So I would definitely look at it and see where you would fit in or see where you may not fit in.

I find this fascinating to be honest with you you’re looking for gaps and that gap can present itself
in a number of different ways if i’m hearing you correctly so on one hand it can be features and benefits
right okay maybe there’s a gap there opportunity on the other hand it could be like almost like color
scheme yep yep size yeah hey the whole shelf right now looks really really like elegant and clean.
Maybe I need to provide a little something funky.
Right. Right. Am I misinterpreting or do you say this is exactly it? I think that’s fair.
I don’t know that the buyer is going to be like, oh, this needs to be purple.
But they might have some kind of feeling of like, this isn’t telling me what I need to know, that it has a
certain ingredient, it doesn’t have a certain ingredient or that it’s whatever it is, whatever the message is.
But they are going to look at shelf size because they’re, I mean, those grocery shelves, they are
planogrammed. There’s a plan.
It’s X number of linear feet. I can take up this much for potato snacks and this much for pretzel
snacks and this much, you know, and they literally map it out and it’s a map.
And then the person in the store gets the map and says, okay, this is where these products go.
So you’re trying to get into that map so that you’re always there and that you become a regular product
on the shelf.
Planogram. That’s a term. Is that a term you don’t know? No, I’ve heard it, but nobody has used that yet
in the series.
So kudos to you for being our first planogram dropper. I think I win a prize.
You just might. So let’s stay on the buyers, getting in.
I mean, I feel like to some extent, this is like the million dollar question, or, you know, series of
What else can we do to appease or intrigue buyers at these major grocery outlets?
I don’t even know where to start. I do know where to start.
We could honestly just do this for 20 minutes. Yeah, we could, seriously. Seriously, you know, it’s a
couple of things, just like anything else.
And I think one of the questions you’d asked about is like building that relationship.
It is a relationship like anything else. And most of the stores that I’ve worked with, they want to help
And they have hundreds of thousands of products. So there’s a couple of things to do to start.
One, most of the bigger stores, aside from the planogram, they have a category review schedule,
meaning they’re only going to stick with potato chips.
They’re only going to look at potato chips or snacks at this time of the year.
And that’s when they’re looking. That’s when they’re deciding who stays, who goes.
Now, as a smaller brand, you might be able to get in outside that review because they are always looking
for emerging brands.
They want something interesting. They want something no one else has.
They want something that can maybe be exclusive for a certain amount of time to them to give
themselves that competitive edge.
So I’d say you want to start with, can you figure out the category review? Can you find a buyer?
Use all your resources? I think, you know, because there’s two sides of this, right? We have a consumer
marketing, right? How do I get more people to buy my product?
And then you have the marketing to the retailer.
Exactly. Right? So you’re kind of in the middle and you’re trying to do both.
Exactly. So there, you know, I think there’s LinkedIn is a great place because a lot of the buyers are
They might not raise their hand to be like, hi, I’m a giant foods buyer in the category of potato chips
because they don’t want to be inundated.
Building Relationships with Retail Buyers

But you’re going to find them. And as you’re just like any other algorithm, as you’re following
these stores and brands and people, they’re going to start seeing you if you’re popping up there and talking about your product. That’s one way.
Can we actually go back to the category schedule? schedule real quick.
So as an outsider, I mean, long, long time career marketer, but outsider with food and beverage retail
The first thing that comes to my mind is like seasonality or like holiday, but is there more to it than that?
When you talk about capitalizing on what they might be buying for now, give me some other examples
if you could.
So there’s, that’s, holidays would be a separate, right? Because if you’re not already in the store or in
their system literally right now.
We’re saying dates now, but… You’re dating the podcast, Angela.
I don’t want to date the podcast.
Cardinal sin. Let’s say it’s summertime. Just kidding. Let’s say it’s summertime.
I mean, you know, most of the grocery stores are making their holiday plans in June, right?
Right. I mean, part of the reason things, you know, hit a roadblock during the pandemic with supply
chain was the grocery stores had already bought everything for the next six months.
They were either on a ship from somewhere or, you know, they’re flying in or they’re coming on a truck.
So they’re planning that far in advance.
So if you decide, you know, November 1st that you’d like to have your pumpkin spice.
Crackers in the store, you’re a little late for that, right?
So you want to get into their system as a regular product, if you can.
And then they call that a line extension.
So you’ve got your regular cracker. Hey, guess what? We have a holiday cracker now too. We’re
changing the packaging for the holidays.
And if you’re already in their system, they’re going to be starting to send out notifications.
We’re planning for the holidays. What are you doing?
Importance of Planning for Seasonal Retail Opportunities

