“My grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit has been passed from generation to generation and remains at the center of our business today. We are 100% committed to supporting new local food start-ups.”
—Donny Rouse, CEO, 3rd Generation
We are very interested in receiving information about your product. If it is already packaged and ready for retail, email Rouses Markets with a brief description of your product so we can direct you to the right category manager (Produce, Meat, Seafood, Bakery, Deli, Grocery, Frozen, Dairy, Specialty and Floral). Your category manager will follow up with you via email and then set a meeting at our corporate office in Thibodaux, LA. Be prepared to bring samples and provide proof of insurance (see below).
If your product is still in the raw stage, see below for key information for food startups. There are great resources for food entrepreneurs like yourself.
LOCAL VENDOR FAQs
Do I need a food broker to represent me?
We do not require a broker, as long as you can service what you are promising. A food broker will charge a percentage of your profit.
What if I can’t supply all of Rouses Markets?
We can accept products for one store or all of them. Our goal is to help you grow into as many Rouses locations as possible.
How do I get my products to the stores? Will Rouses warehouse it for me?
You will be responsible for warehousing and delivering your products to Rouses Markets. If you pay a distributor to deliver your product, they will charge a fee.
How is my product displayed (merchandised)?
Your Rouses buyer will talk to you about how to merchandise your product at store level. If you need a display system, rack, etc., you will be responsible for providing it to the stores.
How do I promote my product to Rouses customers?
We will do everything we can to promote your product within our ads and in our stores, but we highly recommend that you do store demos so customers can try before they buy. Also consider partnering with a marketing, public relations or advertising agency, and investing in outside advertising.
What does Rouses require?
- Rouses requires a minimum of $2 million of liability insurance.
- If you have workers, you must have workers comp.
- You will need to provide us with a Tax ID number.
- You will need to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement (Indemnity Agreement).
- Standard nutritional information in compliance with FDA labeling format mandates must be printed on all product packaging (see below).
- You must have a UPC code on all non-perishable products (see below).
- You must have a delivery and merchandising plan.
We encourage and promote food entrepreneurship, and we’re always looking for new local products for our customers.
Can I make my product at home?
Unless your product falls under the Cottage Food Guidelines set by the state in which it is produced (see below), it must be made in a commercial kitchen, and manufacturing and processing activities must meet government health regulations.
What is a cottage food?
Some baked goods, candy, condiments, preserves and spices may be produced in-home, provided certain guidelines are met, and sales do not exceed $20,000. Visit forrager for information.
How do I rent a commercial kitchen?
You can rent kitchen space from a restaurant or caterer; the Southern Food & Beverage Museum; a licensed commercial kitchen in your neighborhood (see culinary incubator and cook it here for lists); work with an established food manufacturer; or go through a food incubator program that has a commercial kitchen.
What is a Food Incubator?
A Food Incubator is a new business accelerator focused on growing food businesses. Food Incubators like Edible Enterprises and the LSU Ag Center Food Incubator provide a government-approved commercial kitchen for hourly rental; specialized processing equipment; dry, cold and pallet storage; and analytical and testing services.
If you’re applying to a food incubator program, be prepared to submit a short business plan form and cash flow analysis. Startup business incubators like the LSU Ag Center Food Incubator, Idea Village and Propeller in New Orleans, LA; the Innovation Center in Biloxi, MS; and the Business Innovation Center in Mobile, AL, are great resources for entrepreneurs.
How do I get nutritional information?
Each product must include nutritional information including daily values, serving sizes and ingredient lists. You can use RecipePal to create your own breakdown and label (in complete compliance with FDA labeling format), or a service like NutriData.
How do I get a universal product code?
You will need a 12-digit UPC (universal product code) on your product. UPCs are issued by GS1 US. You will need a different UPC code for each product you sell, even if it is just a different size. Each UPC can be used to produce a specific barcode that can then be printed out and attached to products or, ideally, incorporated into the product design so that it is easily scanned at the register.
Businesses pay to join GS1 US, and in exchange, the organization assigns each member its own identification number that appears as the first part of its UPC. GS1 US charges capacity-based membership fees that begin at $250, plus annual renewal fees starting at $50. The fees depend on the number of unique products you sell. A membership form can be filled out online on GS1′s website.
We do not recommend buying barcodes through other Internet-based resale companies.