Supermarket myths exploded

A Taste of Sussex is holding a training day to help local food and drink producers understand what supermarket buyers are looking for.

The aim of the day is to explode some of the myths surrounding working with supermarkets and to highlight the kind of pressures their buyers are under. Funding for the training day has been provided by the South East England Development Agency and the South East Food Group Partnership.

The key speaker is Rebecca Macfadyen of Macfadyen Consulting. She has worked with supermarkets for over 12 years, and her company prides itself on working with small food and drink producers and helping them liaise successfully with supermarkets.

Topics covered in the workshop include;

* Market overview - the winners and losers

* How a Buyer thinks - what pressures they are under internally, what levers they need to pull and how they measure success from their end

* The Supermarket's 4P's - product, price, promotion and placement

* Relationship management - how to communicate with supermarket buyers and plan for the future.

By the end of the day, all attendees will have developed a personal action plan to help them develop and maintain a good relationship with a supermarket buyer.

"Most of the multiples are now implementing a 'local sourcing policy' and can be valuable customers for smaller producers," explained Hilary Knight, co-ordinator of A Taste of Sussex. "However, it is a very different relationship to that a producer would have with a local farm shop. Learning how to 'speak supermarket' is vital to avoid misunderstandings and maintain a presence on the shelves once listed. Buyers are under considerable pressure to meet internal targets and need to be kept informed about any product changes or delays."

The training event will be held at the Sussex Enterprise offices, Station Road, Burgess Hill. It will start at 9.30am ending at 4.30pm with lunch provided. The event costs £70 for members and £120 for non members. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.