So you’re going to to start getting into a schedule so that you can kind of say, okay, this holiday is
really important and I want to be part of that.
So that’s holiday. And then what else with the category schedule?
I think it’s really what you got to figure out what your product is and where it fits in the category and
then get in front of those buyers so that they can bring it in.
That’s pretty, I mean, I make it sound real simple, but there’s other services.
Like there’s something called RangeMe, which is like a matchmaking for brands.
So it’s buyers and brands, and they can go online.
You can say, this is the kind of stores I want to be in. It’s the kind of product I have. I love the range me
So that’s great. If you think of other tools and services that would be interesting to look into, don’t
hesitate to mention them. Absolutely.
Okay, so retail, penetrating retail, category schedule considerations with a sub-bullet around holiday.
Yep. LinkedIn outreach.

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I think LinkedIn is a really good place to be. I think that a lot of retailers are there.
They might just be lurking and looking, but they’re looking to see what’s new and what’s out there and
what people are talking about and what their friends are talking about, just like any other social media
platform, but for business.
There’s also food shows, fancy food show. We just had right here in Philly, just had Expo East.
Right. I hear a lot about that one. That’s a pretty big one, eh? That’s a big one.
Now, again, for a smaller emerging brand, they do have what I’d call less expensive booths or options.
but go as an attendee and walk around and see what other trends you’re seeing.
And if you can, book meetings there because that’s where buyers are literally keeping their eye open and
they’re saying, okay, this is what I’m seeing.
Investors are there seeing where they want to put their money.
It’s a really great opportunity, but I would also caution, it’s a big marketing expense, I would say.
If you’re going to have a booth and staff it for three days and bring product, so you might want to dip
your toes in first, see what it’s all about, out, visit, pick one, see what it’s all about, and then decide if
you’re going to put the money into it. All right. Very good.
And before we maybe move on to other aspects of retail, any other tips for…
I’d say be patient. If you did get contact with a particular buyer, don’t email them every 10 10
minutes, every 10 days. Think about how busy they are.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t be persistent because it takes persistence to run any kind of business.
Just recognize where they are. I would also think about what are their goals?
What’s the goal of the buyer, of that retailer in particular?
Again, we’ve talked a little bit about these different companies.
They all have different goals and different objectives. So if you can really talk in their their language
and showcase why you’re different, that you’ve done your math.
You can scale up, give them all the information, put your pitch deck together and be ready for it.
I often joke that it’s like Shark Tank. It really, you know, when you hear them talk about the numbers
and the person is like, I don’t really know how much it costs me to make this thing.
Like know that stuff like inside and out, because it’s going to get a lot more expensive as soon as you get
in there.
Okay. Good stuff. And actually there was another point because you brought this up earlier in it. I made
a point to write it down, brokers.
Brokers in the Food and Beverage Space

I should, you know, that’s another thing that no one else has brought up yet.
I should have figured, I never heard of such a thing in the food and beverage space, but I should have
figured they’re out there.
Can the little guys get the attention of a broker?
Sure, yeah. Can we talk about that a little bit? We could talk a little bit about it.
I mean, it’s not my, I don’t do that, I’m not a broker, but there are brokers out there for small businesses,
for large.
Sometimes your distributor will have a sales force that they can help you with.
Because remember, there’s you, have your product.
You need to sell that product into the retailer. You’re going to have a distributor there that’s going
to also need a cut of what you’re doing.
And they need to be a distributor that distributes to the store that you want to go to, right? So if you get
into like a Whole Foods and they say, well, here’s three of our distributors.
You need to make a separate contract with them, right? They’re buying the product from you. Whole
Foods is buying it from them. Gotcha.
So that’s a piece. But the broker can help, you know, break down walls.
They can speak the language of the retailer.
Some businesses don’t have a broker. or some have an in-house salesperson that’s just going out and
being the salesperson.
It’s hard to make your product and sell it as an entrepreneur.
Sure. Right? Totally get that. Only so many hours in a day.
Yeah. So a lot of times it’s like, you know, you have this great product and you’re going to have to find
another kind of vendor, which is the co-packer who’s going to make the product and package it for you,
send it to the distributor to send it to the grocery store.
So that’s why I was just saying about the pandemic and everything kind of came to a crash, that whole
chain of events.
Yeah. is already in motion for the holidays, for example. So that’s something to think about. But do you
have to have a broker?
A lot of people don’t, but I think that they do offer an expertise.
And when you have all of your capital and you’re looking at the money that you have, figuring out how
you’re going to spend it, that might be a place that you’re going to spend it. Great stuff. Thank you.
The Power of Sampling

