Thinking of launching a new food product without a clue where to start? Maxime Pico prepared for you a comprehensive step-by-step instruction which will guide you along the way from setting a goal to getting ready for retail.
This is the second part of the guide. Read the first part of the guide here.
It should depend on your target audience and be clear by now.
Here are a few possibilities:
If you can, add online to the mix in order to have a direct connection with the customer. It could be:
Remember that these channels can evolve over time with your business, the important is to have the right channel for your current sales goals.
Note: Again, it’s hard to tell whether 7a should come before 7b or whether they should be done sequentially or simultaneously. Typically, if you have enough available funds, setting up production could show the investor momentum and allow you to raise more easily. On the other hand, raising money could help convince the different suppliers and get better deals with them right from the start.
Once the product and channels are defined, it’s time to go one step further with setting up the production:
7a.1 Engage a food scientist or product developer to offer high-level advice as to what’s needed to manufacture a product at a commercial scale
7a.2 Draft a detailed project overview that can be shared with the co-packer including (get the help of the development expert for that step):
7a.3 Share the project overview with an accompanying brief email to a targeted list of co-packers. Avoid asking questions you can answer yourself
7a.4 Select a co-packer:
7a.5 Begin to source ingredients
7a.6 Register your production with local authorities
7a.7 Start making samples for tastings
Note: forcing NDAs at the earliest stages seems to have a low payoff, only do that when the discussion gets serious (“Sign something once you’ve got a foot in the door, not still begging to be let inside”)
7b.1 Before you raise funds, write a business plan that covers:
7b.2 Write an executive summary for the above business plan
7b.3 Build a pitch deck
7b.4 Remember that several options are available for raising funds (grants, bank loans, venture capital, business angels, love money, crowdfunding…)
7b.5 If you go with investors:
7b.6 If you go with love money make sure everyone understands what they are agreeing to and that the agreements are on paper
This video from Virgin StartUp has some additional information on that part:
Note: When it comes to going through the prioritised list, there are a few possible strategies. You could go from Top-to-Bottom, trying as hard as you can with the top ones until you go to the next ones. Or you could go Bottom-to-Top in order to schedule a meeting with the most important investor in the end and practice your pitch with less important investors. You could also use a mix of both of these strategies.
Once you start making samples, it’s time to perfect the recipe:
8a. When working with the co-packer, make sure that:
8b. Solicit the feedback of unbiased, candid third parties:
Note: Value any certified sommelier’s opinion 10x
Note: Retail is not the only path forward, but we suggest to go through this list nevertheless, as retail requirements are relevant for everyone and there are high chances that you’ll hit retail stores at some point.
Quality assurance and category managers will look into the following factor to make a decision about your product:
9a. A detailed description of who the end consumer is
Including, but not restricted to:
9b. A clear description of what you bring:
9c. A proof of marketability towards the end consumer which can be acquired through focus group studies and/or surveys.
It should answer these questions:
9d. A clear description of the product and specific requirements on how it should be stored
9e. A clear description of the HACCP-concept, preferably from an external certification following the GFSI (global food safety initiative) requirements or any other local market requirements applicable to your case
9f. All food safety and legal requirements certifications from relevant certifiers
9g. Certifications that support product claims, e.g: Bio, Fairtrade, Vegan etc.
9h. Opinions from consultants on product claims that do not fall under a specific certification, e.g. “rich in protein”
9i. Production capacities estimated with your co-packer
Do one or more of these, when possible get the help of the co-packer and other partners:
Note: Be very careful with payment terms (30–60–90 days) when signing a contract. As a supplier you’ll need to invest money in manufacturing the product and give it out to your customers before you cash-in their payment. This can create a cash-flow problem if you do not have enough liquidity to finance your next production batch.
Retailers want to stay in contact with the brands on a proactive and ongoing basis so make sure that you:
11a. Set up a clear process for keeping all the retailers up to date
11b. Get their feedback regularly
11c. Be very careful when it comes to overproducing
Aaaaand done, your product is on the market! That’s a lot on our plate!
Of course, there might be some things we forgot for some specific cases or others that you’ll have to skip. But this should work as a rough guideline.
A big chunk of the content is there thanks to the NX-Food blog. Here are the articles I used:
I also tapped into the Food + Tech Connect resources Food + Tech Connect is the largest food innovation community. Thanks to Ryan Williams for his article:
Start With Where: Steps to Food & Beverage Product Development
I took also one or two ideas from a post on Startups.co.uk:
How to Start a Food Production Business
I took some notes while watching a video from the Virgin StartUp Youtube channel:
How to Start a Food Business — The Practical Stuff
And finally, I watched a live webinar from The Food Business Schoolwhere Diane Mina, founder of Diane’s Bloody Mary, was interviewed. The Food Business School is the world’s first business school for food entrepreneurship and innovation, launched by the Culinary Institute of America.
In total transparency, I and my friend Wilhelm added our pinch of salt to the mix. I’m currently a freelancer helping companies build products that people LOVE and ex-MD of a startup accelerator in Paris and Wilhelm works in the food industry.
Last but not least, if you’re interested in knowing more about what the future of sustainable food will look like and learning more about the product we are working on, subscribe to our updates on this page.
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