On Thursday, May 26, Triangle Food Makers held their third meeting at HQ Raleigh with great success and attendee involvement. For this gathering, the focus was “Mind of a Buyer”, tackling hot topics in relation to how food makers can approach and obtain buyers, as well as how they to hopefully evolve the relationship once working with a buyer. To supplement this topic, Triangle Food Makers hosted a panel of three speakers including: Tova Boehm, local liaison for Whole Foods Market (shout-out to one of our beloved 2016 RFWF sponsors!); James Watts, merchandising manager for Weaver Street Market; and Louis Edward, category specialist for Sysco. Who better to give insight and answer questions than three guest speakers who making their livings working from the perspective of a buyer?!
Prior to the speakers’ time with the mic, Thursday’s gathering began with a charming sampling and socializing hour. This featured multiple products that local food makers brought for attendees to taste and experience. This introduction time gave the local businesses and attendees an opportunity to mingle and connect, as well as setting a great community atmosphere. Though this hour is only a friendly kickoff, it was truly a great occasion to explore and learn first-hand about many of Raleigh’s local food offerings.
After enjoying tastings, seating was arranged and the meeting transitioned into main speaker presentations and Q&A session for the night. With all three speakers – Tova, James, and Louis – having varying positions within the buyer industry, they gave a great mix of opinions and perspectives for the attending food makers to relate to. Following initial introductions and general advice, the speakers discussed topical issues and questions that were submitted prior to the event. Throughout the “Mind of a Buyer” meeting, local food makers got answers to questions such as: What is the ideal way to approach a potential buyer? … What opportunities are there to promote one’s product once it is on a buyer’s shelves? … How to stand out and successfully get a product on the shelves?
Between the three speakers, it appeared the entire topic of “buyers” was covered, which gave food makers and attendees a newly understood perspective to consider. Though much advice was given during the two-hour speaker session, the key points seemed to emphasize the importance of differentiation, having a strategically thought-out business plan, truly knowing one’s own brand, and having the courage to take action towards a potential buyer. With this expert insight, local food makers have more tools in their arsenal to utilize while working toward the success and expansion of their businesses!
Prior to this buyer-focused meeting, Triangle Food Makers has hosted two other gatherings hitting on the topics of commercial kitchen space and the perspective of food makers themselves. In fact, during entry Triangle Food Makers were already soliciting attendees to cast their vote for the topic of the next meeting. This clearly showed how much the organization values the opinions of the local food makers and other involved attendees, which is a truly inspiring and promising value to see Triangle Food Makers invest in.
No matter the results of the topic poll, Triangle Food Makers seem to have a very valuable agenda set in place to keep these workshops and meetings thriving in the future! Check them out on Triangle Food Makers” target=”_blank”>Meetup.com and make plans to attend the next event if your local food business is ready to keep growing!