It has been a little over three years that our first U.S.-made heirloom products launched, joining a selection of delicious regional foods from Italy. Much has happened since then. Today, our product line is focused on rare American heirloom fruits and veggies with a soft spot for native varieties. Our logo and packaging design have changed to reflect the shift from “old world” to “new world” – but the mission is the same: introducing consumers to pure heirloom flavors and great tasting food with a story. We have been picked up by Whole Foods Market for national distribution – and they have been great mentors and fantastic partners. The list of regional retail chains and independent grocery stores carrying our products is also steadily growing. I am very excited about our journey and the opportunities ahead of us right now. And I am glad to have you by our side.
In this blog series “The Memo,” I invite you to follow our journey and celebrate our successes with us – and do not be surprised if I also share our struggles as a small, sustainability focused food business fighting the good fight in this broken food industry of ours. I believe in transparency. You should know what is in your food, where it is from – and what it takes to make it.
Over the last months I have sensed that the conversations I am having with our customers at farmers markets and in stores are shifting. With our national presence at Whole Foods Market, we seem to have become a “big” company in the eyes of many. I have heard customers worrying about our ingredient standards. Others are excited by our success, but I also had one customer tell me that now we are too big to qualify for her support of small & sustainable food businesses. All of these questions and worries I hope to address over the next weeks, every Thursday, in “The Memo”.
Because what is really important to me is that you, our valued customers, continue to support us and our mission. Because now is when we need you most.
No, we are not big. No, our money worries have not gone away. If anything, they have become bigger. We will get into the details of financing in a later post, but just to give you an idea: Whole Foods has 340 stores nationwide. All you need to fill a starting order are six jars per store. That is 2,040 jars total. That is all it takes to initially get onto every shelf in the country. In cities and regions where no one has ever heard of us. So we have to invest in consumer marketing to spread the word and get our tasty heirlooms in as many mouths as possible. And continue to open more retail accounts, get into other stores in the same regions…. If you ask an industry expert how much it takes to launch a national food brand, the answer they all will give you is “One million dollars.”
No, we did not invest $1 million dollars. I’d wish we had that much, because that would give us the opportunity to spread the heirloom love with a bang and to show all the skeptics out there that real & sustainable food is not a fad. It’s a movement driven by consumers who are fed up with the food choices the main players in this industry offer. And it is here to stay.
We are proud to be part of this movement, because we believe that consumers care. Because we have seen eyes light up upon tasting our food. Because we have had incredible conversations about heritage apples, foraging, and home canning in the aisles of grocery stores. We are excited to continue down this road together with all of you and hope that this website will provide the space for a vivid exchange.
Thank you for your support
At Scrumptious Pantry we preserve the exciting flavors of rare heirloom fruit and vegetables and precious heirloom seeds. Delicious varieties put up in gourmet condiments and artisan preserves for you to enjoy at home! Because Heirloom is much bigger than just Heirloom tomatoes.