Sampling. Oh, sampling. Sampling has come up a number of times, especially from our PR, food
and beverage marketing expert.
But from others as well. So what can you tell us about sampling?
How do you do it the right way?
How do you get approval for that? It’s hard enough to get them to even take your call, let alone like, you
know, have someone on the floor there handing it out. Right.
I think the PR person was probably into the sampling, right?
I mean, you mentioned it as a really good tactic for sure. It is.
I think it’s a good tactic.
I mean, there’s people that make an entire meal of going to Costco, right? They’re just picking up
samples. It works.
I definitely think, you know, The bigger picture, the strategy behind it is I got to get the food into the
into the people.
Right. I have someone has to taste this. That’s going to change my mind.
I got to get the food into the people.
We’re going to carve that out as a quote from this episode.
It should be a tote bag, a T-shirt. You know, I mean, that’s what you’re ultimately trying to do.
So thinking of the sampling as more than just like I got to hand out a sample, it’s it again, it goes back to
that experience.
It goes back to that feeling of like, oh, yeah, this brings me nostalgia or this is funky.
This is an interesting taste. These are flavors that I have never tried.
Ideally, it works if the founder, since we’re talking about small brands, can do the demo.
Oh, on the floor. Yeah. If they can do the demo on the floor, I think the shelf clears out because they’re
the only one that has the passion, the excitement. The story. The story.
So I think that’s a really – if you can do that, again, not everyone can do it. I find it hard to find brand
ambassadors or whatever you want to call them, demo people.
Because the stores don’t – except for like a big warehouse, they don’t do it themselves. They might put
out a bowl of samples or something, but no one’s actively demoing.
So an active demo, I think, is going to go a lot further.
So it depends on the company. Again, I can always go back to Whole Foods.
If you’re a vendor, they’ve got a portal. You go in, you pick your dates, you pick your stores, and you can
either do what they call an active demo, meaning you’re actively doing it, you have someone on your
team, or they’ll do the demo, meaning somebody is going to do it on your behalf. half. I don’t love that
as much.

That’s just my personal preference is that I want somebody who we can train and say, this is what I want
you to talk about while you’re handing out these samples.
I also think pandemic kind of messed us up a little bit, right?
There was no samples and people are all particular about their food just kind of lying around.
So you want to be really smart about how you set up a demo.
Merchandise it again, make your table look nice, like make it presentable, make it part of your,
it’s part of your brand as the extension, especially if you’re not going to be there. Yeah.
Subtle detour, closely related. As I hear you talk through this, it occurs to me the importance of tight
brand standards. Yeah.
If you can’t, as the founder or someone within the company, be executing the demo and you need to
bring in the outside help, you’re essentially relying on an outside third party to tell your story for you.
Importance of Tight Brand Standards

