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NPD Food Conference 2014.....Advice from a Buyer

by Claire Martinsen on Thu 17th Jul 2014 03:26

lincoln coop 2Nicola Berry, Supply Chain Manager from the Lincolnshire Co-op spoke at the conference last week.  She was warm, open and gave out liberal doses of advice and guidance to the audience  about how to get their products stocked in a regional supermarket.  She was really clear about the whole buying process and explained it in lay terms to the Conference.  Here’s  a brief snapshot of  just some of the advice she gave…..

lincoln coopWhat do buyers look for?

  • Great product
  • Great packaging – both eye-catching but also legal[!]
  • Cost
  • Availability/distribution possibilities

Why don’t products stay on supermarket shelves?

  • An inability to supply 100% of the time
  • Faulty batches/recall
  • Not selling enough

What is a Range Review?

  • When supermarkets look at a category on a rolling basis
  • Every buyer  wants products that sell not shelf warmers – a range review is a chance to review this
  • Look at EPOS sales per 4ft bay and also per sq foot
  • Looking and review the ‘hurdle rate’ to stay within the range


Bravo Nicola for being so honest, for de-mystifying the buying process and being a great ambassador for Regional Coops.  During my time at Mars before I started Breckland Orchard I spent my whole time interacting with the major supermarkets, and its a difficult task to explain some of the complexity of decision making/factors that Buyers need to consider.

Nicola’s parting words were:

‘it’s  a hard world, you’ve got a great product, we want it, but it’s got to earn its keep’

There’s lots of think about when you supply the supermarkets – be they regional or national.

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Posted in: Business Advice Speakers/Meetings Tips for running a food business


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