Recipe For Success: The Rise of Small Food Businesses & The Challenges They Face
Growing your small food business
Have you noticed something different about the shelves of your local grocery store in recent years? Where once it was a collection of household names and brands, these days, there are a lot more independents on view. There is clearly a demand for these smaller, niche brands, and artisanal foods are starting to appear everywhere.
It might be tempting, then, for the entrepreneur who has a few skills in the kitchen to enter this booming marketplace. The likes of Munchery, Farmigo, and even drinks companies like Brewdog prove you don’t need to be Mars or Heinz to achieve success in food and drink.
Before you rush off to your kitchen and whip up a best-selling dish, however, there are a few things you should know. There are an incredible number of challenges ahead of you. Each of them can impact your ability to get your new product idea from your head to the dining tables of America. Let’s take a closer look at some of the roadblocks that await.
It’s one thing to whip up an incredible sauce, meal, or jar of jam in your kitchen. But the costs of getting your food to the supermarket shelves can be exceptional. You’ll need somewhere to cook, for a start - kitted out with high-volume manufacturing equipment. You’ll need everything from a tube conveyor for processing, to enormous vats for storage and cooking. There are delivery costs and storage to think about, too. Also, the marketing costs won’t come cheap- far from it, in fact. Look at artisanal food, and you will see the expensive packaging and high-quality presentation, everywhere. It’s all added costs that you will need to consider.
You can create a perfect dish in the comfort of your home. But how do you replicate that flavor on a massive scale? And how will you keep your product tasting fresh, without spoiling the flavor with preservatives? Quality control is one of the biggest issues that small, niche food entrepreneurs will face. There is a big learning curve to climb for the new starter. Make sure you do your research before you invest a cent.
The raw ingredients
The big food companies have deep connections with the farming industry, where they source all their raw ingredients. And that might be bad news for you. The trouble is, your local farmer's market might be able to provide you with everything you need on a small scale. But when it comes to scaling up - even just a little - you won’t have the buying power to take on the bigger players. Finding a suitable producer who is big enough for your needs but too small for the food giants can be problematic. Again, it’s vital to explore your options before you get started, or you will struggle to meet demand when your product takes off.
Finally, make sure you know there is a market for your niche. Your product has to satisfy a direct need, whether it’s for nutritional purposes or a simple luxury food. It can take a long time to research and discover your target market, before creating the compelling message that all niche brands need to have.
Good luck with your idea - why not let me know how you get on?