Congratulations, you have a delicious food product that you want to sell to as many customers as possible? However, as you may have already guessed there is so much more that goes into creating and selling a successful food product than how it tastes. Indeed, to be successful, you have to get the business side of things right as well. Luckily, you can get some advice on five of the most crucial factors to consider when selling a food product, below.
Know your customers well
Chances are if you have a product in mind, you already have a good idea about your target demographic. However, knowing precisely what your ideal customer wants and needs goes way beyond supplying them with the right product. Indeed, your ideal customer profile should inform everything that your business does from setting the price point to marketing, packaging, and even what platforms you choose to sell on.
One of the very best ways of maximizing success with a food product is basing every decision you make around the needs of your customer.
With that in mind, collecting data that will help you to create a clear picture of who your ideal customer is and what they want is vital. Evidence is the keyword here too when in doubt be sure to carry out market research rather than just assuming you know what people want.
Carefully calculate your costs
The difference between cooking on an amateur level, and creating a food product for profit, is profit! That means you will need to carefully work out all the costs involved in getting your product in front of the customer. Especially as food products tend to have one of the lowest markups in the entire business world, which means you will make a profit by selling at volume.
Unfortunately, calculating an accurate cost for each unit can be tricky. After all, the price of different ingredients and various elements like packaging or delivery can chop and change. The good news is there are tools out there that can help you, from apps where you can input the price of each item in a recipe and then divide by the number in a batch, to linked spreadsheets that will track current prices for you and adjust your RRP accordingly.
The type of packaging you use
Another vital aspect to get right, when it comes to selling a food product is the packaging you use. This is because the packaging has to fulfil multiple roles including making sure your product looks good, represents your brand well, catches the eye of customers, and protects the contents inside.
It’s not always easy to decide which types of wrapping to choose for your product either, as, like these coffee packaging examples, there tends to be a wide range to pick from. Of course, identifying the things most important to your customer helps here, as you can then judge the quality of packing in terms of these. For example, if you know your customer wants to be able to keep your product fresh at home for the longest possible time, choosing vacuum-sealed packaging is a great choice. However, if you know that being able to see the product through the packaging so they can choose the individual unit they want is more important, clear plastic pouches or rigid packs will be a much better choice.
Your nutritional and allergen labels
We’re not talking about slapping on a sticker with your branding and logo here. Instead, labeling is all about fulfilling the regulations for your location concerning ingredients, allergens, and nutritional information.
In some locations, even the appearance of the label down to the font size you use is regulated. To that end, it’s important to work out ahead of time how much room any nutritional info labels will take on the packaging of your products ahead of time. It’s also crucial that you have a food scientist work out the nutritional makeup of your product properly so it’s accurately displayed on your label. Otherwise, you could end up in hot water before you have sold even a single unit.
The platform(s) you choose to sell on
There is a range of platforms to consider when selling a food product. The first of these is online, either by running an eShop or by selling via a ready-made platform like Etsy. Of course, if you are going to sell in this way there are a few things that are essential to your success. The first of these is having amazing product photos, add videos to your listings as well if you can. You may even want to use videos of the manufacturing process to help build trust and show transparency with your customers.
Next, when selling online you need to carefully consider your pipeline. This is because if you choose to pre-make items they may not sell before their best before date. However, if you choose to make them to-order this can cause a delay in getting them to the customer, which may put some people off. Although it’s worth noting that for most food and consumable businesses selling fresh goods online, the latter option seems to be the most popular. Just be sure to keep your customers informed as to the waiting time involved.
Selling your food products online is far from the only option to consider here. Indeed, many food-based businesses have also found success by selling either direct to the customer or by allowing stores to stock their products. Artisan products and out-of-town whole food shops (often combined with garden centers) are a match made in heaven.
One way to sell directly to your target audience is to opt for farmers’ markets, which are a much lower cost method than opening up a permanent shop. Additionally do not rule out the possibility of allowing retailers to stock your products, as this can greatly increase the number of people you can reach. Also, by having an arrangement with a retailer for a set amount each week or month, you can establish a regular income for your product.