One way distributors can increase foodservice disposable sales is to bundle them with existing product lines that pertain to sanitation and cleaning in the kitchen, such as chemical cleaners, mops and sponges.

“With us being in the kitchen, it became natural for us to do the kitchen sanitation, extend that to our janitorial bundle and then extend that into other items that we can sell in the kitchen,” says Ryan Banks, vice president of sales and marketing at Brady Industries. “What we call foodservice in the kitchen is fairly broad.” 

If bundling opportunities between jan/san and foodservice disposables exist, they typically present themselves through relationships with upper management rather than separately with foodservice and facility managers, but it is up to the sales representative to be intuitive, says Banks.

“If a good relationship exists with upper management, they will explore opportunities,” he says. “The customer may have a good relationship with a multiple distributors, meaning a primary foodservice distributor and a primary janitorial distributor, and at the management level, they don’t have a problem with the (departments) looking at each other’s” line of products.

Bundling becomes easier if jan/san distributors know which products their potential customers need. Packaging products, such as clamshells, paperboard cartons and other containers, will have the biggest market growth, according to The Freedonia Group. Sustainable alternatives like molded pulp containers will especially show value gains.

Educational institutions are definitely interested in biodegradable, sustainable foodservice disposable products. If a distributor does not have access to those types of products, its success in penetrating this market will be limited, says MacDermott.
“Sustainability has permeated into the foodservice disposable category where people are looking at bringing their usage down, finding ways to eliminate the waste stream, and bringing in compostable products and products that can be recycled,” says Nolan. 

Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer in Greenfield, Wisconsin.

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Jan/san Distributors Can Break In To New Market Through Existing Customers