Page 16 - Food&Drink Magazine May-June 2020
P. 16

A strategic gourmet harvest
Artisan products can get lost on supermarket shelves (if they even get there), so managing director of Random Harvest Gourmet Matthew Jinks came up with a smarter distribution strategy targeting the premium end of the market. Stuart Ridley writes.
IT’S easy to call something ‘gourmet’ but how do you prove it? Matthew Jinks, owner and MD of Random Harvest Gourmet, swears by old- fashioned taste sampling, supported by a beautiful and authentic story about the food.
Simple. Effective. Not so easy.
Authenticity in food is very important, but it’s hard to find it on supermarket chains’ shelves, observes Jinks, adding it’s a big roll of the dice for a gourmet brand to scale up and distribute to supermarkets.
“We see a lot of start-ups going for angel and VC funding to try to get into Coles and Woolworths. If you’re turning over your minimum sales every period, you’re surviving, but if you’re not it’s a huge risk.
“We don’t do that. We’re building a sustainable business by operating in the premium niche, which can be better for genuine Australian family- owned brands anyway.”
Clearly Jinks and his son Nick are onto something, because in 2019 they persuaded buyers at one of the most famous premium retailers in the world to taste their products. And stock them.
“Getting into Harrods just took absolute persistence,” remembers Jinks. “We turned up in London without an appointment, which the average Joe wouldn’t have the balls to do, and we kept on playing the angles until we could meet with the buyers.
“After tasting our truffles, they said they were so impressed with the quality they wanted us to develop a range for them, which is wonderful.”
Random Harvest Gourmet packaging is very deliberate. It is elegant and understated but you can easily see what is inside.
“We can’t rest our laurels on packaging,” says Jinks. “The whole product has to look beautiful, so people want to taste it. That’s the ultimate journey.”
Jinks says you can’t hang your hat on country of origin as much as government marketers would lead you to believe.
Even fiercely vocal European producers are learning that the hard way, he says.
 16 | Food&Drink business | May/June 2020 |

   14   15   16   17   18