Have you ever wondered how local or international foods and beverages make their way to Princeton stores? Whether you are a devout foodie or casual home cook, your enjoyment of new culinary delights would grind to a halt if it were not for industry insiders like Princeton resident Wendy Farrington. Farrington is the owner and senior consultant of Caviar & Ketchup, LLC, a retail consultancy group based in town that primarily focuses on specialty fine foods.
Working with notable clientele including Dean & Deluca and Home Shopping Network, Farrington has spent more than twenty-five years traveling the globe sourcing products to sell through retail outlets either as-is or branded under a private label. The golden rule by which Farrington operates; know your customer, know your product.
“Foodies who produce or manufacture food products know food but not necessarily strategic business planning,” said Farrington adding, “You need to know your customer, their buying patterns and their tastes, especially when dealing with different cultures.”
Recently, Farrington gave a lecture to third grade students at Community Park Elementary School in Princeton. “Who likes chocolate?” she asked. Every child raised its hand. So she distributed a small sample of 85% cocoa chocolate to the students who were disgusted by the bitter taste. “But you said you like chocolate,” responded Ms. Farrington. “Oh, I should have asked what kind of chocolate.”
Knowing her manufacturing partners is another key part of Farrington’s job, and visiting production facilities comes with the territory. Her favorite trip was when she traveled to within 50 miles of the Arctic Circle to visit Nyåkers Pepparkakor Factory located in Sweden. Nyåkers produces gourmet ginger cookies. “It was so remote the workers arrived at the factory by sled,” recalls Farrington.
But Farrington’s core role revolves around analyzing businesses and developing strategic plans to help them grow, plus developing private labels. A sample of products Farrington has worked with available to Princeton residents includes the Australian based Bundaberg ginger beer, Philadelphia based DiBruno Brothers pasta, olive oil, snacks and coffee, and Princeton based Twin Hens chicken pot pies. Farrington’s business analysis effects what is made available to the consumer, be it through Home Shopping Network, catalogs, or specialty stores.
So, whenever you go to purchase a culinary treat, think about Wendy Farrington and others who bring unusual and exciting flavors to your kitchen table.