And then there’s the visual or identity aspect of this where you got to make that presentation
looking tight.
You know, the table, everything else. So I think it just kind of reaffirms how important it is to have
really solid branding, both on the identity and the messaging side to pull off fantastic samples, sampling
Yeah, demo. Yeah, I agree.
I think if you have that, you know, it can be even the simple one-sheeter about your brand that you can
change somebody on that you can say, hey, this is the language we use, this is the language we don’t use,
this is how we wanted the table to look.
If people, these are the top questions that we get, here’s how you answer them.
And that tool can also be used for employees in the store, right?
That’s another way to build a great relationship with a retailer is go visit those employees and say, hey,
I’m the owner of this company.
Anything you guys want to know about it? I’d love to give you guys some samples. Here they are.
Let me know what you think here’s some t-shirts you know a baseball hat anything like that that that
kind of reinforces your brand with the employees because they can be your your sort of your first line
they’re there they’re getting the questions in the store so make sure they know who you are especially
again if you’re starting and you’re not you’re not gonna do that in 500 stores but you’re gonna do that in
your local stores if you’re traveling I have a client doesn’t matter what city she goes to if she if her
product is there she’s stopping into a store She’s talking to people. She’s taking pictures for social media.
She’s really just making it like a big part of her day.
And then she could be traveling for personal reasons, not for work, but she’s always like, let me snap
some shots. Let me take a video of me going into this store. Going for social.
Yeah. Store on the West Coast. Look, here I am.
So I think anything you can do to really make the store feel like you’re part of their family, I think they
really appreciate.
Clever Promo Strategies

That’s fantastic. Thank you. you. All right, great. So let’s talk a little bit about promo strategies
beyond sampling, because I think that would fall into the category of a promotional strategy, right?
What else can you share with us as a clever angle or approach?
You know, I think if you’re launching into a new store is a good time to have a discount.
And I’m not going to steal this idea. If my friend Danny is listening in the West Coast, Makes all the
sense in the world.
We were talking, he has a product, and he was saying that he wished he had gone, done like a deep
promo right when he launched in certain stores because it encourages trial.

There’s usually a little sign that says, new product, you know?
And you’re really going to make a great first impression for that new retailer, right?
Just because you secure that shelf space doesn’t mean it’s there to stay, right?
That’s very true. So can you make a splash out of the gate? Have a promotion. Right.
Have a promotion. And, you know, if again, if you can afford it, because this is a, you know, it’s an
Is um a deeper discount you know 30 off something like that they’re also um you’ve probably seen these
and and uh my friend i’m just talking about has used these the coupons that are on the package you
know go through and put those coupons on your bottle your package that the customer can use right
away because then it’s like even more encouraging to trial you know those you know i’m talking about
those little yeah sure stick on like it’s not coming from the manufacturer you’re You’re just adding them
So pick a store, go in and drop a bunch of those onto the packaging.
And that way it encourages the customer to say, well, I was wanting to try this. It was a little pricey.
I can get, you know, X percent off. And that goes through like a clearinghouse.
There’s like a whole business behind it as well.
But I think something like that, I think any kind of demoing, I think if you’re doing the sampling and the
demoing, putting that on social media and saying, hey, this is where we’re going to be this month.
This will be this week. Come out and visit us.
Really making it a marketing effort, not just kind of like, well, I threw on a discount count and that
should be enough. Yeah. You know?
Yeah. And something else that came up again, I think it was our PR episode.
Our guest talked about, well, choose the right markets to start with in the first place.
You know, I mean, it sounds like a no brainer, right? But we’re really, we’re a challenger brand. We’re
We’re trying to make a splash. So being really thoughtful in going into very tight, potentially, potentially
very tight or very narrow markets to start.
And then doubling that idea with your idea of like let’s hit them hard with some type of incentive to
purchase yeah is a great strategy it sounds like on a number of levels and i’m often the one that says
don’t discount don’t you know like on the other hand because i’m like i don’t want people to get addicted
to it but if they know it’s promotional and it’s for a short time i think it’s okay i mean you don’t want to
become the brand that is always on special you know but i think.
Being like, this is our launch special or our opening special.
We really want you guys to try it.
So the language that you use around, I think, is important, too, because you don’t want people just to
wait around until the next promo cycle.
Right. But having a schedule for it is really smart, too, to say, okay, we’re launching on this day.
We’re going to have a deep promo to start.
We’re going to do another promo in four months or in six months, whatever it is for you or for your
Because the retailer might say, hey, we’re having a big promotion on whatever product for the holiday.
I’d like for you guys to do a discount. Yeah, we’re in. We’re going to do it.
So that way you can schedule it out and you can know at this point, we’re going to do a deep discount.
At this point, we’re going to do this. Any thoughts around incorporating.
Leveraging Email and SMS Marketing

Email marketing and SMS marketing into that approach, into that strategy?
Yeah, I’m a super fan of email.
That makes two of us. I know. I just think that one reason is when you do go to sell your company, it’s
an asset that you have.
It’s a list of people that are your people, Good point.

