Stuff: Hustle & charm, how a small business gets in supermarkets

Forty Thieves, started by Shyr and Brent Godfrey, is a gourmet peanut butter company that has hustled to get on the supermarket shelves. In July, the company was accepted by Countdown.

“When Forty Thieves founder Shyr Godfrey started making nut butters in 2016, she assumed she would be able to find a big enough market for her products without bothering about the supermarket.

But it did not take long for her to realise that, even as a premium product that was a great fit for speciality shops, it would be hard to succeed without the backing of the grocery giants.

Forty Thieves nut butters are now sold by Countdown and Foodstuffs supermarkets – but Godfrey said the process of getting there was not straightforward.

It’s an experience shared by many businesses looking to make the jump from farmers’ markets to the big time. The road into one of New Zealand’s major supermarkets is not always easy.

After selling their products through gourmet grocery store Farro Fresh, the couple began to eye-up the country’s two major supermarket companies, Countdown and Foodstuffs, which owns Pak ‘n Save and New World.

“Brent and I would dress up a little bit, bring products and drive from store to store. We would sit outside the buyer’s office with the sales reps and go in and pitch our products.”

Sometimes it took three meetings to make enough of an impression that the buyer would then remember to place an order, she says.”

 

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