Getting Started With a Food Product Business

I’m in the middle of starting this food product business and still in the journey. I have little to any money to put into this business. However, when you have a great product and you believe you your product then you must put the effort out there to make it available for people to buy. In my case, I’m in the process of putting to market a garlic salsa that tastes amazing! While in the journey, I’m doing plenty of research everyday as to what are the formalities of doing a food product business the right way.

One thing that I learned about the business is that you can’t prepare your product at home and must be prepared in what is called a certified commercial kitchen. This can be a daunting task but there are places out there that rent kitchen space to create food products.

But probably the most cost effective avenue to take is getting your food product outsourced. When you outsource your food product you aren’t burdened with the start up costs that could easily run into the hundreds of thousands to get the machines to create the products that you want to package. Not to mention in addition the packaging materials and shipping still associate with your packaged food product.

As of now, I have located a place where I can get my garlic salsa outsourced and doing some research. Everyday must be a small step forward to get your product off the ground. You must learn something new everyday and apply what you have learned. Especially if it’s something that you’re passionate about.

Right now, in the current economic times is the best time to start a business. It’s more affordable now than ever for many industries to get started. Small business America needs to step up and create opportunities and jobs. We must be innovative. And right now is that time.

New Food Product Development Is an Ongoing Process

What is new product development? Why is it necessary to create new products? Once a company creates a quality product why should they create improved versions or brand new versions of the same product?

The answer is simple. Change is a process that is natural and expected. The requirements of human beings are susceptible to change. What is good for today is not enough for tomorrow. Changes are inevitable in all spheres of life. Our food, clothes, food habits, leisure, all are subject to change. Every product fails to impress consumers after a certain point of time. The quality may be good, but the consumer tastes must have changed. Here you have to upgrade the product according to public demand or create new products to meet the new requirements.

Shrewd and successful manufacturers know the importance of new product development. They keep their eyes open to read consumer pulse and fulfill their requirements instantly. If we consider our food habits, we can notice a great change in the recent past. Ready made products have emerged in large scale and there is a wide variety of junk food. Life style has become more hectic and people have less time to spend preparing nutritious food. The circumstance calls for new food product development.

New food product development is done by conducting market research to know what exactly consumers require. Food companies need capable management methods to make the process successful. Discussions on food, food products, management of food products, consumer demands etc has to be conducted during different levels of production, to get beneficial results. New food product development has to be done with care and perfection.
The profits, success and maintainability of a firm depend on the introduction of new products. New product development is divided in to two parts. The first part consists of bringing new products to market, which has fresh and new uses for the products. The second part consists of items which are not totally new but updated or improved forms of an already open product.

New product development is easier said than done. It is a procedure which takes much investigation and lots of time on the part of companies concerned. The company after doing a lot of research to know the consumer needs finally decides on an idea. The idea has to be then switched to a concept. Research is again conducted to understand the characteristics of the item and its viability. Calculating the cost of the product to be launched is the next vital step.

Customer is King and the feed back of customers is utmost important to the success of any company. After the assessment of the item a sample is produced. It is marketed and modifications which are necessary are made. Before the production of the new product begins, a final assessment of expense, production requirement and resource availability has to be conducted.

Advertisement is vital for the success of all products. Without proper advertisements you cannot reach out to customers. Every thing needed to promote products had to be done without fail. All of us are particular about the brand of the item we purchase. It is important a new product should have an impressive brand design that catches attention.

Choosing the Right Target Market for Your Specialty Food Product

Almost before you do anything else in creating your business and selling your food products, you need to identify WHO your target market, or your audience, is. Ask ten business people the question “who is your target market?” and eight of them will say something to the effect of “everyone can use my product or service.” That answer makes me want to scream because it indicates that either they really don’t know what they’re offering OR they’re (pick one) too lazy, greedy or fearful to create a useful client profile.

Everyone is NOT your target market and you need to choose who IS before you start making a lot of your other business building decisions. This is one of the benefits of running your own company. YOU get to decide with WHOM you want to work and sell to. Pricing, what your packaging will look like, the design of your logo, web site and marketing materials all depend on who your buyer(s) are.

Think, for example, how Mercedes markets its cars vs. how Chevy markets its trucks. Very different target audiences. Your product is no different. Is this an item that you see on your average grocery store shelf or is it a better fit for high-end gourmet specialty markets? Is your product gluten-free, sugar-free, or otherwise a good fit for a group of “special needs” consumers? Nothing is wrong or better about any of the answers you come up with; it’s a matter of creating a niche for yourself.

When I started my company, I decided to focus on serving the needs of business clients. Sure, I had a great-tasting cookie, but again, it wasn’t my intention to become “the next Mrs. Fields.” My goal was to work directly with business people who wanted to show appreciation for their clients or members. My definition of business clients was primarily those in the corporate world, although I also included associations and not-for-profit organizations. I was creating a gifting product, more than a common food item.

