What's next in the pipeline?
Blog #6 in a series of 6
Contact Clive at The Food Agency for help on any of the issues raised in this blog series.
1. So, you want to grow your food business
2. Why should I put your products on my shelves?
3. Know your role in your business.
6. What's next in the pipeline?
It's not easy
My clients spend a lot of time developing their recipes, products, brand and routes to market so when they bring a new product to me they are justifiably proud. I have to find the right time to say 'OK, what's next?'.
That's not because I'm insensitive, it's because I know that's what the buyers and consumers will be thinking.
Buyers for retail will want to know that new suppliers are not 'one hit wonders' and that they have a strategy to develop the brand, to bring new variants of products to market and a plan to support new products through a marketing strategy.
Evolve to stay ahead of the competition
It's rare that intellectual property rights can be substantiated for a food or drink product so the only things that you have in your armoury to secure a sustainable business is your uniqueness as defined by your brand and your ability to stay ahead of the competition by developing new products.
If you stand still the market will eventually overwhelm your business.
So, force yourself to keep moving forward otherwise copycat products and newer variants in your range will reduce your brand's most important facet, its uniqueness,
Every second of time spent making new products is important. Information from every batch will feed the next iteration of the recipe , but only if you stick to a regimented methodology and record all your findings.
Also, don't make all the development decisions based on your opinions alone. Find a group of colleagues that you trust their opinion and make sure that they all understand what is required of them. Set the rules to standardise their tasting and responses. Multiple choice questionnaires with room for qualitative comments are a great way of doing this but only if each participant has a fresh palate.
Don't forget to record their comments. Retail buyer will be interested in a well conducted tasting survey with a strong, standardised, methodological approach.
Stay on message
Make sure that your new products stay within the parameters as defined by your brand strategy.
If your business stands for environmental sustainability then lets make sure that your supply chain for ingredients and packaging stands up to scrutiny.