Alibaba Powers US Businesses

Bobs Red Mill

“The Alibaba Tmall platform has really allowed us to build our brand."

Jan Chernus, SVP of Sales

Bob’s Red Mill has come a long way since 1978, when founder Bob Moore began placing ads in newspapers and using word of mouth to sell the company’s whole grain foods in Milwaukie, Oregon. The employee-owned company isnow a staple in U.S. grocery stores and is quickly expanding its international reach using Alibaba’s B2C marketplaces Tmall and Tmall Global, to capture China’s rapidly growing market of health-conscious consumers.

Two sources inspired Bob to start his business: his wife, Charlee, who became dedicated to feeding her family nutritious, whole grain foods back in the 1960s, and a book by George Woodbury called John Goffe’s Mill, which detailed how one man and his family restored a grain mill.“I’ve got to have a flour mill,” Bob decided after reading it, and he founded one, Moore’s Flour Mill, in Redding, California, in 1974.

A few years later, Bob and Charlee left the mill to their sons and moved to Oregon. While on a walk one day, the couple discovered a nearby mill for sale, and Charlee knew their lives were soon about to change again. With the help of a couple of coats of red paint, they launched a new natural food business that has now grown for more than 44 years.

Many of the qualities that make Bob’s Red Mill unique, including its stone grinding technique, are delightfully old-fashioned, yet thebusiness knows exactly the right opportunities to take its brand into the future, including expanding its business in China at a time when younger consumers there are especially interested in healthy food options.

“The Chinese market is the most advanced e-commerce market in the world, so it’s natural for Bob’s Red Mill to have most of our sales in China be on the Tmall and Alibaba platforms,” says Steven White, the company’s Export Division Manager. “They’re the biggest player with the biggest reach.”

Bob’s Red Mill has been able to leverage Tmall’s tools to connect with Chinese consumers and introduce 68 different items into the market. The company’s most popular offerings in China include its stone ground whole wheat flour and steel cut oats. The company sells on both Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, where it focuses on merchandising its mainstay products, and on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s B2C cross-border marketplace, where it offers more variety through a wider range of items.

The company’s partnership with Alibaba has proven not only to be the best way to share its high-quality products with Chinese consumers, but also the best way to communicate the company’s unique brandstory to the Chinese audience. Bob’s Red Mill prides itself on authenticity and quality, as evidenced by its transparent packaging highlighting real ingredients. The company is also driven by a people-first ethos and a commitmentto providing profit sharing to every employee.

“The Alibaba Tmall platform has really allowed us to build our brand,” says Jan Chernus, SVP of Sales for Bob’s Red Mill. “Creating jobs globally and generating new excitement around healthy, hearty foods stays true to Bob’s original vision, and Alibaba is the right partner to help expand that dream to new markets.”

Bob’s Red Mill has come a long way since 1978, when founder Bob Moore began placing ads in newspapers and using word of mouth to sell the company’s whole grain foods in Milwaukie, Oregon. The employee-owned company isnow a staple in U.S. grocery stores and is quickly expanding its international reach using Alibaba’s B2C marketplaces Tmall and Tmall Global, to capture China’s rapidly growing market of health-conscious consumers.

Two sources inspired Bob to start his business: his wife, Charlee, who became dedicated to feeding her family nutritious, whole grain foods back in the 1960s, and a book by George Woodbury called John Goffe’s Mill, which detailed how one man and his family restored a grain mill.“I’ve got to have a flour mill,” Bob decided after reading it, and he founded one, Moore’s Flour Mill, in Redding, California, in 1974.

A few years later, Bob and Charlee left the mill to their sons and moved to Oregon. While on a walk one day, the couple discovered a nearby mill for sale, and Charlee knew their lives were soon about to change again. With the help of a couple of coats of red paint, they launched a new natural food business that has now grown for more than 44 years.

Many of the qualities that make Bob’s Red Mill unique, including its stone grinding technique, are delightfully old-fashioned, yet thebusiness knows exactly the right opportunities to take its brand into the future, including expanding its business in China at a time when younger consumers there are especially interested in healthy food options.

“The Chinese market is the most advanced e-commerce market in the world, so it’s natural for Bob’s Red Mill to have most of our sales in China be on the Tmall and Alibaba platforms,” says Steven White, the company’s Export Division Manager. “They’re the biggest player with the biggest reach.”

Bob’s Red Mill has been able to leverage Tmall’s tools to connect with Chinese consumers and introduce 68 different items into the market. The company’s most popular offerings in China include its stone ground whole wheat flour and steel cut oats. The company sells on both Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, where it focuses on merchandising its mainstay products, and on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s B2C cross-border marketplace, where it offers more variety through a wider range of items.

The company’s partnership with Alibaba has proven not only to be the best way to share its high-quality products with Chinese consumers, but also the best way to communicate the company’s unique brandstory to the Chinese audience. Bob’s Red Mill prides itself on authenticity and quality, as evidenced by its transparent packaging highlighting real ingredients. The company is also driven by a people-first ethos and a commitmentto providing profit sharing to every employee.

“The Alibaba Tmall platform has really allowed us to build our brand,” says Jan Chernus, SVP of Sales for Bob’s Red Mill. “Creating jobs globally and generating new excitement around healthy, hearty foods stays true to Bob’s original vision, and Alibaba is the right partner to help expand that dream to new markets.”