With that information, I could choose packaging that fit the needs and would be attractive to that audience. I could create a web site that would speak to them in a language they could relate to. I could write copy for and design marketing materials that made them comfortable with my company and confident that I would serve their needs.

Think what would have happened if I’d made all those decisions BEFORE I knew to whom I was talking! Let’s say your favorite colors are pink and purple, so you decide to create packaging in those colors. You use a funky typeface for the logo and wording. You design a cute cartoon character as your “mascot.” And you write a brochure highlighting the taste and nutritional benefits of your product. Then you send those brochures out to construction companies to encourage them to buy your product for holiday gifts to their clients. Um, putting all those elements together is not likely to work.

But, if your target audience is moms of toddlers and you’re promoting your product as great for birthday parties, then you have a much better match and are more likely to succeed.

Even your pricing will be affected by the target audience, and we’ll talk about that in more detail in another article. But suffice it to say that if you want to sell your food product to a grocery store, such as Publix, Kroger or Safeway, your pricing model is going to be different than if you are selling directly to the end user.

Do you see why and how deciding on the target market has to be first?

Now, I hear you, sitting there saying, but EVERYONE loves my hot sauce, granola, green onion chips. I can’t narrow it down to one target market. Yes, you can and you must, if you want to succeed. You don’t necessarily have to make it as narrow as saying women with blond hair, between the ages of 25-35 who go to spin class three times a week and drive BMWs.

So, think about how you see your product being used. If your product is a steak sauce, then obviously meat-eaters is a good start in the narrowing process. That vegetarians might possibly use it on potatoes is fine, but you are not going to focus on them. Keep going. Do you see men who consider themselves “grill-masters” buying this product? Where would they purchase it – at Wal-Mart or from a Williams-Sonoma catalog?

Confession time! Had I known better, I would have narrowed down my targeting even further and chosen one or two specific industries on which to focus. Doing this would have allowed me to even more specifically customize my marketing efforts for them, which in turn would build the business faster. As it turned out down the road, some of those industries kind of identified themselves when I started seeing more and more clients coming from them. And even then, I didn’t start niche marketing to them right away. Geez, I was a slow-learner. Learn from my mistakes, and narrow down your target market!

Labeling Food Products and Area Where Livestock Originated Considered

Out in California many consumers are concerned with what they are putting in their bodies. They are concerned with the food supply, and there is ample reason to be concerned. For instance, many of the products we have coming from China are less than adequate, especially fish. Further, many of the Fortune 500 companies and food processors buy active ingredients coming from China and elsewhere. How do we know all those ingredients are safe, remember, we are putting them into our bodies?

It isn’t like we’re talking about lead-based paint in toys, drywall with chemicals in it, or pet food. We are talking about even greater potentially serious health risks if the FDA does not inspect all of this stuff coming over as food products from all these other nations. It turns out they only inspect one to 2% of what comes over here from China. Of what they inspect as much as 60% is rejected, and realize I am not necessarily picking on China, it’s one of many countries American consumers buy food products or ingredients from.

You see, in the day and age of universal health care in the United States, we just can’t afford to take those risks, we can’t afford to, not even to mention the challenges with integrity of our food supply, and the ethical nature of this conversation.

Now then, there was an interesting article in the Business First Albuquerque on May 28, 2013 titled; “Mexico threatens trade measures,” by Gary Gerew. Okay so, let’s talk about this shall we?

It seems to me that Mexico is short-sided on this as people in the US will not boycott Mexican beef. We need the labels to prevent Chinese products from entering our shelves as China has no quality controls. Mexico will make more money later if they allow this. Further Mexican importers attempting to label imported Chinese food products and reprocessing them, must think twice otherwise the boycotts will be huge.

US citizens want quality and safety in their food, Mexico can produce that, and there is a huge market here, they should thus make money and do it right and not worry about the labels – heck 65% of the people in Los Angeles are Hispanic. The states of Texas and AZ are at 55% now – there is a huge market, don’t worry about it I say. Look at the opportunity and just the sheer numbers and demographics.

Did you know that Mexico has a port which was funded and built by the Chinese to bring in products? If you are a smart Mexican businessman you buy ingredients from China mix it with your own food products, and then send them to United States under a special NAFTA treaty which gives you preference. Again, let me ask who’s inspecting all of this stuff, and how do we know that Chinese food ingredients are not getting into our food inadvertently.

It is okay if there are Chinese ingredients, as long as they are inspected, and I do believe the consumer has the right to know. Why is it that small business people must list every single chemical they use in their business (OSHA Laws) and labor unions demand the right to know due to health risks, but we don’t have the same labeling criteria for the very food we feed our children, our family members, and the food we eat ourselves?

I want you to think about that. If it costs a little bit more to have safe and healthy ingredients, then that is the cost we’re going to have to pay, because we cannot afford additional healthcare costs down the road when you get sick, cancer, or come down with some other disease.