Many consumers with dietary restrictions or who follow strict diets can relate to the frustration of searching for diet-friendly products in grocery stores. Freshline Keto Market, the customer-focused destination grocery store located in Menasha, WI, makes shopping easier for keto dieters wanting to follow a higher fat, low carb way of eating. From keto-friendly chips to keto-friendly pasta, chocolate, and ice cream, every item at Freshline Keto Market is four grams of net carbs or less. Behind this unique operation is store owner and product buyer Parker Schmidt and co-founder Sean Vande Wettering. They ensure that all products that come into their store are not only keto-compatible, but also taste good.
Their journey with Freshline Keto Market began about a year and a half ago during the beginning of the pandemic. The niche grocer started off as a small kiosk in the mall, and is now the go-to grocery for consumers across many demographics and regions.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Schmidt to discuss how he uses RangeMe to discover keto-specific products, what brands he has successfully launched in his store, what he looks for in suppliers, and more.
RangeMe: When did you first discover RangeMe, and what are you using it for?
Schmidt: I believe we found RangeMe about a year and a half ago. As someone who is always looking for new opportunities, I stumbled upon RangeMe. I was astonished and thought it was too good to be true. Having access to a free platform that allows retailers like us to better source products is critical to keep up with the increasing amount of specialty items out there.
We could credit about 30% of products that are in our store to RangeMe. And I think that says a lot about RangeMe as a one-of-a-kind platform making it possible for buyers to search for products that fit an array of dietary preferences. We can filter for specific results behind a computer screen and have all the information we could possibly need in one place. Whatever shows up first is usually the most relevant, and it only takes about 15 minutes to scroll through a couple of hundred brands.
RangeMe: What is your process like when you log in to your RangeMe account? What do you look for on a supplier’s RangeMe profile?
Schmidt: Luckily, the term keto is niche enough just to search on itself, and all I have to do is scroll down the page. The process generally involves opening up the brand’s page, looking through their products, and seeing if the packaging looks good. What matters first is if the product catches my eye and if it does, that means it may catch our customer’s attention as well. When looking at the nutrition label, net carbs are crucial for us since this is the factor that makes a product keto-friendly. If all that checks out, I’ll request a product sample since it must taste good before we feel confident putting it on the shelf.
There are so many CPG brands that are doing similar things, whether it’s selling kombucha or a wellness bar; what we care about is how you will separate yourself and the why behind what you do. This is where the packaging is also critical because it gives a brand the opportunity to signal to the consumer and differentiate itself.
RangeMe: What do you wish more suppliers put on their RangeMe profiles?
Schmidt: Pictures are critical. Make sure to turn the product around to show the ingredient/nutrition label if you are a food or beverage product. As a buyer, it’s a headache to try to search for photos of the nutritional labels on the back of the products off of RangeMe. If you want to get into stores, you should include this on your RangeMe profile.
We hope in the future there will be more credible Keto certifications that brands can apply to make it easier to identify keto products, and we would love to help set a standard for those certifications in the future.
RangeMe: How has your experience been with ordering products on RangeMe and what brands have you placed orders with?
Schmidt: We have placed two orders on RangeMe so far and it was a smooth process!
We first ordered from No Sugar Aloud, which specializes in very low sugar, low carb baking mixes. The second brand we ordered products from was Santte Foods and they sell meringues with zero net carbs and hardly any calories. This is an amazing option for keto consumers that want to lose themselves in snacking for a couple minutes because it is so low-calorie.
RangeMe: Have you brought any other brands into Freshline Keto Market’s assortment without placing a purchase order on RangeMe?
Schmidt: There have been many, many, many great people that we have worked with and have had great communication with through RangeMe. To name a handful of incredible brands; KetoWise, Bunker Hill Crunchy Cheese Crisps, Shrewd Food, LevelUp®, Yo Mama’s Foods, ChipMonk, Zevia, Pork King Good, and Beyond Chipz. Had it not been for RangeMe, I don’t think I could have found some of these brands, or at least it would have taken me a while.
RangeMe: The keto diet is gaining popularity over the last few years. Are there any trends you’re seeing in the industry that you’re excited about?
Schmidt: The keto product selection and community are growing. It’s exciting to watch more and more options open up for consumers, whether it’s keto-friendly donuts or cereal. What’s important to us is making our customers happy and making sure their cravings can be fulfilled, even when following a keto diet. Your tastebuds should be able to adhere to your lifestyle choices.
As 2021 comes to an end and the keto industry grows, Freshline Keto Market will be searching for brands that prioritize innovation, get creative with flavors, and create more products that reflect the wants and needs of keto consumers. Gone are the days of the traditional grocers and grocery buyers deciding what people are going to demand. Now consumers get to voice their opinions through their spending, direct-to-consumer ordering, and online reviews.
“After all this is the twenty-first century and we are able to collect feedback using technology and tools we didn’t have before and ultimately learn how to make consumers’ lives better,” Schmidt concludes.
Not on RangeMe? Sign up here for free!
Are you a buyer on RangeMe looking for keto-friendly products? Browse the term “keto” to discover new and innovative food and beverage products that fit specific dietary needs.