It seems some that things never change until you wake up one day and ask, “How did that hap-pen?!”

Old school sales techniques tie manufacturers’ hands when it comes to trying to reach the op-erator with a new product message. Unless brand owners take an active hand in reaching oper-ators, operators will rely only on what they’ve known as the process. This largely involves the broker and/or a primary distributor, who informs the operator of what is new and relevant in the marketplace.

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) believes that manufacturers need to optimize tried-and-true sales channels to reach their targeted operators. Even so, IFMA also encourages its food processor members to also use new digital forms of communication that do not rely on the current system of brokers and distributors.

The two primary historic channels of communication are a distributor’s e-commerce site and the distributor sales rep, or DSR. New methods are digital media sites such as Foodable; that utilize Netflix, Apple TV and other direct forms of digital communication. These new forms are heavily used by younger chefs and influencers and are growing dramatically before our eyes. Young operators are more influenced by non-traditional sales techniques.

Both current and new forms of communication have their unique challenges and opportunities, a topic IFMA explores as part of its ongoing platform, “Food Future 2025.” Food Future 2025 provides IFMA members with a complete view of the Consumer Food Journey, the New Opera-tor Landscape Portal, and the New Go-to-Market Model.

Specifically, the New Go-to-Market Model includes a detailed report titled, “The Modern Operator.” This report provides an exhaustive review at all the influences and channels that an operator considers as they make their foodservice purchases. In addition, it advises manufac-turers on the best ways to increase awareness of new products they are introducing.

We encourage you to visit the “Resources” section of to download this new research and also to explore the New Operator Landscape Portal.

Originally appeared in the August, 2019 issue of Prepared Foods as Selling New Products.