Entry into supermarkets for an unknown cake brand is very tough, due to the strength of own label in this category. In recent years own label has arguably been much stronger than brands in exploiting the trends for premium (fresher and more indulgent) and 'better for you' products.
Without an established brand to rely on, the big question from a trade point of view will be - what value are you adding to the category? The new entrant will need both striking shelf standout (potentially a category-challenging design such as Innocent) and a strong product truth - such as being the most natural or most indulgent. Other elements to highlight are a food philosophy and any area of perceived recipe competence.
However, many supermarkets are falling over themselves to stock genuinely small, local brands especially if they can introduce more authentic, individualistic and artisan values into a category.
Praveen Vijh Co-founder and director of Eat Natural
If you have a genuinely different, great-tasting product with the potential for mainstream appeal, availability is critical to the success of your relationship with retailers. Can you meet individual retailer requirements 24-7, so that every order is delivered on time, every time and in full?
You can't do all this yourself, so having a dedicated team behind you, working closely with every retailer to meet their specific needs, is vital. This relationship also allows you to plan so that you have capacity in place to cope with any changes in demand.
Knowing how each retailer requires the product distributed is also important. Do they need it delivered to one central distribution point or on a store-by-store basis?
Maintaining the integrity of the product as production increases is vital to the long-term success of a brand. When we created the first Eat Natural bar nearly a decade ago, we were clear from the start that the original recipe and the kitchen method of making the bars had to remain if business took off.