Microgreens are a powerful way to grow your business. They’re highly nutritious, sustainable and can be grown anywhere (even in your backyard). In this blog post, I’ll share with you how to make money from microgreens selling to restaurants, groceries, chefs as well as some tips to optimize profit.
How to Sell Microgreens to Restaurants
Follow these tips to sell microgreens to restaurants.
1. Know Which Greens are Trending
You can save a lot of time from offering greens that restaurants already have a lot of by knowing which greens are trending. These are the vegetables and fruits that customers are buying the most of. They make up the dishes that customers love.
Food goes through trends. As soon as a new food trend begins, you need to seize the opportunity. Find out what vegetables are being used and sell them to the restaurants that are offering some form of that dish.
Because there’s a higher demand for it, restaurants are going to need more of it to meet the demand.
2. Sell Fast
To make money as a microgreen farmer, you need to move products quickly. Not only is this important for freshness, but it also determines how much money you can make in a quarter.
When you sell fast, you can get those vegetables out of the ground and start planting the next round of vegetables. The faster that you sell, the more crops you sell, and the more money that you make.
3. Make a Product Sheet
You should always make a product sheet that details the kind of microgreens that you’re selling. The sheet should have the prices for each and the amount that you’re able to sell.
The sheet is helpful because it allows you to send it to your customers on the fly. They can take a quick look, understand what you’re offering, and put in their order.
You need to update your products as changes occur.
4. Sell in Case Lots
If you want to make it easier for restaurants to buy from you, then you should sell in case lots. Big-time farms use these units and it’s something that restaurants expect. It also allows you to sell at a larger amount which means you can earn more money.
Restaurants prefer to buy large quantities over small quantities.
5. Follow Up with New Customers
Finally, you need to follow up with new customers. It takes time to develop a relationship, but the relationship is going to be what makes the restaurant choose your products over your competitor’s.
Follow up with each restaurant after a few days to see if they’re interested.
How to Sell Microgreens to Chefs
Follow these tips to sell microgreens to chefs.
1. Have a Mix Available
Chefs are used to having a mix in their microgreens. It’s a catch-all bundle that gives them a little bit of everything they need. You need to have a few set microgreens that you want to sell, but you also need to have a mix available.
Not having a mix available may make a chef pass on your offer.
2. Try to Grow Greens at the Perfect Bite Size
If you want to make the most money out of your microgreens when selling to chefs, then you need to grow your microgreens to bite-size. That’s the kind of size that chefs are looking for and will happily pay a lot of money for.
It takes time and practice to figure out the best sizes for each particular green.
3. Give Microgreens Nutrients
You need to add nutrients to the soil. A seed only has so many nutrients to give. As it grows more leaves, the plant becomes unhealthier because the nutrients are used up.
By adding nutrients to the soil, you can ensure your plants grow strong and healthy. Those are the plants that chefs want to buy.
4. Use Mix Seeds Instead of Making Your Own Mix First
When first starting out, you might be tempted to try and make your own mix. This can cause problems because you’re unaware of the different growth cycles and how to handle caring for them.
A better choice is to use a mix-seed packet and plant those. It will give you a basic understanding of seed growth rates and how to care for the various ages to create your mix.
How to Sell Microgreens to Grocery Stores
Follow these tips to sell microgreens to grocery stores.
1. Use Great Packaging
At a store, packaging sells your product more than anything. It needs to be convenient packaging in sizes that typical customers will need. You can try selling at different sizes to see which ones are getting picked up the most.
2. Label Microgreens
Using a label on your product is also important. It should clearly state what the product is, your farm’s name, and have some color. A clear and vibrant label can attract people to it. Stores will love products that use nice labeling.
3. Visit the Store and Give Free Samples
When you want to make your pitch to the store, you want to go when it’s not peak hours. The staff doesn’t have the time to sit down with you and listen to you. They’re trying to do their jobs.
Go during slow hours and bring free samples. Each sample should be full-sized. If you bring samples, then you can be sure that you’ll get a meeting with the manager.
4. Follow Up with the Store
You should always follow up with the store later. They have a lot of people pitching them products. Following through and contacting them a few days later shows that you’re serious about doing business with them.
5. Check Your Products at the Store
Finally, take the time to check your products when the store sells them. If you notice that your products aren’t being cared for and are starting to wilt, then have the store remove them. You don’t want your brand name associated with unpleasant products.
How to Sell Microgreens to Whole Foods
First, go to Whole Foods when the hours are slow. Then speak to the store’s manager. Bring free samples with you and allow them to sell your products at no extra cost to them to see how they do.
Follow up with the store later to see how your products did and if they’re interested in selling more of your products.
How to Sell Microgreens to CSA
If you want customers to invest in your farm and buy products before they’re grown, then you need to know who to connect with. See if there are other members of CSAs in your neighborhood and ask them how they got started. They may be willing to put out the word about your farm.
Otherwise, you’ll want to start by contacting restaurants and chefs in your area. They’re going to be your main source of CSA investors. You’ll also want to show off your products at farmer’s markets to bring in regular customers.
Once you start networking, you’ll form your own CSA.
How to Sell Microgreens at a Farmer’s Market
At a farmer’s market, people are looking for smaller sizes than you should sell to a restaurant. Package accordingly. The packaging should still use high-quality materials and have eye-catching labels. However, they may need to be smaller in size. 2 ounces or smaller is ideal.
Once you have your products, you’ll want to think about deals that you can make. People are always looking for deals at farmer’s markets.
You’ll also want to do your research beforehand to know which greens are currently trending among buyers.
How To Package Your Microgreens for Sale
The packaging should be clear, so customers can see the state of the products within it. People won’t buy microgreens if they’re unable to see what they look like.
The packaging should also use some sort of tampering system that allows customers to know if the packaging has been opened before or not. This can give them confidence that the product is completely fresh.
Finally, it should include an image or name of the product that clearly states or shows what the product is.
How to Price Your Microgreens
There are a few different ways to price your microgreens.
For chefs and restaurants, you’ll want to use case lots. They want to buy in bulk, so you’ll want to offer them a higher amount since they’re receiving products by the pound.
For stores, you’ll need to consider markup and how that affects your overall profit. If you move a lot of products in a short time, then pricing 2-ounce products at $4 with a $2 markup for the store is ideal.
Finally, for farmer’s markets, you need to keep in mind your customers. Have a bulk price available and a small size price available. You can see which sizes the customers are drawn to the most and make future price decisions from there.
How to Keep them Fresh at a Farmer’s Market
You’ll want to have display products and products you actually give to people. The display products are for show only. Customers can see exactly what they’re getting. The product you give them should be kept in a cooler to keep it fresh.
How to Deliver Your Microgreens
For small-time microgreen farmers, you can deliver on your own. Keep your vehicle cool or use coolers to put the products in for transit.
If you use other people to deliver your products, then make sure your products are in coolers.
Licenses, Sales Tax, and Other Legal Things To Be Aware Of
The first thing you need to check is your local county. They have certain regulations over commercial farming in residential areas.
Microgreens need to follow the regulations set by the Food Safety Monetization Act. You don’t need to follow these regulations if you make less than $25,000. If you sell up to $500,000 and are doing so by selling to restaurants and stores, then you are partially exempt.
The regulations cover things like bird and rodent poop, workers washing their hands, and other sanitary issues.
Finally, you should consider undergoing a GAP certification. Many customers want this information. It’s a measure of how sanitary your farm and products are. You can request a GAP audit, but it will cost you money.