Michigan State University Extension Resources for Local Food Entrepreneurs

Community, Local and Regional Food Systems May 02, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

By Kendra Wills, Michigan State University Extension Community Food Systems Educator

This is a collection of six articles targeted at local food entrepreneurs. These articles, written by Michigan State University Extension educators and Michigan State University Product Center business counselors, focus on some of the frequently asked questions of local food business owners interested in expanding their markets. Topics covered in this series of articles include: wholesale sales, getting your product in the grocery store, and marketing your food product in the grocery store. These articles offer some practical advice for food entrepreneurs on how to tap traditional and emerging markets. Links to valuable resources for local food businesses in all states, such as MarketMaker and online webinar training sessions in 2014 are also provided.

 

Wholesaling for the Food Service Market

Author: Diane Smith, Michigan State University Extension

For some food producers, selling to the food service industry might be a better fit than selling to grocery stores. Food service industries include: schools, colleges, hospitals, company employee cafeterias, prisons, and non-profit organizations. This article gives business owners an idea of things to consider when determining if wholesale sales are worth pursuing.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/wholesaling_for_the_food_service_market

 

Getting Your Product in the Grocery Store

Author: Diane Smith, Michigan State University Extension

There are some common misperceptions about getting products on grocery store shelves. This article gives practical advice for food business owners about the marketing tools and packaging needed to enter this market.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/getting_your_food_product_in_the_grocery_store

 

Marketing Your Food Product in the Grocery Store

Author: Diane Smith, Michigan State University Extension

Once your product is placed in grocery store shelves the work to promote your product is not over. If your product doesn’t sell, you won’t get any more orders. This article provides food business owners with ideas to promote your product and how to make sure your product display is the best it can be.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/marketing_your_food_product_in_the_grocery_store

 

Marketing to Green Consumers

Author: Diane Smith, Michigan State University Extension

Consumers are becoming more and more environmentally conscious according to national survey results. These surveys indicate that made with “recycled” or “recyclable” materials are the most trusted labels over “sustainable,” “carbon neutral,” or “socially responsible.” Click here to read the full article and find a reference to the national survey data.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/marketing_to_green_consumers

 

How to Register Your Business on MarketMaker

Author: Tom Kalchik, Michigan State University Extension

MarketMaker is the largest online local food database in the United States. It was created by the University of Illinois and is now operated by a non-profit organization in partnership with the University of Illinois. This national web site provides a no cost way to connect food producers and buyers. Sysco and U.S. Foods are using this system to source products. The article at the link below provides an overview of the site and basic directions for creating a profile.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/how_to_register_your_farm_on_marketmaker

 

Online Programs for Beginning Farmers (and Local Food Producers)

Author: Jim Isleib, Michigan State University Extension

From January – April 2014, Michigan State University Extension educators specializing in agriculture and community food systems will be offering a series of webinars to help beginning farmers and local food producers. Topics in this series, which is open to all, include: selling to schools and hospitals, selling at farmers markets, getting started with hops, getting started with organic field crops, and growing in hoophouses. Each webinar costs $10.00 and each webinar must be registered for separately.

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/msu_extension_offers_online_programs_for_beginning_farmers

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.