What Food and Beverage Brands need to know before entering the US Market?
If the U.S. food and beverage industry is a seven-course meal, then everyone will leave the dinner table feeling pretty full.
The United States food and beverage industry hit $15.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of almost 8 percent through 2024. By 2024, the market will reach almost $21 billion.
As a retail professional for three decades, I understand why food and beverage companies want a piece of the American market. If they are successful, they will have a better bottom line.
But to succeed in the U.S. food and beverage industry, you need to understand the retail landscape. The market has changed dramatically in the past several years and the past seven months since the beginning of the pandemic.
Amazon has had a major impact on the retail market, just like U.S. Today had on newspaper design decades ago. When U.S. Today premiered with full-color photos throughout the paper, newspapers across the country had to notice. Soon, the standard black and white design was swept away with four-color photos and illustrations. U.S. Today revolutionized the print industry.
Amazon did the same thing for the retail industry. Just as FedEx succeeded with next day delivery, so has Amazon, which has double-down with same day service.
This has forced many companies in the retail industry to do the same.
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market for almost $14 Billion also has impacted how shoppers buy food and beverages.
The other major recent change is the dramatic shift from brick-and-mortar purchases to online shopping.
When Amazon made next- and same-day delivery a new standard and then the pandemic forced millions of shoppers to buy products online, you had new shopping habits. Adyen, the global payments platform for many leading companies, says American consumer shopping habits have changed.
Today, U.S. shoppers value convenience when making purchases.
Next-day and Same-day service is one the biggest shifts in shopper habits that has happened in the past three decades. You can be the last person in town using a horse and buggy, or you can join the early adopters and be a leader.
Now, more than ever, food and beverage companies that want to enter the U.S. market must emphasize online e-commerce sites, including Amazon. With Amazon, companies need to make sure their brands are fully optimized on Amazon.
If you want to sell your products, you also have to find high-quality digital platforms in addition to Amazon.
Buying online does not have a generational bias. Overall, 41 percent of consumers will continue to buy online. Millennials are the most dedicated online shoppers at 58 percent. Thirty-seven percent of Gen X and 30 percent of Baby Boomers will continue to make digital purchases.
Understanding this trend is vital for food and beverage companies planning to introduce new products to American consumers. Obviously, if your brand targets Millennials, then you need to have a robust online presence.
But when you look closely at the numbers, you realize that all brands need to have their products easily accessible online to succeed. As the years go by, the percentage of Gen X and Baby Boomers will continue to increase and so will online shopping.
Another trend that could make selling your products in America more attractive is that 23 percent of Americans who used to travel to other countries to shop but now with the coronavirus have decided against making these trips. Depending on your industry, you could lose a vital revenue stream because tourism has plummeted. A strong online presence and a commitment to sell in the United States may mitigate your revenue loss.
These are the recent trends that all companies need to understand and to address.
But there are other basic business decisions international companies need to tackle.
You need to have a logistics professional for shipping and fulfillment because many American consumers now expect delivery at least within two days. Not only do you need to deliver your brand to consumers fast, but you must have enough samples to send out to social media influencers.
That means if you are selling your products on your American website, you need to have a method to deliver purchases quickly. Your American website also needs to be user-friendly because once an influencer writes about your brand, their followers will start checking you out online.
Your online presence is vital because consumers will research your brand on the internet. You should a savvy public relations strategy to promote your product through influencers, videos, press releases, and earned media to present your best face to American consumers.
Depending on your product, you may need a Food Scientist to ensure your product meets all FDA regulations and requirements.
International companies also must determine how they will operate their business in America. Will they create an American division and hire a sales team, support staff, and marketing professionals. They will need a warehouse for inventory and office space for their employees.
I’ve seen companies try to go it alone. Many fail because all these expenses cut into their profit margin. A safer and less costly approach is partnering with a company like Nutritional Products International, which has a professional staff with the expertise to deal with the FDA, U.S. Customs, and retail outlets. NPI also has a marketing agency that specializes in retail promotion.
International companies also must avoid certain retail mistakes, such as not realizing the size and breadth of the U.S. market, which has more than 300 million people. Whereas some countries have a reputation that you may want to highlight, you need to promote your brand first and foremost in America.
The packaging is also important. What works in one country may not succeed in another. You will want to work with packaging experts to guide you in your decisions.
NPI has the expertise to help companies with all their business decisions. If they need graphic designers with a specialty in packaging, NPI has one. If they need a web developer who understands e-commerce sites, NPI has one. If they need talented and experienced salespeople who have contacts with large and small retail chains, NPI has them. If they need a marketing strategy, NPI can provide them with a customized plan.
Food and beverage brands want to enter the U.S. market because it is huge and is expected to continue to grow at a strong annual rate. Succeeding in American can take a small company and bring it to a new level.
There is room in the United States for innovative food and beverage products. They succeed because consumers are always looking for new products, especially if they are healthier alternatives.
Next, food and beverage brands need to stay abreast of the latest U.S. retail trends, such as the dramatic shift to online shopping because of the pandemic. They also need a top-notch logistical team to ensure products and samples are sent out immediately because American consumers want their purchases at their front doors within two days.
Finally, companies need to address standard business decisions such as hiring an entire U.S. staff or partnering with an American firm that already has the retail and marketing experience these companies need to succeed.
Companies fail, and companies succeed. To come out on top, they need to understand the retail outlook in America.
An experienced retail professional specializing in the U.S. food and beverage industry can be the difference between success and failure.
MORE ON NPI AND ITS FOUNDER
NPI is a privately held company specializing in the retail distribution of nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, functional beverages, and skin-care products. NPI offers a unique, proven approach for product manufacturers worldwide seeking to launch or expand their products’ distribution in the U.S. retail market.
Mitch Gould, the founder of NPI, is a third-generation retail distribution and manufacturing professional. Gould developed the “Evolution of Distribution” platform, which provides domestic and international product manufacturers with the sales, marketing, and product distribution expertise required to succeed in the world’s largest market — the United States. Gould, known as a global marketing guru, also has represented icons from the sports and entertainment worlds such as Steven Seagal, Hulk Hogan, Ronnie Coleman, Roberto Clemente Jr., Chuck Liddell, and Wayne Gretzky.
For more information, visit www.nutricompany.com.