Alliance experts searched for food distributors in the US for Moo Chews: delicious healthy snacks for kids, made from milk from New Zealand. In this blog, you read about our findings.
Moo Chews: healthy snacks for kids
Moo Chews belongs to a group of companies in New Zealand that develops and manufactures innovative healthy food products made of natural pure sources from the mountains of the southern island. The brand Moo Chews was launched in the New Zealand market in mid-November 2019 and has experienced rapid growth due to effective branding/marketing, a great tasting product and online support.
In the US, special healthy food is risen to a high level. This resulted in the situation that there are distribution channels and retailers only specialized on this. Where healthy snacks are now mainly fruit bars and dried fruit, there are not really alternatives that focus on children and are made from a milk source. In this, Moo Chews is something new.
The new millennium has shown a much more diverse product landscape, compared to the previous decades. The reason behind this, is that same-minded people can easily find, meet and support each other online, creating a demand of matching niche products: organic, non-GMO, vegan, no artificial colors, etc., and combinations of these. Many of these modern consumers require the transparency of what is in the product, what not, and how it is made. Where this created opportunities for smaller companies to rise, also big companies came up with specialized distribution networks, online platforms and offline retails stores, that can handle the large amounts of SKU’s. In these trends, the US is perhaps the most advanced in the world.
Already since the 1930’s, snacks are more and more replacing normal meals. With the above mentioned trends of healthier lifestyles, the industries and consumers also looked for healthier snack alternatives. Healthy snacks are now mainly fruit bars and dried fruit, and there are not really alternatives that focus on children and we didn’t see much alternatives with milk as prime ingredient. In this, Moo Chews is something new and matching with the trends. Professionals in the market told us, that Moo Chews can therefore bring good opportunities, although it still needs to be marketed properly.
Snack or food supplements
The way Moo Chews is presented, in glass bottles, makes people think that it is a category of food supplements. E.g., some asked how many Moo Chews a child is required to eat per day. Promoting Moo Chews in the sachets, will make it easier to give the snack image.
The situation of the 2020 pandemic, didn’t change the market situation as mentioned above. Where offices are often closed, it is harder to get through the secretary level. But, when speaking to the right person, they see the opportunities.
The first option of selling products to the US, is to agree with “importers, wholesale distributors”, who are companies of middle size. These companies will buy and import your products themselves, and organize everything that comes after this. You will not need to invest that much (in time and money), but you will have little control. Someone should manage the distributors, and that is hard to do from New Zealand.
The second option is to work with very large distributors, who cover the whole US. These companies have a high level of development and connect you directly with all the mayor retailers and other sales channels. These distributors are only effective for you, if you already have sales volumes. So, your marketing should be in place and you should have agreed with retailers. In the US there are two large distributors specialized in natural and healthy food: KeHE and UNFI.
When you working with large distributors and retailers, it’s highly recommended that you hire a good food brokerage. They will “knock on the doors” of the retailers and the sales peoples in the distributors, so they will put priority on your product. You can also develop your marketing strategy with them. Also for the middle sized wholesale distributors, it’s good to work with a broker who will get your products prioritized.
Alliance experts recommended and connected Moo Chews to importers, wholesale distributors, the large distributors and a few brokers.
Margins and prices
When defining the retail prices for Moo Chews, one should look at different stages of the value chain, the costs and the margins of the companies involved. On the other hand, Moo Chews should be sold at a similar price level as other healthy snacks in the mid-high segment. At the moment of writing this text, this analysis still needs to be done.