Innovation and staying ahead of trends are vital to success in the consumer packaged goods industry. Being a trendsetter with a unique product has its perks, and if you’re a brand, that is one strong way to stand out and get discovered by major distribution companies. KeHE Distributors is one of the largest and most respected grocery and natural distributors in the U.S., with a mission to find innovative products in the natural, organic, specialty, and fresh product categories for their 16+ distribution centers across the country. One way KeHE discovers new brands and products is through its Trend Finder events. June 10, 2021, marked KeHE’s fifth Trend Finder event (and third virtual event), one of the most successful ways their Category Managers can forage unique brands to add to their robust assortment.
Leading up to the event, KeHE continued its partnership with RangeMe for the third time to source brands and streamline inbound submissions for the event. If a brand in the food, beverage, health, and beauty care categories was interested in this unique opportunity, they needed to register through RangeMe, submit their brand, and complete submission questions to KeHE for consideration. From there, RangeMe took care of directing each submission to the appropriate Category Manager.
Out of the whopping submission numbers KeHE received, more than 100 product suppliers were given a chance to join one-on-one pitch meetings with KeHE’s Category Management team. This team of category experts evaluated each brand on ingredients, innovation, taste, scalability, packaging, purpose, and passion. From that group, a dozen suppliers were awarded “Golden Tickets” and will be added to KeHE’s assortment. Of those 12, all brands are active suppliers on RangeMe.
All 12 Golden Ticket Winners will join the distributor’s product portfolio with exposure to more than 30,000 retail locations, receive distribution assistance, and free supplier promotional programs. Hello, endless opportunity!
Get to know: NuRange Coffee
The Espresso Martini—You either love ‘em or are simply obsessed. Collin Ricker and his college friend Zach MacAffer fell in the latter group. So much that they created an Instagram account dedicated to documenting, tracking, and rating espresso martinis around the world. But depending on the bartender, they were inconsistent, which is why the duo set out to make a gold standard of high-end, premium cold brew coffees with a boozy twist. NuRange’s line of canned cold brew includes your classic Black Cold Brew, Cold Brew Coffee+, Cold Brew Latte, and drum roll please…The Cold Brewtini. Yes, a vodka-infused cold brew made from sustainable, fair trade, organic, Arabic coffee beans roasted using clean solar energy—an espresso martini lover’s dream.
Ricker shared with RangeMe about his KeHE Trend Finder experience.
RangeMe: What was your experience like participating in KeHE’s Trend Finder event?
Ricker: Incredible. Super organized and easy. From first pitch and samples to final pitch and onboarding, KeHE made it easy and has an amazing team that we’ve loved getting to work with.
RangeMe: How did you prepare for your pitch to KeHE Category Managers? Any helpful tips to share?
Ricker: We knew what we wanted to say, but we also looked at what they wanted to hear. So we combined a pitch with everything they needed to know and then mixed it with everything we love about NuRange that they may not know or may never have thought to ask. My advice– be yourself, know your business inside and out, and tell them why they need you and how you would be a great fit for them, their accounts, and even how you would work with similar products they already sell.
RangeMe: What are you most excited about working with KeHE?
Ricker: We are so excited to be working with a national distributor that can help fill some white space market territories. They are perfect for us being focused on clean, innovative, healthy products. We couldn’t be happier with our first national distributor.
RangeMe: How do you use RangeMe as part of your retail strategy?
Ricker: RangeMe has been great for finding the right retailers and distributors and finding big chains and distributors that are doing new programs like the Trend Finder event, that we would have never found without RangeMe. RangeMe has led to some insane growth and has been worth every penny. From Whole Foods to Hy-Vee, to Snack Magic and KeHE, none would have been possible without RangeMe and ECRM.