Cartmell Design News Archive

Marketing a New Food Product

Nick Cartmell - Monday, September 08, 2014

You know how to make great product. Your family loves it. Your friends tell you it is the best they have ever tasted. You are considering taking it to the next level. How do you go about it? 


Cooking in your kitchen at home is one thing, but manufacturing a product selling it in a retail outlet is another. You may think that it is an unachievable dream, but it’s not. By taking small, considered steps, you can make that dream a reality. 


There are a number of things to think about though. Firstly, you need to know if there is a demand for your product. It is important to have a look at what is already out there. Ok, so your product might be superior in taste, but you still need to know what you are up against. Your aim is to find out if there is a consumer base for your product. If there is a lot of competition already, you will need to think about what you can offer that is different. 


Start small. Make your product and get it out there. Places like Farmer’s Markets are great for starting out. However, if you don’t think you will find your target audience there look for other venues, for example school fairs and church fetes. Talk to people. Ask them what they think about your product. Listen. You can also set up a poll using your social media to help you find out preferences and tastes. 


From here, if your product starts to take off, you may find that you can no longer keep up with demand from your own home. It may be time to think about renting some kitchen space. You can also approach manufacturers to ask them to produce your product for you. Be sure to educate yourself first about the legalities and legislation of food manufacturing and food hygiene. If you are going down the manufacturer route, identify more than one in case you need a backup. Make sure you cover all the legal issues, in particular ownership of your recipe. 


Once you have secured the finances to take your product further, it is time to think big. Marketing your product well can mean the difference between success and failure. Do not be naïve enough to think that all you have to do is to put your product out there and people will buy it. You have to make them believe that you are offering them something more, something unique or something with its own story. This may seem like an impossible task, but it is not. There are a number of things to consider though: 


Packaging – how you present your product is critical. Presuming you know who your target audience is, your packaging is one of the key ways that you are going to attract them. Don’t design your packaging around your own tastes; think about how best to make it appeal to those who you want to buy it. Functionality is another consideration. How will this benefit the product you are offering? Can you use this as a selling point? Be aware of making any claims. Are they legal? Can you back them up? You will also need to ensure your product follows the correct procedures in terms of nutritional labelling. 


Price – it is not always easy to choose the right price for your product. One factor is where you are planning to sell it (gourmet independents as oppose to supermarkets). In an independent, you can expect people to pay more. A supermarket, on the other hand, may dictate the price on your behalf. 


Supporting your product with strong marketing tactics is an essential part of the process. Be prepared to offer point of sale sampling, money-off vouchers and special offers. This will all help to get your product noticed. Back this up with a smart website and make sure you have a strong social media presence. 


Quality assurance - making your product in a kitchen is very different to large-scale manufacturing. You may find that your recipe needs some alteration, in order to produce the same quality product that you created at home. You also need to consider the shelf life of your product, not only in terms of labelling, but also in testing the design of your packaging. Specialist help at this stage is important. Sensory testing for quality assurance and shelf life purposes will help you to reproduce the quality product that you first created but on a larger scale. 


Yes, the route to market is long and complicated, but not to us. We are a design agency, offering a complete range of solutions to help you along every step of the way. From the initial concept design, to packaging, labelling, sensory testing, branding and marketing, we have everything covered. We can even design and build you a website and manage your social media campaigns. Our specialism is the food industry, so talk to us and find out what we can do for you.
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