With the current supply chain issues and consumer shopping habits shifting to prioritize sustainable and ethically made items, it’s no wonder product sourcing is a hot topic in the CPG industry right now. Sourcing products locally versus globally can be tricky for every retail buyer since there is more than just feasibility at play. Out of the eight trends that will impact retail this year, sustainability and COVID-19 uncertainty have already made a splash regarding product sourcing decisions.

Product sourcing trends in the CPG industry

Supply chain and environmental issues are having a huge influence on product sourcing in the CPG industry right now, and consumers’ accelerated expectations and shifting shopping habits brought on by COVID-19. These trends might not be new in 2022, but they are still on the rise in both consumer and retailer eyes:

Sustainability

The past two years have been anything but predictable, and now people are looking for sustainable products worth their investment. This is also true for buyers yearning for economic stability as gas prices and interest rates rise.

Minority-owned suppliers

In the wake of social movements such as Black Lives Matter, the demand for products from minority-owned businesses has risen and continues to do so as consumers want to support minority business owners. We see this happening across the globe and encourage our minority suppliers to promote their diversity on their RangeMe profiles so buyers can easily find them using a quick search filter.

Technology

The digital transformation brought on by COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. Now that businesses have set up online stores, communication platforms, etc., it’s time to look at how to streamline and automate other processes like product sourcing, supply chain, and customized customer experiences.

Ethical sourcing

Supply chain delays push buyers to find shorter and greener options to keep up with the demand for products. Consumers are also questioning how the materials they are purchasing are sourced and if the process is truly ethical.

What are the pros and cons of sourcing locally?

The push for locally sourced products is no longer just a pandemic trend, and  the demand continues to rise as we head into the 2022 summer months. If you’ve been thinking about incorporating more local products into your stores, consider these things first:  

Pros:

  1. Convenience. One of the biggest reasons retail buyers prefer to source locally is to receive products as fast as possible. If you need more product delivered quickly, you can rely on a local manufacturer and their supply chain-controlled shipments a lot more than a supplier overseas. Having a supplier closer to home can also foster reliable communication and a chance to see how the products are made.
  2. Investing in your community. Another perk of sourcing products locally is giving back and investing in your community. Not only do local investments help drive a healthy economy in your store’s local area, it looks good to shoppers who enjoy shopping for locally-sourced products. Learn more about how Kroger teamed up with RangeMe to source fresh and local suppliers here.
  3. Helping the environment. Shortening the supply chain of the products you bring into stores has many benefits for you, your customers, and the environment. The longer the distance your products have to travel usually correlates with increased emissions and energy usage. This environmental effect has not gone unseen by today’s consumers who often reach for more sustainable options. 

Cons:  

  1. Price. While shopping closer to home can sometimes result in lower shipping costs, the overall price typically ends up higher, especially for smaller businesses looking to order lower quantities of products. Local manufacturers are not always able to source their own materials at the low cost manufacturers overseas can. 
  2. Fewer options. Limiting yourself to local suppliers and manufacturers means you have a smaller scope of high-quality options and experts to choose from. Staying within one region can also have exponential effects if there are issues within that supply chain.

What are the pros and cons of sourcing globally?

Consumer trends are constantly evolving, and you can’t always rely on local suppliers to meet your product needs. Just because you’re sourcing globally, doesn’t mean the products can’t be sustainably friendly too! Here are a few of our insights on sourcing products from abroad.

Pros:

  1. Assortment. Every country is full of different resources and expertise. For example, Guatemala and Columbia have some of the richest coffee options, and France and Italy produce some of the best wines. Sourcing globally allows you to utilize some of the amazing and high-quality products and resources other countries have to offer. This can come in handy since consumer interest in specialty products is on the rise.
  2. Reaching new markets. Establishing connections overseas will make any future global expansion plans easier.These manufacturers also know the ins and outs of their local market, allowing you to tune in to their market knowledge and see if they can produce something unique to that region!
  3. Savings. Taking advantage of a larger market allows you to find some of the most competitive prices in the world. These manufacturers abroad have home-field advantage and can source raw materials at a much lower cost than you may be able to find locally. Whether you are looking for a small or bulk order, you’ll find what you need within your budget. 

Cons:

  1. Restrictions. With global sourcing comes global restrictions. Be prepared to run into quotas, tariffs, additional documents, and extra fees as you attempt to import and export your products. Keep in mind and be prepared for any language barriers or currency rate fluctuations during overseas transactions. Additional restrictions may come up as many companies face labor shortages. These shortages are expected to continue as remote work becomes more mainstream and employee benefit expectations rise.
  2. Quality control. One of the biggest perks to sourcing locally is that you can pop in and see how your products are being produced at any time, a luxury you don’t have when they are being manufactured overseas. Receiving samples and sending feedback is a much lengthier process and not always feasible when you need a quick turnaround.

RangeMe’s Origin Filter

RangeMe's Origin Filter

We know buyers on RangeMe are looking to source and view products from specific countries or regions across the globe, so we created a custom origin filter. After selecting a country or region, you can narrow your search down even more!

Find out how one RangeMe supplier took a global influence to his hot sauce recipes and sparked interest from a Food Lion buyer looking for locally made products. 

Are you a buyer on RangeMe? Try out our origin filter today!

Global vs local: which is the better option for you?

Whether your source locally or globally depends entirely on the needs of your business and of your customers. What products are your target audience looking for? How feasible is it to supply these products within your current budget? Does your brand or customers rely on you to source products from a certain region or in a certain way? The answers to these questions and considering the pros and cons of local vs global sourcing mentioned above can help guide you on your decision. 

Check out more 2022 best business practices for brands and retail buyers here.