We'd like to help you (and thousands of other consumers) by making our products more readily available in stores.
The problem is that we have little influence on what retail stores decide to put on their shelves. Generally once a year we make a presentation to the Store Buyer – introducing new and existing products. They make choices at that time as to what products go on their shelves. How they make those decisions is up to them. Most of our products are available throughout North America in distribution warehouses and therefore readily available to any retailer. So it is not a question of whether we have sufficient supplies – it is only whether retail store chains decide to list our products.
I am sure many of you have seen some of your favorite products discontinued in the past year or two – not only ours but other brands as well. The main reason for this is that the “gluten free” market no longer grows at 10% or more per year as many consumers who were not Celiac “fell of this wagon” and perhaps moved to keto or paleo offerings. Shelf space committed to gluten free declined with the resulting loss of selection.
I can say that having consumers request Kinnikinnick items may be influential in what products store buyers decide to list and we certainly encourage anyone to talk to their store managers. Sometimes that enters into the choice of products that they make.
Another problem is that because there's only an annual review for new products, we may have to wait until the next review cycle–which could be as long as 10 or 11 months in the future. That's a major frustration for us as well as for people looking for new and innovative products.
We also face another problem called ”scooping”. This showed up particularly in the past 14 months. Consumers would find their favorite gluten free (or free from) foods in the store and, recognizing that the shelves were often empty, would purchase more than their normal amounts. Stores had a difficult time managing this situation.
Our response to the difficulties in getting products listed with retailers and ensuring that our customers can readily continue to have a reliable supply is as follows:
- We operate a Direct Home Delivery program (free delivery for orders over $50) as a way to make all our products – both frozen and non-frozen – available to anyone. For example, three new KinniTOOS sandwich cookie varieties launched in August 2021. They're available as an online exclusive until stores pick them up. It may take months to show up in retail stores. All our new products will be launched online first. We've been running this program for 20 years to introduce new products and to supply people who may have limited access to quality gluten free food through their local stores.
- All new non-perishable products are also available on Amazon in bulk packs. That's over 25 gluten free (and mainly FREE FROM) products.
- A few specialty food websites that also offer Kinnikinnick products as an option.
So ensuring that Kinnikinnick Foods are available across the USA and Canada is a complicated exercise. We work with our retail partners for listings, provide a Direct Home Delivery Program and supply products through Amazon. Hopefully that puts the widest range of bakery products available to all people that have special dietary requirements.
Let me know if you have any other way to get our products to those who need them.
Jerry Bigam, President and CEO.