It’s been quite a year at Bay Food Brokerage! We’ve expanded our team, added valuable tools to our sales arsenal and have been celebrating our 30th anniversary. And, of course, as a top retail food broker in the Southeast, we’ve remained committed to our food manufacturer clients and our retail partners.
Here are a few of our biggest company highlights from 2023.
Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary
April 1, 2023, marked the official 30th anniversary of Bay Food Brokerage. Since then, we’ve celebrated this exciting milestone in a number of ways.
We kicked off our 30th anniversary year on the high seas with a Sales Incentive Trip. Members of our team took a Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.
We enjoyed a few days of fun in the sun with our fellow teammates. They dedicate so much time and energy to Bay Food and our clients, so this trip was well-deserved.
Also, we’ve hosted group activities for our team each month. Some of these have been fun gatherings for our staff, such as a ladies’ night out at a make-your-own-candle shop and an in-office charcuterie board challenge. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that, as a food broker, our company usually involves food in our activities!
Blasts from the Past
We’ve taken several heart-felt walks down memory lane with Bay Food leadership, exploring our company’s high points as a leading retail food broker serving the Southeast. This includes featuring our Founder, President and CEO Cammie Chatterton in a five-part video series. In “Cammie’s Most Memorable Bay Food Moments,” she talked about starting the company, taking full ownership, her son Chris joining, their expansion and more.
We also featured Executive Vice President Chris Chatterton in what has been a very popular Q-and-A-style blog post. In it, the now 36-year-old shared what it was like to grow up alongside the company his mother started 30 years ago.
“Bay Food Brokerage is the result of so many people’s contributions,” said Cammie. “We can’t stress enough the appreciation we feel for everything and everyone who has helped get our company to this milestone.”
We’ll continue the celebrations and expressing our thanks to our team, clients and community until March 31, 2024. If you’re not following us on social media already, we hope you will. Watch LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and our blog for more news, updates and photos of our last few months of anniversary activities.
Growing Our Retail Team
Many retail food brokerage companies use part-time staff or day-laborers to execute their store-level sales and marketing services. But at Bay Food Brokerage, we are proud to have retail representatives who are full-time, salaried sales employees. This is an aspect of our company that sets us apart from most other retail food brokers, and many clients have said this was an important factor in selecting us.
Because our retail reps are full-time, salaried staff, they’re more motivated to excel in their careers and are highly committed to our clients’ success. This consistency also means they have a regular presence at the stores they cover and can build and maintain productive relationships with store managers on behalf of our food manufacturer clients.
In 2023, we grew our already stellar retail team by 20% over 2022 staffing levels. We are also thrilled to be preparing to expand into Kentucky, as Publix is opening its first Kentucky location this January. We’re so excited to support our manufacturers who serve Publix as the retailer grows next year, and as we grow right along with them!
We also hosted yet another successful – and fun! – annual company meeting, food show and celebration. This event gathers all of our retail representatives and food manufacturer clients to meet and sample products, helping our in-store sales and marketing team be even more effective in the field. This annual event always helps our team and our manufacturers to build and celebrate close-knit relationships that contributes to everyone’s success.
In addition to investing in our human resources this year, we also invested in our technology.
We have long leveraged technology and data to maximize efficiency and profits for clients. This includes using:
- RW3/Wiser, which enables our retail reps to visit stores more frequently and to provide clients with timely reports and updates. It also easily allows us to confirm distribution, answer survey questions, take real-time photos for clients and deliver reports.
- SPINS, a third-party company that provides IRI data and analytics for our clients. This data offers insight into how clients’ products are performing compared to competitors, up-and-coming categories and more.
- Management Computer Systems (MCS), which helps increase efficiencies as a food brokerand enables us to can carry some of the administrative load for our clients.
This year, we also invested in a data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) platform that is instrumental in telling our team what the data we access is actually saying. Data sets can be difficult to read. So, while it’s great to have data, it’s critical that we, as a food broker, (and our clients) are also able to analyze, interpret, parcel and present that data in meaningful ways.
Our software tool can quickly and easily help us determine why a retailer should carry a particular product. It also maximizes our ability to tell that story in sales meetings, supported by hard data. It’s a game-changing and necessary approach to the evolving retail food market, and we’re proud to offer these benefits to our clients.
This year, we also completed the launch of a new company website that better reflects our company culture and personality. Our Core Values are Client Satisfaction, Hard Work, Family and Giving Back, and we think our new site highlights those well.
Gone are stock photos of strangers, and in their place are pictures of our valued team members. In addition, website visitors can get a better feel for who we are, what we do and what sets us apart as a retail food broker serving the Southeast.
Wrapping up 2023
This past year has been an extraordinary journey for us at Bay Food Brokerage. Thanks to the unwavering trust and collaboration of our manufacturers and retail partners, we have achieved remarkable milestones and growth.
Looking ahead to 2024, we are excited about the opportunities and challenges it brings. We remain committed to continuing our commitment to excellence, innovation and partnership, delivered with a personal touch and family-centered approach to doing business.
If there’s anything we can do to help you have a productive 2024, please contact us.