Social media goes away or something happens.
Temporal. That’s not necessarily your people anymore. So I love email.
I think with a food brand, it’s kind of almost easy to come up with content for emails, whether it’s
promotional in the sense of we have a discount going on, go visit our retailers, blah, blah, blah, that kind
of thing.
But if you’re a food, you can do a recipe.
You can do a lot of stories around it. You can do, hey, this holiday is coming up. We’re perfect for blah.
There’s so much depending on the type of food you are. I don’t think you need to be like often all the
time, but I think when you’re consistent, you want to have that voice, thoughtful, whatever your brand
voice is.
People are signing up for it, so they want to hear from you.
And if they don’t, they’ll opt out, you know, just as quickly.
So just making it consistent, thoughtful, I think that that can really work for a food brand for sure.
Okay, great. Great. So with the time we have left, let’s talk a little bit about trends.
Food and Beverage Marketing Trends

And, you know, probably not. That’s a whole subject in and of itself, right? We might have to
have you back for a bonus episode just to talk more about trends.
But tell us a little bit about what you’re seeing out there with trend, food and beverage marketing trends,
particularly as it might relate to retail.
Oh, my gosh. I think that I read an article just this week about about somebody that was at Expo East
and she was.
Gen z so she was like one of the youngest people as she put it there all together and they’re kind
of coming you know they’re in college now right and they’re kind of starting to have their buying power
and one of the things i thought was interesting that she noted and i have seen this but i didn’t have words
for it that we had this like era of like the perfect instagram and the perfect and the goop you know
aesthetic oh sure all these things that are so unreal and so So unattainable. Manufactured.
Manufactured, but kind of, I’m sort of like the every person, but I’m also kind of not. You know, like that
vibe. Right.
Perfection kind of couched in an air of imperfection. Right. Exactly.
The candle is melting. It’s not perfect. It’s like, oh, Lord.
But so she talked about that. And one of the things with Generation Z is that they are, again, goes back
to knowing your audience right and who’s going to be buying soon um was that they didn’t just grow up
with internet they like literally were immersed in it from a young age so they know when the bs is
coming they know when they’re being marketed to they know what the algorithm does essentially right
so they’re they want authentic they want real they want to know that you’re you the claim that you’re
making isn’t just fluff and just there to sell them a product.
I think she used activated charcoal and ashwagandha and all this stuff.
And it’s just so funny because those things have been in Whole Foods for 50 years, 35 years.
They’re not new to the natural foods person.
But when they come across like, we have this water with activated charcoal, her take was, it’s got got to
be a real purpose for it to be there.
And they’ll see through the kind of marketing tactics. So I think that’s something I do think we’ve talked
about earlier, upcycled foods, like, you know, there’s these brands that… Could you define that?
Yeah, these brands that take sort of seconds and make something out of them. So if the…
And the idea that comes top of my mind is, I don’t know why I’m thinking about beer at this hour
of the day.
But, you know, the remnants of making beer have been used to make bread in some places. That’s cool.
Like things like that.
Like a repurposed ingredient. It’s like a repurposed ingredient or using everything.
Sometimes you hear about produce the grocery store can’t sell.

