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.

Understanding The Basics of Food Product Development

If you are not fully conversant about all the details regarding new food product development, then you are probably wondering what it actually is? Why is it necessary to create new products, as well as why companies feel the need to improve on a product once it has been released to the general public.

So what is product development?

The answer to these questions are actually quite simple, and they relate to the fact that humans need change, and what is good now is not always going to be good in the near future. Basically, every product, be it food related or leisure and clothing related fails to impress the general public after a certain amount of time, and for that reason, a product will need to be either replaced, or spruced up a little.

Market research is crucial

Good companies with years of experience in marketing products to the general public will be fully aware that they will need to develop new products, and they will know exactly what the consumer wants because they would have spent time and money on market research. Food companies in particular are constantly changing or developing new products in line with the forever changing tastes of the consumer. This is for the reason that the tastes of the general public is always changing and food companies always have to develop new products. So new product development has to be completed with due care and with an eye for detail because the continued success of a company largely depends on the company’s ability to produce new, interesting and varied products to the market place.

Difficulties with new product development

The problem with new product development is that it is not always straight forward, and in fact if it is done badly, then it can actually harm the profits and profile of the company, and some of the biggest global companies have got things spectacularly wrong in the past. All this is because they have got the market research wrong or have decided to not actually do any market research and have got complacent with thinking that the general public will but any product that they bring out.

Advertising the new product is crucial for the success of any new product and without a decent advertising campaign no new product is going to be a success and this has the potential to harm the profits of a company in the long term.

Ayurvedic Food Products: All About Them and More

Ayurveda is a five thousand-year old phenomenon, which has its roots in India. It is a science based on the very popular principle that each and every animate and inanimate being is actually the result of the five basic elements- namely- Water, Fire, Sky, Earth and Air. The basic purpose behind Ayurvedic practices is to strike a balance between these elements and a resultant unison of mind, body and soul.

All you need to find out about Ayurveda and more

Ayurvedic practitioners earnestly believe that “We are what we eat”. Since time immemorial, they have constantly been emphasizing on the importance of proper nutrition. They believe that most of the illnesses suffered by us spring from the lack of proper nutrition. In fact, thousands of years ago, any incongruity in our bodies was attributed to problems in our digestive system. As such, it was extremely important to report each and every scale of digestive problem – not undermining even the minutest of discrepancies.

This, perhaps, is the reason why Ayurveda does not distinguish between food and medicine. They believe that it is the lack of nutrition-rich diet, which causes most of the health problems. Acquainting yourself with the most common attributes of ayurvedic food, will help you understand why it is considered to be so healthy:

These food products are rich in minerals that fill the body with the right amount of energy – thereby keeping your body radiant and energetic

  • They are low in fat. They help you maintain a desirable (not too much or too less) amount of weight
  • They include spices such as ginger, garlic, cumin, black pepper and cayenne. Proteins are easily assimilated into the body
  • Organic food renders strength and vitality

If you have recently embarked on an ayurvedic diet then you should be sagacious enough to find the right Ayurvedic Food Products Manufacturers. The benefits of these food products are widely known today. Thanks to the ever growing health consciousness among individuals, in general, the demand for these products has surged over the years as well. Needless to say, the marked rise in demand has also given birth to a number of manufacturers and suppliers as well. However, you need to remember that not all these manufacturers are backed by similar kind of reputation and credentials. Not all of them have satisfactory reviews backing their claims.

How should you go about finding reliable manufacturers of these products?

So, kindly ensure that you’re doing all that you can when it comes to finding out about the true credentials of the manufacturers before buying from them. Don’t buy products just because they’re being sold under the label of ayurveda. Do consider the fact that there is no dearth of fraudsters trying to pass off low quality products as apparently quality herbal stuff. Do not fall for their trap. Avoid getting befooled. Keeping the tips mentioned above in view will definitely help you. Make sure you’re conducting both online and offline background research and making a choice in accordance.