re:COGs Webinar #10 re:CAST: From Clicks to Bricks: Scaling DTC Food Brands to Retail Success

In our latest re:COGs webinar, we brought together two industry experts to share their insights on how rising natural food brands can successfully transition from direct-to-consumer (DTC) to the competitive world of brick-and-mortar retail. Chris Carter, Co-Founder & CEO of Porter Road, and Cody Berenson, Head of Services at Siddhi Capital, joined us for an engaging discussion on overcoming the unique challenges faced by emerging food brands looking to expand their reach.

Navigating the Complexities of Retail Entry

One of the key topics addressed was the steep barriers to entry that often impede DTC brands from breaking into retail. Slotting fees, pricing strategies, and margin requirements were identified as common hurdles that brands must navigate to secure coveted shelf space. Our panelists emphasized the importance of achieving the right price points and margins to gain acceptance from retailers.

Chris shared Porter Road’s journey from a local butcher shop to a thriving omnichannel brand. By focusing on sourcing high-quality, local meat and building strong relationships with farmers, they were able to differentiate themselves and gain a loyal customer base. This authentic story and emotional connection with consumers have been a key driver of their success in both DTC and retail channels.

Balancing COGs, Quality, and Profitability

As consumer demand for healthier ingredients grows and food regulations evolve, the cost of goods sold (COGs) becomes an increasingly critical factor for brands to manage. Reformulation and premium ingredients can put pressure on pricing and profitability. Our experts discussed strategies for reducing COGs without compromising on quality, such as leveraging inventory success platforms to source cost-effective solutions and access flexible financing options.

Cody highlighted the importance of understanding unit economics and having a clear picture of financials across different channels. He advised brands to surround themselves with experienced team members who can navigate the complexities of retail partnerships, from planograms to promotional planning. Cash flow management is also crucial, as the order-to-cash cycle can be significantly longer in retail compared to DTC.

Scaling Sustainably for Long-Term Success

While the allure of rapid expansion into major retailers can be tempting, our panelists cautioned against growing too quickly without the necessary infrastructure and capital in place. Chris emphasized the importance of sustainable growth, taking a calculated approach to scale at a pace that aligns with the brand’s capabilities and resources.

Cody echoed this sentiment, noting that while Siddhi Capital is actively deploying growth equity investments, they are selective in partnering with brands that demonstrate strong fundamentals and significant growth potential. Brands must be prepared to manage the financial demands of marketing, merchandising, and slotting fees as they enter and expand in retail.

LISTEN IN for an engaging and informative session that promises not only to illuminate the path to retail success but also to inspire innovation and collaboration in the natural food industry.

Key Takeaways for Rising Food Brands

  • Differentiate your brand through authentic storytelling and emotional connection with consumers
  • Focus on achieving the right price points and margins for retail acceptance
  • Manage COGs strategically, balancing quality and profitability
  • Build a team with retail expertise to navigate partnerships and requirements
  • Scale sustainably, aligning growth with infrastructure and capital resources

By implementing these strategies and leveraging the insights shared by our expert panelists, rising natural food brands can successfully transition from DTC to retail, overcoming barriers to entry and thriving in the competitive landscape.

For more in-depth insights, you can listen to other webinars on-demand as well as engaging interviews with trailblazing business leaders on the re:COGs Podcast series. 

Related:  Learn more about the impact of evolving food regulations on manufacturing and COGs with this comprehensive article on food safety, “The Impact of California’s Food Additive Ban on Food Manufacturing and COGs”
Cody Berenson of Siddhi Capital | re:COGs Podcast Episode #8
Pasture to Plate with Porter Road | re:COGs Podcast Episode #34


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