I apologize if this has already been asked, but every time I search on the the forum I end up with errors.
Anyway, does anyone do wholesale for their cookies? How do you figure out pricing? What about packaging? Any other info I should be aware of? I appreciate ANY help!!
Cookies are my nemesis...I love to eat them but everytime I have made them from scratch, they come out too dry or too bland. I would be interested in buying wholesale eventually.
Sorry they have been a problem.
Does anyone have experience in selling wholesale?
What market are you looking for... local or national/worldwide?
For now, national.
Then you need to have an FDA certified kitchen. Without it, it is a violation of federal law with very steep penalties. Your state Dept of Ag will have the application. It basically requires that you have all of the equipment, surfaces, and mechanicals of a restaurant, register with the Bioterrorism Act, FDA issued labels, a recall protocal, and logs of all activity and ingredients.
People, usually the same ones, will respond that I should mind my own business, that nobody cares, and that it wasn't asked to begin with. But since 9/11, the FDA has been serious about the certification. If you make someone sick, don't ship properly, or get caught, it's not your local HD at your door with a warning, it's the feds.
I did not know until I asked the question, and I pass it along when I see it come up. If you already have a completely separate commercial kitchen in an area with strict codes, you may need to do very little to pass inspection. The rest is paperwork that must be kept according to their guidelines for the length specified. This is where the fines add up.
As far as the market, research it online. There are many companies that mail order cookie. Study the structure of each one. Study the trends and keep watching the market for change. There are two basic marketing structures. Either you want to appeal to a national audience for sales, which will require an e-commerce website designed by a professional to compete on the national market, or you will appeal to the local market who may already know you, but may want to send to people in other states. And if you are looking at national sales, your branding will be of the utmost importance... from your logo, site, packaging, and product. And consider the cost of a site that will be able to make it anywhere near the first few pages of a national search.
I built my kitchen to FDA code, but it was close to my local code. Like you, I wanted to be able to ship products. If you already have a kitchen that will pass, testing the waters will be a minimum cash investment, but it will take time. Each recipe must be submitted, analyzed, and a custom label with ingredients, nutritional value, and weight will be issued by the FDA. The recall protocol is actually something all food businesses should have in place.
When looking at the wholesale market it's critical to find an under-served product niche and/or provide a product with a clear competitive advantage over what's already on the market. Depending on the retailer you could be dealing with markups up to 50%, so you also need to be aware of your costs and the desired retail price to make sure the deal makes sense.
Which types of retailers are you looking at selling through?
Thanks or the info. I did not know I would have to go thru FDA. Yikes! Does it sounds scarier than it really is?
If you already have the expensive things, like drains in the floor, a grease trap, proper wiring, correct surfaces, self-closing doors, etc., then you are close. The rest is just altering you paperwork to include their detailed daily log sheet, and to log where you got your ingredients for which batches for the recall protocol. You probably only have a few recipes, so the recipe part is painless. Then you schedule an inspection. I does have to be a totally separate kitchen, dedicated to commercial use. I would think that most rental kitchens and restaurants would pass the inspection also. This is also where you get information for proper shipping for food safety. Usually when I'm told to mind my own business, the discussion has turned to how to ship to keep the items from spoiling. They mention the $25.00 dry ice set-ups and are asking about a cheaper alternative. This is exactly why the FDA certification is a requirement for shipping. They don't realize that shipping requirements are not up to them.
I know it seems like alot, but it really is not that difficult, and in my state, they are very helpful.