Investing in the Future of Food: RangeMe helps startups become shelf ready & business savvy
RangeMe, an online sourcing platform that connects entrepreneurs and retailers, offers just that through its RangeMe Verified program and its RangeMe Services, which together help food and beverage companies of all sizes identify and shore up shortcomings.
“With RangeMe you get to see kind of a snapshot of the entire industry. So, we have 150,000 suppliers on the platform that range from mom & pop startups all the way to Honest Tea and those types of larger brands,” Brandon Leong, the company’s VP of marketing and growth, told FoodNavigator-USA.
This breadth allows RangeMe to see – and help fill – the knowledge gaps of smaller brands and startups that might think they are ready to go to market, but in fact are not. But, Leong said, RangeMe can help get them there through its RangeMe Verified program, which walks entrepreneurs through retailers’ minimum requirements to get on shelf.
For example, Leong explained, to get on most retailers’ shelves, companies not only need a value-add product that they can scale, they also need insurance, tax IDs and EINs, shelf ready packaging, bar codes, product images on a white background, and much more which isn’t always obvious. But, he added, if companies check all these boxes before they approach a retailer they will be “a step ahead of 70% to 80% of suppliers out there.”
RangeMe Services connects suppliers to problem-solvers
Once companies identify their shortcomings, they need to find solutions – a process that can send some entrepreneurs “out into the ether of Google” to try to find solutions only to become lost or discouraged and never come back, Leong warns.
He adds, RangeMe Services can save companies from this fate by quickly connecting them to service providers for insurance, design, packaging, photography or labeling – each of which is critical for long term success.
“What we wanted to do is create a dynamic that, if we are asking a question and you need this to get onto a retailer’s shelves, why not have it be accessible to you” in a searchable way on the platform, Leong said.
He added that each service provider listed on RangeMe’s site has direct expertise and experience with CPG companies in the food and beverage industry, and many offer tailored solutions that are category and product specific.
As RangeMe continues to add categories to its services platform, it also is exploring ways to harness the data it collects from the 150,000 suppliers on its website to spot trends earlier that retailers and entrepreneurs can then leverage to better market their products.
“What RangeMe has that is very unique is that we know what buyers are looking for six months to a year before it hits shelf because we are watching the trends happen as they get sourced, not as they hit,” Leong said.
This means suppliers can mine the data to better identify which claims to use and which certifications to obtain to help them boost their sales potential, he said, adding: “If you had that type of information earlier on, it is a lot easier to inform your business and some of the things on the roadmap you are going to in the future.”