- RangeMe, an online database for emerging brands, has introduced a new “verified” designation that helps retailers identify business-ready products, according to The Shelby Report.
- The verification reflects numerous safeguards and product attributes that grocers value, according to RangeMe, including nutrition labels, insurance, barcodes and high-quality product images. According to the company, being verified can increase a product’s visibility by up to seven times.
- “In order to keep up with consumer demand and stay competitive in our industry’s fastest moving and most innovative category, we need the ability to onboard on-trend brands quickly and efficiently,” Sarah Groves, buyer for natural and organic foods at Southeastern Grocers, said in a company release.
RangeMe, which hails from Australia and launched in the U.S. back in 2015, has steadily added grocery retailers to its client list, including Whole Foods, Ahold USA and Southeastern Grocers. This largely reflects the popularity of local and emerging brands with consumers, and retailers’ need to efficiently source these products.
With its new “verified” program, RangeMe hopes to provide a value-add for both suppliers and retailers. For manufacturers, it’s a way to stand out from the thousands of other products in the company’s database. For grocers, it’s a way to identify those suppliers that have been vetted by RangeMe and deemed as ready — or at least close to ready — for primetime.
Consumers have gradually turned away from mainstream brands, including many canned, frozen and otherwise processed foods. Between 2011 and 2015, according to IRI data, large companies have dropped more than $18 billion in sales.
In place of these legacy brands, shoppers are swapping in local and niche products, including those seen as having unique attributes and taste profiles. For retailers — particularly conventional ones — transitioning their product assortment from mainstream brands to include more of these upstarts has been difficult, in part because their systems are built to find and source from a select group of distributors, rather than from many small companies.
In addition to RangeMe’s matchmaker service, retailers, wholesalers and suppliers are taking steps to better connect stores with promising brands. Distributors like Cherry Capital Foods specialize in aggregating local items for grocers. Recently, Kroger launched its own online portal where small product makers can apply for a spot on store shelves.