Right. And so someone’s, I think Misfit is one of the food brands.
The ugly produce. ugly produce but then some people are buying the ugly produce and making juices
out of it or other things so it doesn’t just get wasted so there’s some of those upcycling um i think there’s
still a place for the functional type foods but make it really functional there’s one that this a person in
this article actually example it was like it was a chip or a cheese puff or something and it’s literally said
on it not healthy like we’re not trying to pretend just because it’s natural ingredients doesn’t mean that it’s
good for you i love that i love that Did they highlight that?
They did. They highlighted it. They laid out with that, like, not healthy. There’s a little circle that says
not healthy, and there’s like a little cheese puff in it. I can’t remember the brand name.
I’ll get it to you, though. But I think that, I think there’s just being really real and authentic.
People want real food, you know. I don’t, I was not a big, I’m probably going to get in trouble for
this, proponent of the sort of fake meats.
Like, that’s not, for me personally, and I felt like it was, there are other foods not not made in a factory
that we can have yeah so to me i think that that is probably it’s not going away i don’t think maybe it will
but it’s not i think people want ingredients like what is the ingredient in this thing right it was actually
like bean protein or something like that and so, oddly enough if they almost let out and called it like a
bean protein burger right arguably that might be a more honest stance than like you know pseudo beef
yeah Yeah, it’s just like meat. Yeah, it’s just like meat.
How about just calling it a, yeah, a bean protein burger. So I think that, you know. Pea protein. Yeah, pea
protein. That’s right.
And then it also has a fake, you know, it kind of looked like a burger.
I don’t know. It just wasn’t my, that’s me personally. Everyone can do something different.
But I do think some of these interesting ways to have vegan foods and plant-based doesn’t have to be so
It can just be made out of beans and other things.
That’s my take on that. Yeah, and you touched on ashwagandha.
That’s a mushroom, right?
Yeah, I think so. I think so. Everything, and what is it, um…
Oh, I don’t know. It’s like a nootropic of sorts that it’s supposed to be, you know, boost mental
focus and things like this.
This is like everywhere now, you know. And it’s been, I mean, I think the sort of old time hippies were
using it all the time in foods and stuff.
I think just now it’s sort of, I don’t know, as everything has its moment, right? Kale had its moment,
We need a veggie burger with ashwagandha to increase focus. I need it every day.
I do think that there’s also a generation that’s much more focused on, and I hate to go just generational,
but are you paying your employees fair wages?
Are you sourcing responsibly? Is your packaging less wasteful?
Those kinds of things I think are important to this group of buyers that are coming in.
I think for some it’s always been important, but I think now with the proliferation of like TikTok and all
these types of places to get information, they can dig in and find what you’re really doing and they’re
willing to do that.
And that kind of brings it full circle to where you started to answer the question with, but you have to be
doing it in an authentic and like truly authentic way.
Otherwise, it’s going to be seen through, right? So don’t put ashwagandha in the pea protein
Right. You know, don’t do it just to do it because it’s a popular ingredient because it could literally
backfire at this point, especially if you’re trying to appeal to that younger consumer.
Right. They’re too savvy. They are much too savvy, much too savvy.
So, yeah, don’t don’t do that. Be real.
And I think the smaller brands, the emerging brands can do that.
Better than the bigger brands i think that’s where we we kind of thrive because the bigger brands
are gonna you know they’ve got market research and they’ve got this and they’ve got that and it’s like
they’re gonna figure out the formula where you don’t want to figure out a formula you just want to be
real about the product that you have that’s great so in conclusion let’s just say that if you had to bestow
your best 30 to 60 seconds of advice for a brand new challenger food brand, looking to make it at retail,
what would be your advice?
Know who else is on the shelf. Know your audience based on that retailer where you want that product
to go.
And have fun, honestly. Have fun with it. You’re coming up with something really cool.
And you believe in it. Other people will find you and believe in it.
So have fun. Remember, it’s not going to be an easy road, but you can do it.
That sounds like prudent advice. And don’t forget to add the ashwagandha.
Always add ashwagandha.
That’s fantastic, Angela. For those that want to get in touch with you, that would love to work
with you on helping their aspiring food and beverage brand, how should they go about doing that?
You can find me on all the platforms except for X.
Oh, you can find me there, but I’m not doing anything there. Who’s that? Who’s that?
Facebook. I have a favorite daughter LLC page there.
Facebook threads you’re on Facebook threads right Angela I’m just on regular I know just kidding isn’t
that Instagram threads I don’t know is that still around I’m on Instagram but as just look up my name
you’ll find me there AngRakis A-N-G-R-A-K-I-S.
LinkedIn I’d love to I’d love for you to find me on LinkedIn I think that’s.
A spot and that’s where I’ll be fantastic well thank you so much for being here you were great this
was so fun and that’s it for today’s episode of the Niche Marketing Podcast see you on the next one bye.