5 things you need to consider before you start your food business

So, you want to start a food business?

You are one of the thousands of people that start food businesses in Australia every year. Food and Beverages are the fastest growing industry in this country and it has never been easier to start selling your food products. Let me tell you, there has never been a better time to join the industry!

Maybe you have a secret family recipe handed down through the generations. Or perhaps your friends and family are always telling you how amazing your cupcakes are. No matter what kind of food product you want to create, there are 5 things you must consider before you begin

1) WHY DO YOU WANT TO START A FOOD BUSINESS?

What motivates you to start your own food business? Are you passionate about food? Do you want to support your family? Or maybe you want to leave the corporate world behind and begin a new lifestyle. Identify your WHY, the things that motivate you and drive your passion for your food venture

2) WHERE WILL YOU MANUFACTURE YOUR PRODUCTS?

There are three ways in which you can manufacture food - at home, in a commercial kitchen or through contract manufacturing. Which method you choose will depend on your product itself and the stage of business you are in. Most food entrepreneurs will choose to manufacture at home or in a commercial kitchen initially before they contract out the manufacturing to gain efficiencies in cost and scale

Before you start, here are a few things to check

  • Is your home kitchen suitable for cooking and selling food? Tip - call your local council and find out what you need to do to be compliant. Your local council may send an inspector check your premises and advise you on what steps you need to take to prepare food for sale in your home kitchen

  • Have you protected your IP? Before you share your secret recipe with a manufacturer, make sure you sign a non disclosure agreement. If your manufacturer is developing the recipe for you, make sure you understand who owns the IP for the product

  • Here is a great free resource if you want to start your new food venture from your home kitchen: https://syfb-free-guide.gr8.com/

3) WHO IS YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER?

Before you start selling your food products you need to first identify who you want to sell to. Is your product geared towards health-conscious millennials? Or maybe you make healthy organic baby food and your target customer is the modern mum.

Build a profile of your customers, even if you don't have any yet! By identifying and understanding your customers, you can assess their needs and determine whether your food product will meet those needs. By identifying your target market, its demographics, and its buying and spending habits, you can focus your marketing and advertising efforts more effectively and tailor your product to increase the appeal to your desired customers. This information helps to drive your marketing strategy, promotional design, and sales process.

4) WHAT MAKES YOUR PRODUCT SPECIAL?

For your prospective customers to purchase your products, they need to feel it’s solving a problem in some way. Broadly speaking, a food product solves the problem of being hungry; but that’s only scratching the surface. Let’s take comfort food such as biscuits or potato chips for example. They solve the problem of being hungry, but they also solve the problem of temporarily increasing a consumer’s well-being. On many occasions, someone will seek out a product of that kind because they want to feel better.

So it’s important to determine which problems your product solves and how it does so in a different way to your competitors. Then you need to determine the best way of communicating that to your target market.

5) HOW WILL YOU SELL YOUR PRODUCTS?

To start selling your products, you need to brand and market it well. Consult with a branding professional and a food consultant to ensure you are on the right track!

There are many ways in which food products can be sold. Some of these are online, B2B, B2C and retail stores. You are surely familiar with these. But have you considered paid online ads, cooking classes, food experiences and other such ways to market your products and generate sales?

Use the internet and social media to your advantage with a snappy website and active social profiles. Post regularly on Facebook, Instagram or whichever platform your customers use the most. Everyone first looks online so it is important to have a strong social and online presence.

Starting a food business is going to be hard work, do doubt about that. However, if you are passionate about creating and sharing great food then it is a highly rewarding career. Patience and hard work are key. As a food business, you must also always innovate - study your market, know your customer’s needs and always aim to be ahead of the curve. Good luck with your new venture!

BIO: Megna Murali is the co-founder of Start Your Food Business (https://startyourfoodbusiness.com.au), Australia’s premier food business consultancy. Her goal is to help food business owners overcome the barriers to success through business development, coaching, and intelligent planning. Through one-on-one coaching and online courses, Megna can help prospective and existing food business owners overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of business success