- Review the ACS Body of Knowledge Domain Five: Moving Cheese Out the Door
- Cheese Professionals along the entire supply chain from cheesemaker, distributor, retailer and educator should understand what is necessary to “take the cheese to market” and effectively sell it to the consumer.
- For the cheesemaker developing a marketing strategy includes creating a clear brand and vision:
- Providing information that can help distributors and retailers in selling your product.
- Providing samples.
- Conducting educational and demos of your product for distributors and retailers.
- Labeling: know reqirements which include ingredients and nutritional information.
- Labeling: in addition to ingredients and nutritional information, other requirements, options to consider: Animal Welfare Approved, Certifications (Humane, organic, kosher, hallah, validus), Food Alliance, Slow Food, etc.
- Other “romantic” labeling options: Grass Fed, Raw Milk, Farmstead, Local
- For the distributor developing an educational program for reps, merchandisers and retailers:
- Providing product information/education to retailers.
- Providing tastings of new and existing product.
- Assisting with demos of new and existing products.
- Providing merchandising tips to retailers.
- Working with brokers/manufacturers to offer incentives (contests, tours to manufacturers, etc.)
- For retailers developing an educational program: knowledge of products and services; knowing your customers; knowing your competition.
- Basic classes for your employees that include customer service, knowledge of product, cutting and wrapping, knowing the services your company offers (cheese platters, dips, delivery services, pre-ordering, party platters, etc.).
- Additional education that includes merchandising techniques, product ordering, maintaining inventory, knowing services your company offers and how to implement them to meet each customer’s needs and requests.
- Ongoing education programs to keep current on trends and products.
- Daily tasting of cheeses; knowing your product is best way to sell your products. Encourage your mongers to taste every product. Keeping a diary of products tasted and your thoughts on the product.
- Know the “story” of your products. Customers love to share a “secret” about the cheese when serving it to friends and family. (For example, Stilton Cheese cannot be made in the town of Stilton.)
- Active demos of product.
- Offering every customer a taste of any cheese “If you can get it in their mouth; they will buy it.”
- Product knowledge beyond the above is a plus:
- Market trends.
- How to use social media and studying it to spot new trends (I love to check out pictures of cheese, cheese boards and recipes using cheese on Pinterest; tells me more about what is trending.)
- Reading industry magazines, e-zines and articles about cheese and trends. (I have a google alert for “cheese” and “cheese festivals”.)
- Sales reports to know top-selling cheese and other related products.
- Regarding customers:
- Anticipate your customers’ needs; even before they know what they need or want.
- Review orders with customer to avoid mistakes.
- Share your enthusiasm for a product; it’s infectious.
- Offer alternatives if you do not sell the exact item the customer wants.
- Offer sample to every customer who comes to shop.
- Ask questions to determine what customer likes or doesn’t like.
- Think long term; not just short term.
- Be honest; if you don’t know the answer admit it but add you will get the answer.
- Signage helps sell your product.
- Tell the story (“Romance”) of the cheese.
- Should include: name of cheese, country of origin, milk type and price.
- Pairings can also be included; rennet type and raw or pasteurized.
- The four Ps of Marketing: Product; Price; Place and Promotion.
- Consideration in Marketing: Case, organization of products; cross-merchandising; signage.
- Case – different cases serve different purposes and require different merchandising: coffin; upright; multi-deck; service cases and restaurant cases/carts.
- Organization: several different ways to organize your case – types of milk; use of cheese; countries; style of cheese.
- Size of selection and choices within styles and families
- Determine location of high volume items and how to use them to drive sales of lesser volume products.
- Cross-merchandising: consider pairings when merchandising. For example Quince paste with Manchego.
- Out-of-refrigeration displays: determine which cheeses can be displayed OOR.
- Bountiful displays always attract attention; show off your cheese.
- Packaging should always showcase the product.
Although cheese paper is better for the cheese, in the retail setting almost always plastic is used so the customer can see what they are buying.
Packaging should reasonably protect the cheese from handling by the customer and minimize contamination.
- Shelf life: understanding reasons and calculating.
- FDA 7 day rule for soft-ripened cheeses.
- Understand what margin and mark-ups and difference and how to calculate.
- Consistency is important to customer. Mixing-it-up too much can frustrate customer. Know your core products and have them easily accessible for the customer.
Terms to know:
Animal Welfare Approved Certified Humane Farmstead Food Alliance Grass fed Hallah Kosher Margin Mark-up OOR Display Organic Shelf Life Trademark Validus Water Activity
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.
List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.
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