MGSG will be focusing on two distinct users of greens, individual consumers, and restaurants. The consumer market is seasonal so we will have production shifts during the consumer off season and all of the production will go toward wholesale restaurant distribution. During the spring and the summer MGSG will be serving both the consumer markets through farmer market stands and the restaurants through direct distribution.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Mixed Greens Salad Gardens has two distinct customers:
Individual Consumers. This group of people buy exotic salad greens because they have a more sophisticated pallette. Average Americans have been raised on iceberg lettuce and this is their green of choice (unfortunately). When people from this class get a little "crazy" they might even try romaine lettuce. These people are typically unsophisticated or unadventurous in terms of culinary habits. These are NOT the people MGSG serves. MGSG is going after people that appreciate healthier, tastier alternatives to the standby of iceberg lettuce. This group of consumers is more likely to make their own meals instead of going out, appreciates fine dining, and generally is from a higher socio/economic class. Mixed Greens Salad Gardens' field greens are more expensive than choices like iceberg or romaine, therefore one can conclude that the consumer typically makes more money if they are willing to pay significantly more for their salad greens, and second, people with more sophisticated palates typically are more educated.
Restaurants. Not all restaurants use exotic field greens mixes, generally it is a restaurant of fine dining that serves the finer greens. To be even more specific, it is typically an adventurous American or nouveau cuisine restaurant as opposed to a nicer French or German restaurant that appreciates the exotic field greens mix. For what ever reason (probably attributable to demand of their customers), the French and German restaurants, even the finer ones tend to serve "peasant greens." The restaurants are a year round customer which is helpful to balance the seasonal demand of individual consumers (group 1 above). Another advantage of having the restaurants as a customer is that even though they get a better price, MGSG has a long term contract with them which helps out in terms of stability.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Mixed Greens Salad Gardens' target market segment strategy is fairly easy. Our two different customer groups purchase from two distinct locations so it is quite easy to target them individually.
Individuals. These customers will be buying MGSG products from the different farmer markets located in Eugene, OR. The main one is "The Farmers Market" held downtown twice a week in the spring, summer, and the early autumn. This market gets quite a bit of traffic because there is a nice selection of different farmers and products and it is in a central location in the heart of Eugene. Additionally, there are several other smaller farmer markets that exist in outlining communities. By setting up a booth in these markets, there is already a steady flow of interested customers. There obviously is a fee to set up a stand, but what you get for the fee is all of your marketing taken care of and a line of customers. In addition to individuals frequenting the farmer markets, some restaurants will go there as well. This occurs when a restaurant needs certain ingredients but did not have the time to order it in advance.
Restaurants. MGSG will target these customers by introducing MGSG and their products to the restaurants through meetings with the buyers at each restaurant. There are about 25-30 different restaurants in Eugene that use field greens in their salad and MGSG intends to approach these to form long-term relationships.
4.3 Industry Analysis
There are three different types of competitors that MGSG faces:
Supermarkets. These stores sell a salad greens mix to consumers. The advantage of the supermarket is convenience. There are many supermarkets around the city and they are open many hours during the day. Their disadvantage is price and quality. The quality and variety lower than the standards set by the offerings of MGSG and other similar local farmers. The cost is higher, usually 15% more.
Similar local farmers. These are very similar operations to MGSG, sometimes larger and sometimes smaller. There appears to be room in the market for multiple farmers as most of the farmers sell out their products each day at the farmer markets.
Large distributors. An example of this would be Food Service of America (FSA) which buys a wide variety of products and quality of produce from farmers and distributes them to restaurants. The produce is not usually local, and is a few more days older from the field compared with the local farmers. The price is comparable and the quality can be comparable, but not necessarily. The disadvantage of a food distributor is the lack of flexibility relative to a local grower when serving local customers.
Buying patterns are based on the customer's desires. What is meant by this is that lower-end restaurants (or at least restaurants that are less concerned about quality) will not bother to get greens from local farmers, there is no need for them to. This pattern is similar for the individuals. There are some individuals that are content with the offerings from supermarkets. There are others that appreciate the difference in quality and are willing to schedule a trip to the farmers market to meet their weekly needs.