Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's all about the trucks

Building a gluten free facility, buying a ton of equipment, developing the products, testing the market, finding decent suppliers, scaling up the recipes, hiring a staff, designing and developing the packaging. You'd think this would be the hard part in getting going in the gluten free food biz. Nope. It's getting the stuff into the stores. Distributors. The proverbial middleman. We run into lots of retailers who view the distributors as the evil empire. Many stores say they'd love to buy direct from us, as would the customers. But how to get our stuff from our shipping bay to their stores? It's all about the trucks. Unless I want to get into the trucking business (which I don't), we have to have distributors get it to the stores.

But wait! What about online sales? Cut out the middleman right? Not so fast. You still have the trucks, whether UPS, FedEx, or whatever. And then there's the minor matter that all our stuff is shipped and sold frozen. We have to get it to customers frozen, which means it has to go very fast, and we have to use all this environmentally hostile packaging. I mean, really, I wouldn't want to get these expensive, obnoxious styrofoam boxes every time I ordered our stuff. What do I do with them? These would have to be even more irritating that those hateful styrofoam peanuts. (Hell has a special guest suite awaiting the inventor of those things.) Guess we better figure this out. Stay tuned.


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Susan Phelps and Peggy Foran said...

I bought your rolls from Garden of Light in Glastonbury, CT and my daughter loved them. The only problem is they are not always in stock. Please let me know if I can order in bulk from you directly and I can be on the same truck as te order going to Glastonbury. I have ordered rolls in the past from Samis Bakery in Tampa Fl and they get shipped packed in ice. I will place a large order so I can keep them in the freezer. Thanks for your help and best of luck in your tremendous products!

TLC said...

We still haven't figured out how to ship our products directly to customers. We know it frustrates the folks who want to order directly from us, but at the moment, we just don't have the resources to sell direct right now. We're aware that some food vendors do ship frozen products, but no matter how you slice it, the packaging is expensive and environmentally hostile. This isn't something we're inclined to do.

One thing you might consider if the store you patronize doesn't always have what you want is to order in bulk (i.e., by the case). Some stores will give you a discount when you order in that quantity. Of course, it means you're getting an entire case of one thing, and obviously it can get pricey when you have to buy that much at one time.

Karin said...

We know what you mean. We have a gluten free bakery in Sarasota Florida and are experiencing the same problems. I believe the answer lies within having small bakeries around the know like there use to be:-)! Wouldn't that be wonderful! I'd love to see entire market places like they have in Italy, fresh from local farmers. We've gotten so far away from that and are paying dearly.

Becky Carter said...

I am a start up GF frozen cookie company and have thought of all of this... get overwhelmed, and then "freeze" up. So, when you get it figured out - let me know!

cindy said...

How do you get the FDA cetification needed to ship baked goods nationwide via mail, FedEx, etc from our website?
Is it difficult to qualify?