Making products accessible to as many people as possible is important, especially for a start up food company. Competition from established manufacturers can squelch an independent company before it has a chance to succeed. Food products also have to compete with large chain store bargain brands for shelf space. If a product does not fly off the shelves, it will not remain on the shelves. Many an independent company has tried and failed to make a niche in the market. Something to keep in mind is that grocery stores are not the only avenue in which to gain exposure, and drum up business.
Food service companies provide food items to millions of people in a variety of venues. School cafeterias, catering companies, concession stands, airlines, and street vendors are a huge resource for expanding a customer base. Large food service companies supply many venues with products, so deals with one or two of those can mean a lot of business for products. That strategy has worked well for one independent food company in particular. The CEO of Hampton Creek on Fortune indicated that marketing Just Cookies, for example, to a large food service company instantly made the product available to millions of people. Just Cookies are no longer available to the retail market, by the exposure of the brand has contributed to the success of the company.
Another avenue is e-Commerce. Selling products directly from the company website makes all products available to customers everywhere. People will not have to wait until their local Walmart or Target stocks the plant-based healthy alternative products on shelves. They could get their favorite flavors directly online. It is also a way to test future products before they hit store shelves. The company is not at that point yet, but plans to be by the end of this year. Products are affordable, so making them available to more people will help expand the customer base. Anticipation is already high for new products, such as cakes and brownie mixes, pancake mix, and additional flavors of Just Cookie Dough. Independent companies can compete on a large market, they just need to be creative and innovative in their approaches.