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First, congrats to the venture your about to undertake! I’m always excited to see something new in the market and be hopeful to catch the wave! Straight to business end now, as a distributor (beverage and foodservice) myself, milk is very difficult to break at the moment for example we hold 4 lines – Almond Breeze, Vitasoy Barista, Bonsoy and Silk Milk the obvious choice for cafes and shops is currently a preference (and price) either Bonsoy or Vitasoy Barista.
Bonsoy and Vitasoy Barista have never been on special in any supermarket and we have been selling it wholesale cheaper then Coles and Woolworths for sometime and isn’t going to change any time soon.
This is also added pressure for the fresh stock, right now all the Soy brands are geared to shelf stable rather then refrigerated stock, shop owners are ever seeking cheaper prices. The main manufacturers tend to lift pricing by 5% in February, May, November.
We provide Bonsoy for $3.00 per 1L x 6 pack and Vitasoy Barista is $1.29 per 1L x 12 pack.
Distributors tend to take stock on consignment 90% of the time this is because we have such a huge range of products, we have around 5,000 lines and to add another has to be something pretty special, well marketed and demand otherwise we don’t go near it.
Don’t forget all established distributors know each other, burn one and they will all hear about it through your the grapevine, few phone calls can stop a product entirely in one state.
Another issue is selling the range to shops, cafes and restaurants, we’ve had a lot of changes in the industry were customers want to reduce the number of suppliers down to 2 to 3 with an extra for emergencies, that’s it. So I would start-up, building following have the data and approach a distributor and work as a rep for them selling your product through them, literally in one week you’ll know if your product has legs.
Best of luck!