Market Development

Market development is the process of first identifying the people you think will want to purchase the products you grow or make and second, identifying the places you think you will be able to reach these people.

There are three main ways for you to reach potential customers:

  1. Farm-to-consumer direct marketing
  2. Selling to foodservice
  3. Selling to retail

Here are some details for each of these.

1. Farm-to-consumer direct marketing

Consumer demand for direct marketing products has gained popularity over the years. Consumers value fresh quality products along with the opportunity to learn where their food comes from. Buying directly from farmers or picking their own food is also an opportunity for recreation and learning in a rural setting.  

There are basic regulations for farms when direct marketing agricultural products and services. It is the responsibility of the producer and/or processor to ensure their products, practices and facilities meet legislative requirements. 

Manitoba Agriculture's guide to Direct Marketing Your Food Product provides guidance on which foods you produce or process can be sold directly to consumers.

There are many options of direct marketing available to producers:

  • Farmers' Market is a short-term operation for the sale of prepared food products under the direction of a designated operator. It also covers other types of temporary food markets such as flea markets, craft sales, bake sales and other such establishments that take place at specified times and locations to provide vendors an opportunity to sell specific products directly to the public. The Manitoba Farmers' Market Guidelines lists what can be sold at these markets.
  • Roadside stands for direct marketing whole fruits and vegetables.
  • U-pick operations allow for fruit or vegetables to be picked by consumers on their farms.
  • Community supported agriculture (CSA) allows for consumers to prepay for a share of product to be delivered throughout the season.
  • Agritourism involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch.
  • E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These business transactions occur either as business-to-business, business-to-consumer.
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The latest edition of Manitoba's Local Produce Guide lists farmers' markets, roadside stands, U-pick operations, and community supported agriculture vendors.

2. Selling to foodservice

Foodservice is an umbrella term that refers to places where people purchase food for immediate consumption. This may include restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, outlets in a food court in a mall, food trucks, hotdog/hamburger carts, or ready-to-eat snacks or meals at a convenience store. It can also include ready-to-eat foods in a grocery store, which are typically found in a store's deli department. Each will have their own requirements as to what they are interested in purchasing from you. Chefs often look to create a local cuisine menu to market directly to consumers.

There is potential opportunity to sell the foods and ingredients you produce as well as processed foods to foodservice operators and chefs.

Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables can be sold to foodservice directly by producers. No permit is required as long as the fruits and vegetables are not processed or cut.

All other foods such as poultry, eggs, meat and meat products, dairy, and honey require you to obtain a permit from Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living or Manitoba Agriculture for you to sell to foodservice.

Processed foods such as baked goods, jams and jellies, packaged fruit or vegetables, or cut fruit or vegetables must be made in a licensed commercial kitchen. If you don't have your own commercial kitchen that can be licensed, there are commercial community kitchens available for rent.

All foods except fruits and vegetables sold to foodservice must be appropriately packaged and labelled. One advantage to selling to foodservice is that you can package your product in bulk and the package and label are purely functional and therefore cheaper. This is in contrast to selling a product to retail where the package and label must be enticing to consumers, which typically means there is more investment to be made in designing and procuring packaging and labelling for retail.

For further details about selling to foodservice, contact The Food and Agri-Product Processing Branch to assist you with navigating these requirements. 

3. Selling to retail

Retail is somewhere consumers purchase foods for later consumption. Potential retail opportunities for the foods and ingredients you produce include grocery stores and specialty food stores. Processed foods can be sold to grocery stores, specialty food stores and potentially even gift stores.

Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables can be sold to retail directly by producers. No permit is required as long as the fruits and vegetables are not processed or cut.

All other foods such as poultry, eggs, meat and meat products, dairy, and honey require you to obtain a permit from Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living or Manitoba Agriculture for you to sell to retail. 

Processed foods such as baked goods, jams and jellies, packaged fruit or vegetables, or cut fruit or vegetables must be made in a licensed commercial kitchen. If you don't have your own commercial kitchen that can be licensed, there are commercial community kitchens available for rent.  

All foods except fruits and vegetables sold to retail must be appropriately packaged and labelled. 

When preparing a product for retail sale to consumers, there is typically more effort and potentially more investment involved with designing and producing an attractive label that will entice consumers to notice your product on a crowded grocery shelf. You will also want a professional-quality container that is appropriate to the product you are wanting to sell. There are other requirements associated with selling to retail that must be considered.

For further details about selling to retail, contact The Food and Agri-Product Processing Branch to assist you with navigating these requirements. 

 


 

Resources

 

Annual Events and Conferences

Open Farm Day is held the third week in September in Manitoba and is an opportunity for producers to open their farm gates to the public.   This is also an opportunity for you to sell products you've produced or proceesed farmgate-to-consumer. To learn more about the farms participating in your area and around the province view the webpage www.openfarmday.ca.  Please check Manitoba Agriculture Food and Agri-Food Processing's What's New section for any updates. 

Direct Farm Marketing Conference is an educational event held annually for producers.  Please check Manitoba Agriculture Food and Agri-Food Processing's What's New section for any updates.  

 

Upcoming Workshops   

Please check Manitoba Agriculture Food and Agri-Food Processing's Upcoming Events section for any food related workshops.

Food safety sessions are also offered.