Inflation and pricing are hurdles many buyers—from retail and foodservice to end consumers—face as products and supply chains continue to be impacted. One way to help mitigate these pain points is with a partner on your side who knows the ins and outs of the business. As we touched on how Bay Food Brokerage can help smooth out the supply chain and pricing concerns when it comes to inflation, I tapped Erin McCulloch-Crume once more to dig into one more trend we see shoppers gravitating toward, especially with the holidays rounding the corner: limited-time offers (LTOs).
“When it comes to items that are LTOs in and out that are packaged specifically for a specific holiday, what’s important for manufacturers to keep in mind is once that holiday is over, that retailer cannot keep that item on the shelf anymore,” the Director of Deli and Emerging Business explains. “It calls out that it’s outdated, even though the product itself might be perfectly good.”
One way Bay Food helps both suppliers and buyers mitigate waste is by coming up with strategies to move products, such as selling post-holiday offerings.
“There may be a specialty company doing a fun product for Halloween and call it something really fun and put a themed sticker on it. After October 31, that store is not going to be able to sell leftover Halloween-branded products,” continues Erin. “Recovery programs work great because you can relabel it with a more generic sticker that doesn’t call it Halloween or use a peel-away sticker.”
Quick, easy, and effective, like taking off the mask once Halloween or similar holidays have passed, so to speak. In doing so, shrink can be reduced, ultimately reducing the cost for the supplier and retailer, which then helps with the current inflation environment. This is an effective strategy for specialty boutique stores to big chains nationwide.
At this point, my consumer instinct asks about the after-holiday deals where we can find discounted products. Erin, quick as a whip, explains it’s more beneficial for everyone involved if programs didn’t have to go into the after-holiday discounting phase.
“What ends up happening is if the manufacturer and the retailer are having to discount products 50–60 percent or more just to move through remaining inventory, it causes the overall profitability of that program to be diminished," Erin states. "The following year when retailers offer that exact same program, they’re going to have to charge more because they have to think through how they’re going to cover that waste at the back end. So, it really doesn’t benefit the retailer, the customer, the consumer, or the manufacturer to have extra products sitting on the shelf after the holiday is over.”
For those holiday flavors that only come around during certain times of the year, it would be difficult to rebrand for the next season. However, Bay Food Brokerage is well-versed in merchandising, so the team can work with both parties to come up with creative programs.
“We collaborate and work with our customers who might not know how to utilize those products in-store to best maximize their programs,” says Erin. “Our focus and emphasis are to make sure that we’re making the right decisions and the right recommendations for our customer and for our manufacturer, and not just throwing something to walls and see what sticks.”
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