Taking Your Chickens’ Eggs to Market
If you are lucky enough to raise chickens and have found that your egg production exceeds your in-home consumption, this might be the time to consider selling your eggs for profit.
Selling excess eggs will reduce waste, bring in extra cash and – in many cases – it can introduce you to a wonderful community of local farmers and organic produce enthusiasts.
If you are considering selling your eggs there are a few business decisions you will need to make, the most important being, which distribution channel will work best for you?
You have a few choices when it comes to getting your eggs to market. Please note: It is important to also investigate the local laws that govern egg production in your area. There will be different rules for different distribution networks regarding things like inspection, safety, insurance and record keeping.
The most direct-to-consumer option for selling your eggs is a farmer stand. Farmer stands are typically found in places like farmers markets or on the road-side. If you find the right location, these stands can be very lucrative, but they do require a larger investment of your time. When contemplating this option, take into account how many hours you can spare from your busy life.
Some Tips for Effective Farmer Stands:
Farm Stand Location: Choose a location that is not only high traffic, but also heavily populated by your target market (i.e. people who highly value fresh produce and are willing to pay a premium for it.) According to the Food Marketing Institute, organic food purchasing is driven more by lifestyle than demographics, so seek out locations that appeal to the organic lifestyle.
Label Your product Well: Be sure to clearly label your stand with the benefits of your eggs and appeal to your target market’s values. If your eggs are organic or free-range, be sure to communicate it! Feel free to have signage that sings the praises of the egg’s taste and quality. A little personality goes a long way too. People are buying both a high-quality product and an experience. Be quaint, humorous, clever, or whatever makes you, your farm and your product distinctive. People like knowing where their food comes from, and if they like you… they are more likely to like your eggs, and become repeat customers.
Presentation is important: Invest in quality egg cartons that you can personalize with your egg farm’s information. Not only will these cartons allow your client to take their eggs home, but they will build your farm’s brand identity. You can buy egg cartons wholesale and customize them to reflect your unique identity. Consider placing customized logo stickers on non-printed recycled egg cartons and be sure to include a telephone number, so that restaurants or repeat customers can reach you directly when they want more.
Target wholesale egg selling opportunities: If a farm stand is more of a time commitment than you can or are willing to make, consider targeting wholesale opportunities with local co-ops, grocery stores, restaurants or even hotels. Call around and offer a sample of your eggs. Demonstrate that you not only have high quality eggs, but that you are a professional willing to accommodate the client (within reason). Smaller businesses like restaurants are especially vulnerable to undependable suppliers. Establish trust with these clients, and you will have long-term business allies. In some communities, producer co-operatives allow fellow egg farmers to pool resources for more effective marketing. These partnerships increase efficiencies and allow you to sell more eggs than you might be able to on your own.
Find an egg seller or agent: If your egg production quantity is very large, considering finding a broker to market your eggs. Like any agent, a broker will take some of your profit, but they will save you time and often have access to very large buying networks.
Grab the Customer's information Marketing to your customers will keep your business going. Grab their information as they check out so you can send them information later or follow up-maybe with a recipe or a thank you!
Understand the Laws: If you are selling to consumers it's always wise to make sure that you know the laws around that. Take a look at your local laws to make sure that you are complying with local egg selling regulations.
Marketing Your Eggs at the Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s Markets around the country are in full flourish these days. As popular as these farmer’s markets are, though, it is not enough to just show up with some eggs and a folding table. You will have to be the middleman: the marketer and salesperson.
Even in direct-to-consumer selling, all farm stands are not equal: the top 3% of farms capture more than 58% of the sales. There are many ways to vastly improve your farmer’s market sales and turn your business into one of these top-grossing farms.
Before we begin with the detailed marketing ideas, take some time to ponder the very big picture: knowing your own product and what exactly you offer to consumers. It seems like a silly question, but you must be able to answer it–properly!–before you will be able to successfully market yourself.
Selling Eggs to Consumers
You say you sell eggs, Great. Why on earth wouldn’t I buy my eggs super-cheap from the big supermarket down the street? What do you and your products provide that is not available from the supermarket? This is the question you will probably be asked at some point. You probably can’t compete on price with the supermarket. But you could offer personal knowledge and connections to your food’s origins. Or specialty products, such as organic, pasture raised or omega-3 eggs. If your eggs are significantly fresher than other options, there is a lot of value there.
If your methods of producing and distributing eggs is more environmentally sound, or improve animal welfare, there is value to that, too. There are numerous ways you add value to your products. Remember: you have more of value to offer than mere eggs! Whether you offer your customers “nostalgia for an old-timey small farm past”, “biodiversity and heritage breed preservation” or “cutting-edge green technology” and “urban production”, you will need to communicate that to your customers in the image you portray.
Your clothing and attitude, your signage and packaging, brochures, website, even your display set-up all speak to customers. Make certain that all aspects of your business showcase the same ideas. Think over your business and yourself. Does your business offer something special to people? Is there an image of yourself that you would like to project? Decide on an image and message, the particular benefits and values of your products. Then keep this image of your business and products in mind as you consider specific methods to convey your brand and your farm to customers.
Don't under estimate the value of convenience. It is also a huge selling point for customers. You may want to consider selling your eggs online. By offering an option of delivery or pickup in different locations, you can offer an easy way for customers to buy your products.
Last but not least, tracking what you've produced and sold is vital to the health of your business. Take a look at Farmbrite to help keep track of your farm or ranch.