Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You've discontinued my favorite....!!!

Actually we probably haven't. We frequently get email from customers wondering (panicking?) how we could discontinue this or that product. Usually, they've just returned from their local store where they were told -the bad news-.

There are a few reasons why a store might say that one of our products has been "discontinued".

The store has decided to stop carrying it

The retail industry is an ever changing target. Margins are small and competition is incredible. Sometimes a retailer decides that it's time to move in a different direction or that freezer or shelf space is better used by X product instead of Y. We know that having a manager or a buyer who has a personal connection with Celiac or Autism can do great things for the variety of GF products a store carries. We've seen stores with dozens of GF products stop carrying them almost overnight when that person moves on to a different position or job. (It's probably a good idea to hug your GF store manager/buyer today and let them know how important they are to you.) There's not a lot you can do if the store decides to go this way, except talk to the new store manager/buyer. Sometimes it makes a difference.

One of our distributors has stopped carrying it.

This was recently the case with two of our donuts due to artificial ingredients. We have little control over what products our distributors carry. Sometimes they make decisions based on their own internal criteria, as was the case with the donuts. Also, distributors, like retailers have to make choices about how many products they will stock. Warehouse space, especially freezer warehouse space is expensive and they sometimes have to make hard choices about just what to carry.

The store orders the product but can't get it in stock

Unfortunately, this is a problem we have seen quite bit lately, especially with smaller retailers . A very large part of this problem is due to our troubles keeping up with the skyrocketing demand and part is due to the way store/distributor relationships work. Because we are not always able to fill our distributor orders completely, the distributor may be out of stock when a store's order goes out. Also, distributors naturally tend to take care of their bigger retailers first so a small mom & pop store may be on the low end of the who-gets-what list. We are doing what we can to eliminate the supply problems on our end, but every time we introduce new equipment demand grows at an even greater rate.

The Store/Distributor has replaced it with a new item

Currently we have up to 45 products listed with our distributors. Some have them all, some have less but these 45 products are available to everyone. However, shelf, freezer and warehouse space is limited so each time we introduce a new product, we may see one of the existing top 45 products "de-listed" to make room. This may mean that it will no longer be available at the store but it does not necessarily mean we have stopped making it.

We actually DID discontinue it

About once a year we do a product review and look at some of our products which are not moving as well as we'd like and make the decision whether it makes economic sense to keep producing them or not. This is especially true now that we are introducing 2-3 new products every year. It may happen that one of your favorite products is on this list but if we do discontinue a product, it's probably because it's not on many other peoples favourite list.

Did We Do It?

These are our top 10 selling products.
  • White Sandwich Bread
  • Tapioca Rice English Muffins
  • Pizza Crust - 7 inch
  • Tapioca Rice New York Style Plain Bagels
  • Italian White Tapioca Rice Bread
  • Sunflower Flax Rice Bread
  • KinniTOOS Chocolate Sandwich Creme Cookies
  • Tapioca Rice Bread
  • Cheese Tapioca Rice Bread
  • Montanas Chocolate Chip Cookies
If anyone tells you that we discontinued any of these, you can know for sure that we didn't.

If it's not one of these, how can you know whether you favorite has been discontinued? It's pretty simple. Check our website. If it's there, you can still get it.

Check our new store finder to see if there are any other stores nearby carrying our products. Be sure to always give them a call first as the store finder may not be entirely up to date.

If there is nothing locally, you may have to take advantage of flat rate $10 shipping fee and order directly from us, either on our website, www.kinnikinnick.com or toll free 1-877-503-4466