I'm drowning in food products this week. The September issue of Natural Foods Merchandiser will feature our annual gourmet guide [PDF], and I'm charged with zeroing in on the newest, healthiest, tastiest products to feature.
My desk, the floor surrounding me, a nearby cubicle and even the office refrigerator are over overflowing with chocolate, cheese, kimchi, pickles, tea, gluten-free bread, crackers, veggie chips and more.
In addition to hunting for new brands that meet the exacting quality standards of the natural products industry and deliver on flavor, what I select must also be regionally or nationally distributed so retailers can actually get the products in their store after reading about them.
With great hesitation, I'm often forced to pass on artisan-made, delicious foods simply because they aren't widely distributed—that is, until now.
Buyer's Best Friend, a wholesaler which carries more than 110,000 SKUs from 1,700 local and artisan manufacturers just partnered with United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), the country's largest organic, natural and specialty food distributor, to make it easier for grocery chains to get these products in their stores.
"Consumers want more local and artisan brands, but for grocers and other buyers, it can be difficult to manage dozens, let alone hundreds of direct vendor relationships," said Adam Sah, CEO of Buyer's Best Friend in a press release. "We built Buyer's Best Friend to bring new and artisan brands to a wider audience. Partnering with the industry leader is the best way to bring thousands of amazing up-and-coming brands into the hands of millions of consumers."
Hallelujah! This is great news for natural products retailers who can easily differentiate from the competition by stocking new, hard-to-find foods. And I'm optimistic this new relationship will make it all the easier for me to responsibly feature up-and-coming brands in the pages of NFM.
Are you excited to stock more local and artisan brands? Leave a comment.