When planning a start-up, sometimes the best perspective is having the startling realization of just how little you know. I think I found Ground Zero.
But this is good news. Essential Confection participated today in a Go to Market conference offered by the Specialty Food Association. Some may recognize the SFA as the org that produces the Fancy Food Show, next occurring in San Francisco. This Go to Market conference in Portland is the first such offering outside the Association’s New York City home. Portland is a logical choice for the conference, given the entrepreneurial spirit of the city. Attendance, at the Food Innovation Center on the Portland State University (PSU) campus, was at capacity. I made the trip from Cincinnati expressly for this purpose.
The crux of the presentations was to help new or nearly new business owners learn how to market their product to buyers… that is, the nuts and bolts of buyer meetings with retailers, distributors, supermarkets, specialty food stores and food service organizations.
So, we’ll break this conversation up into several posts. Terrific regional reps from notable west coast retailers and food service orgs shared their secrets, as did Sarah Masoni, PSU Product and Process Development Manager (a food scientist), and Laura Barton, Trade Development Manager for the State of Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Attendees were even fed the best local deli double-decker fare from the Elephants Deli, the culinary glue that bound the afternoon sessions to the morning sessions (as if shortbread and chocolate chip cookies were needed).
So, Essential Confection wanted the grit and grist of how to leverage product successfully into the marketplace, and the Go to Market conference was the Gold Standard.