Build a food business - #1
A weekly blog in 4 parts
Great food is just the start.
What are you good at?
How do you get your products to market?
Making sure you make money!
GOOD FOOD IS JUST THE START
I’ve met people who make the most marvellous jam, incredible curry and astonishing biscuits. I’ve tasted the world’s tastiest tzatziki, England’s most aromatic gin, granola that will rock your world and simply the best carrot and orange juice money can buy. You’d think that each and every fantastic product that I have tasted would be guaranteed a space on Waitrose 1’s shelves:
But, sadly that's not the case. The retail space is so crowded that to be the next Innocent Juice or Reggae Reggae sauce you are going to have to go to market with so much more than great food.
Just put yourself in the position of a high-street food buyer. What is going to make them want to see you?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
When you get invited to see a food buyer you'll need to be able to answer all the questions they will ask and then you've got to tell them why you're so special, what makes you so different from the rest.
Before you sit in front of a buyer, make sure you know all the standard stuff. Know your pricing, understand how your product’s price and quality fits in with their range, what it competes with and what your recommended retail price (RRP) is. You'll need to understand the margins that your buyer will need, their ordering requirements and how long they will support your product and what promotional activity they will expect of you.
Then, you'll need to convince them why you are so special.
Time was that you could go to market with good food, the right price and good service. Now you've got to have a back story. Your business should have that story weaved into your marketing strategy.
Also, you will stand a better chance of getting your product listed if your story extends to deliver a positive social and / or environmental impact.
I’ve met inspirational food manufacturers who feed starving African kids with a percentage of their profits, I’ve met food entrepreneurs whose target is to make sure that they have a net positive impact on their environment and I’ve met business owners who employ socially disadvantaged people. All of these businesses are inspirational, have a worthy cause and as a by-product of their altruism they will be the first to be invited to pitch their products to food buyers.
So, make sure your food tastes fantastic and make your food look fantastic, and only then go to work to make your food products stand a long way out from the crowd.