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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

Food Group Helps Vendors Learn to Market Products

What should you look for in a broker if you own a food company and want your products on store shelves? This was the topic of the discussion at the latest meeting of the L.A. Food Group, held at Glendale-based hors d’oeuvre maker the Perfect Bite. Since 2003, the L.A. Food Group has held meetings across the Los Angeles area to help food industry insiders gather tips on how to weather the market. “It’s been extremely useful. It’s a great benefit for small companies to share tips on how to enter the market,” said Michel Algazi, co-founder of the group and owner of consulting firm the Radical Clarity Group. Every other month, the group meets in a different location to allow the 60 companies that belong to it ample opportunity to participate. Many of the companies are small, with a workforce of between one and seven people. Member companies hail from the San Gabriel Valley to the Santa Clarita Valley to Santa Monica. At the Nov. 20 meeting of the group, guest speaker Amanda Grillo, a broker with Corona-based firm Diminski, Van Valkenburg & Associates, advised participants from companies such as Omega Muffins in Thousand Oaks, Yummy Earth in Studio City and Granola Gourmet in Santa Clarita on how not to err in picking a broker. For one, according to Grillo, brokers should have a good reputation with buyers. In addition, the broker should be someone who’s based in the region and specializes in the market. Also up for consideration is “Do you like the person? Are you comfortable with them? Are they being honest with you?” Grillo asked. “This is the person who’s going to represent you. Do they have a go get ’em attitude?” <!– Co-founders: Kahane and Algazi. –> Co-founders: Kahane and Algazi. But before choosing a broker, food entrepreneurs need to examine if they’re ready for one. Companies ready to make the move will have a pricing structure, marketing tools and a target market selected. Moreover, such entrepreneurs will be able to identify their competition and understand margin expectations. Grillo also discussed manufacturers, emphasizing that they need to be able to represent their brands well. They should be “prepared and well-spoken and know how to present (themselves) to the buyer,” Grillo said. She also emphasized the importance of women-owned and minority-owned businesses obtaining official certification to save money. “It will save you thousands of dollars at the local retailers,” she said. The attention paid to financial matters at L.A. Food Group meetings is an area in which the organization has excelled, according to co-founder Adriana Kahane of organic juice company Dream Foods International. Kahane likes to say that she and Algazi, who launched the group together after being introduced by a mutual friend, didn’t start the organization to make money but to help entrepreneurs save money. Algazi estimates that the tips members have received have saved them from making thousand-dollar errors. Added Kahane, “We’ve seen companies grow into million dollar companies and come back as mentors.”

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