Information For Prospective Producers
Please read the following information before proceeding to starting the process of becoming a producer.
Immediately below is information regarding our current product mix, followed by some information on limiting new producers offering products already in abundant supplies. Further down is information about how our cooperative works from the producer point of view. Prospective producer members should review this information before deciding to join the IFC.
- We have a guideline that 85% of products listed need to be food items. Currently 83% of listed products are foods, and a soap producer is waiting to be allowed to sell products. Thus, prospective non-food producers need to know that if they join they will be put on a waiting list to sell their products.
- We have certain product categories with abundant offerings. New producers of products in these categories will find sales volumes may not justify delivery costs. Exceptions would be certain unique products, like Wagyu Beef. Product categories that currently have abundant offerings are:
g. Baked goods (pies, breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, etc.)
- We have certain product categories that could use more offerings. These include:
a. Dairy (especially milk, butter, ice cream, frozen custards, and yogurts)
b. Elk or buffalo meats
d. Pickled and preserved produce
e. Dry edible beans
f. Tea and spice blends
g. Oils and vinegrettes
i. Frozen entrees
NOTE: THE IOWA FOOD COOPERATIVE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO LIMIT THE APPROVAL OF NEW PRODUCERS WITH PRODUCTS THAT ARE OFFERED IN ABUNDANT SUPPLIES.
Prospective producers who want to discuss sales potential for their products should send an email to email@example.com or call General Manager Gary Huber at 515-450-6812.
Information on basic operations:
- Costs $50 to become a producer member (same as for consumer members), but it’s a one-time fee that is redeemable if you ever want to leave the coop.
- We use an online shopping cart system. It’s an open-and-close system, meaning consumer members can shop during set times each month. Once the online shopping cart closes, producers go online and see who ordered what. Ordered product needs to make its way to our space at Merle Hay Mall for distributions, which are always on Thursdays (every three weeks during the winter and every other week from May through October). We re-distribute it from there to our other pick up sites (WDM, Ankeny, Ames, Albia, Osceola, Indianola).
- Producers set their own prices. The cooperative simply acts as agents of our members trying to help facilitate commerce.
- We’ve got close to 1,100 members. A bit over 160 have gone through a process of registering to sell products (which means they are producers). That leaves about 940 who are consumer members, most of which are in the DM metro area.
- The system has an inventory function, meaning that a producer with limited inventory can set how much they want to sell, and the system counts down to zero when people put the product in their online shopping cart.
- There’s a fee system involved. If a consumer buys $100 of product, the system automatically adds $15 (or 15% of the total they buy) to their invoice. If a producer sells $100, the system automatically subtracts $15 (or 15% of the total they sell) from their invoice. Means for every $100 sold, the coop gets $30 to pay for expenses.