You walk into the grocery store, list in hand. You look down at the first item on your list. Let’s say it’s “cereal” — simple enough. You walk to the aisle that stocks the cereal. Now here’s the question: which cereal do you pick? Which is the tastiest? Which is the healthiest? Which looks like something your picky three-year-old might enjoy? Which is trying a new and improved recipe? There are so many varieties, and it can be quite overwhelming.
Food product marketing is a constantly evolving business, and trends in the food market change as often as trends in the fashion industry. Which is exciting, but when you’re an entrepreneur with a line of food products that you believe in, how do you cut through the noise? Here are the top three challenges you will likely face when trying to stand out in the food industry:
Challenge #1: Branding
Let’s get right to it - the branding of your food product is just as important as the quality of the food you are producing, and from a sales perspective, maybe even more so. In this day and age of extremely specific consumer-based marketing, it is incredibly important to identify who needs your product and will want to buy it, why they would choose your product in particular, and then to come up with an inclusive branding strategy that takes into account logo design, color scheme, fonts, and graphic design for a complete package. For all of this, you will need to hire a custom label printer, like Corporate Graphic Solutions, to create all of your custom packaging. This may be common knowledge to an extent, but it is often overlooked and will set a lesser food company back. Don’t make the mistake many new food product lines make by skimping on marketing efforts early on!
Challenge #2: Where will You Sell?
A great food product is nothing if you haven’t planned out a way to get it into the hands (and mouths) of your consumers. You will need a place to sell your wares! Fortunately, technology allows multiple avenues in which to do this. Do your research on the many internet marketplaces, such as FoodyDirect, Goldbelly, etc. or consider creating your own fully branded e-commerce website for direct sales. Internet sales are key, and will also be where your eye-catching custom label printing will help your product stand out among the pages and pages of little squares on a computer screen. If you go the e-commerce route, make sure you have a packaging plan in place for when direct sales come through. You should also get to know local flea markets, food festivals, and food retailers who could purchase your products wholesale. If you have the capital, nothing beats your very own store! There are many options, so make sure you have one or a few of these in place before you launch your product.
Challenge #3: Knowing the Industry
Remember that major food production companies are constantly brainstorming new ideas, conducting research studies, and putting lots and lots of dollars into finding the exact niche market their next product will fill. If you have a product that is not currently being produced large-scale, it may be because major food industry names have not found a successful way to market a product like yours. (Natural Products Insider writes a wonderful, albeit blunt, piece on this major point). We would highly recommend hiring a consultant early on in the process to help you do the right research, develop a detailed plan, and manufacture your products with the help of inside industry knowledge. They can also work with your marketing team to approve all custom packaging and custom label printing to ensure it is effective and unique. Consultants can be large firms or independent specialists, and you should look for one who has experience in assisting products similar to yours.
Breaking into the food industry with a fresh idea requires a massive amount of work both before and after product launch. If you’re smart, you won’t cut any corners and will respect the preparation, the upkeep, and the follow through required to stand out in a very large, highly competitive industry. Remember that in most successful businesses, you need a supportive and qualified team behind you, so start building that now. Find yourself a web developer, a food scientist, a custom label printer, and start taking the first steps to developing your brand, because you’re going into business!