The demand for healthy living is more popular than ever with consumers, but it’s not always easily accessible. That’s where Thrive Market comes in. Founded in 2014 by a team of four individuals from diverse backgrounds, Thrive Market has a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. Today, Thrive Market is an established online retailer with a growing private label program managed by Erin Shulman, Senior Food Product Innovator. Shulman oversees all the food categories under Thrive’s private label program, Thrive Market Brand, and she and her team of product innovators are constantly searching for new, high-quality products on RangeMe to develop under the Thrive Market name.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Shulman who shared how Thrive buyers rely on RangeMe to discover new products, what trends they are buying for their private label line, what they look for in products, and more.
RangeMe: How would you describe a Product Innovator at Thrive Market? What other Product Innovators are on your team?
Shulman: The Product Innovator at Thrive Market focuses on developing products that support the wellness champion’s lifestyle, aka our target customer. We develop formulas that are custom to our member’s diets and lifestyles, focusing on responsibly sourced ingredients and raw materials. We are hyper-focused on our product’s ingredient decks and ensure they are as clean as they can possibly be, less is more!
I oversee the food categories with one other Product Innovator, where we divide and conquer based on our passions and industry knowledge. We also have a Product Innovator that focuses on Frozen foods, one who focuses on a GAP certified meat and seafood program, and one who focuses on non-food products. Our team is all aligned on Thrive’s mission and values, which makes our work that much stronger for the Thrive brand.
RangeMe: Who is the Thrive Market shopper?
Shulman: Our target customer is the Wellness Champion, someone who is willing to make moves to improve their health and the health and wellness of their family and friends. You would think that our shopper would be more coastal but interestingly enough, the majority of our member base is in the Midwest, where really healthy and sustainable products aren’t readily available at their local retailer. Our customers are not only health and wellness driven, they are also allergy driven, meaning most of our member base can’t eat certain foods due to food allergies or diseases, which made them jumpstart into this health and wellness lifestyle. These customers rely on Thrive to provide them with these types of better-for-you products that accommodate their allergies or health choices.
RangeMe: When did you learn about RangeMe and why do you use the platform?
Shulman: I’ve been using RangeMe for about four years now. I found out about RangeMe in my previous role at a different retailer and continued to use RangeMe when I started at Thrive Market.
There are old school buyers out there who are set in their ways and only work within their box, but when I learned about RangeMe it blew my mind knowing all the products that could be discovered on the platform so I adopted and implemented it into my buying strategy early on. The retail landscape is always changing, it’s dynamic, and it’s exciting to find new products that are relevant to our members. RangeMe is a strong way for buyers to understand what’s going on in the industry, what’s moving the industry, and where future trends are going.
RangeMe: What RangeMe resources do you use?
Shulman: I dig the buyer digest email that RangeMe sends out. I click through and see what new brands are on RangeMe or what brands are trending. It helps keep us at Thrive Market on track and understand what’s out there and even if it’s not all private label products, it helps drive innovation knowing what’s going on in the industry.
RangeMe: What does a supplier need to know if they want to work with Thrive Market? What do you look for in a brand?
Shulman: When a supplier wants to work with us, I start the conversation with our #1 product value, every product must be Non-GMO Project Verified. I also like to go over volume expectations and make sure the partnership will be mutually beneficial. Meaning, the volume needs to be within reason of how many members we have and of course, it varies program by program and depending on the category.
Going back to our product standards, we look for clean labels and non-GMO products. In fact, our whole site is non-GMO so the supplier needs to be able to verify that their product ingredients come from non-GMO sources, and this applies to both branded and private label products. Certifications are another check field that suppliers need to legitimize when interested in working with Thrive. When I’m browsing products on RangeMe, I’m driven to the product itself but also the format it is available in such as a pouch, jar, can, and so on. It’s nice when brands display the different formats their products come in because as an eCommerce retailer, we need suppliers to offer versatility in changing packaging from glass to a pouch for example.
RangeMe: As we approach the new year, what trends are you looking to source in 2020?
Shulman: We have a huge opportunity to support regenerative agriculture and raw materials from these farms. We are looking forward to the ROC certification and supporting the higher standard of Regenerative Organic products. We will continue developing products that are sourced ethically, the ingredients are giving back to the lands, and the products are good for the planet and support fair labor practices. Another couple of trends we are looking to bring in next year include sugar-free products, plant-based products, and low carb focused ingredients.
RangeMe: What do you wish suppliers did more of on their profiles?
Shulman: There are two things that come to mind. One is to be specific in their unique selling points because these are the keywords we search to find products on RangeMe. The second thing is to include your history with private label. Since my team and I are looking for brands that are capable of private label, suppliers who call out their private label experience with other retailers get more attention from us. Plus, suppliers who are interested in private label should already have this information available to any retailer that is interested in doing business with them.
Not only an innovative and trend-setting retailer for health and wellness products, Thrive Market is a trailblazer for private label. With the help of RangeMe, the Thrive Market Product Innovators will be able to source trending health and wellness products on the platform and continue to grow their private label program by bringing on suppliers capable of these initiatives.
Browse the trends Thrive Market is shopping for on RangeMe.
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