Retail Foodservice

Retail Foodservice Manufacturers Face a Dilemma

Do suppliers continue holding true to their traditional sell-in strategies and agendas or instead focus on sell-through?
Photograph: Shutterstock

When it comes to retail foodservice programs, recipe management differs greatly from the traditional go-to-market category and/or revenue management strategy specifically targeted to enhance the manufacturer’s brand and/or the retail operator’s brand via trade communications, social media and advertising models.

Today’s manufacturers have found themselves in a go-to-market dilemma and here’s why: With the ever-growing retail foodservice category now designated as a consumer driven segment, the need to both strengthen their supply-chain push strategy must now incorporate a companion go-to-market pull strategy to align with the menu-planning, meal-managed pantry and recipe demands of today’s consumer. Today’s operators must recognize they have become the consumer’s menu-planning supply chain. Therefore, manufacturers must integrate a sell-through approach now dictated by operators who have their ears finely tuned to the demands of their consumer shopper base.

The Dilemma

Do manufacturers decide on whether to continue to hold true to their current sell-in push strategy and communications agenda and not focus on the consumer sell-through demands, or do they adjust their current go-to-market push model and become more aligned and integrated with the pull demands of today’s consumer-focused retail operator?

Planning for that hard to identify and elusive next-level strategy can sometimes become a daunting task when developing the go-to-market strategy. To get the attention of the new consumer and get to that next growth level, I recommend going directly to their meal planning needs. It is time for a new category structure—one based on recipe management. With consumer advertising, whether traditional media and/or social media, manufacturers and operators alike must take direct aim at getting their brand and the brand’s message into a recipe-focused marketing campaign.

Aligning the purchasing focus of today’s consumers’ product demands with the manufacturer’s focus on the operator’s demands on consistent product performance is now the harmony required  to address primary concerns of today’s manufacturers through the supply chain community when planning for that next level in the growth strategy.

Connecting the unconnected dots in the push/pull supply chain will require a different go-to-market approach, one that will require a more in sync market approach with consumer buying habits and the operator’s purchase patterns.

The more traditional category managed and revenue driven strategy now only aligns within the push through the supply chain. A recipe management strategy aligns not only with the operator’s demands for product movement but is also totally aligned with the consumer’s demands for menu-planning assistance.

A dedicated sell-through recipe management strategy should be designed to focus, inform and assist today’s consumers with their meal-planning purchasing decisions and must be totally aligned with the retail operator’s current adjusting and communications strategy. When the strategy of push and pull do not align, the disconnect causes a stall in product sell-through, creating not only a competitive opening but also may result in market share losses, for the operator, the manufacturer and an unhappy consumer.


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