The Brand’s Value Proposition
Lycoberry is a line of functional flavor enhancers that make it easy for manufacturers to develop new products or reposition existing products to meet the needs of customers desiring innovative foods and beverages that are both healthy and indulgent.
Lycoberry products are designed for both retail and foodservice applications. One format is an additive that can be incorporated into beverages, smoothies, yogurts and a wide range of foods that require a sweet flavor imparted in the entire product. Another format is a topping that can enhance products such as refrigerated yogurts, frozen yogurts, smoothie bowls, etc. The product has been demonstrated to show seamless incorporation into existing products and production systems.
So let’s chat with Orin on his foodpreneur journey.
Orin, can you explain the technical details of Lycoberry
Our company is just rolling out a line of lycopene rich products which are completely unique in the market because they are based on the Autumn Olive (fruit) which grows domestically in the wild. 1 tablespoon of our raw puree product contains over 7mg of lycopene and has great sensory qualities with absolutely no additives. Currently, we are working with researchers at both the University of Connecticut and the NCSU Plants For Human Health Institute who are studying the berry independently.
At this time we are the only company in the US capable of supplying the berry at a commercial scale. Our optimism that the Lycoberry brand will gain wide recognition stems from its unique market appeal: a wholly new functional ingredient that provides a source of dietary lycopene which is organic, extremely concentrated, and sweet. Lycoberry, unlike tomato based products, enhance smoothies, sweet juices, seltzers, desserts, yogurt, and baked goods.
What was the lightbulb moment that drove you to develop Lycoberry?
We understood that people want to control their diets and embrace functional foods as an alternative to supplements. The high concentration of lycopene in the berries qualifies them as “functional” both as a food themselves and as an ingredient. Moreover, they're sweet not savory so they're a genuine alternative to the tomato.
What made you decide to seek help from The Foodpreneur in developing your food business?
I built a manufacturing operation before starting the food business and it was a steep learning curve. It was clear to me from the start that working with consultants, such as The Foodpreneur, was going to be a good investment. I think that finding people through Rutgers also gave me a sense that they were already vetted and in a network I could trust.
We read a lot about entrepreneurs need to understand pivoting (explain) and we have made changes to your concept. I have introduced this concept into your product development so can you give readers a few examples of changes that were significant in moving you along the path?
We always thought the products would be appealing but hadn't formulated a value proposition. By working through that and learning more about the distribution constraints we would initially face we were able to focus on developing some MVPs for specific targets.
At The Foodpreneur, we focus on developing the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in order to reduce capital expense and to expedite product launch. How has this helped you and what are a few examples of product development as a result of the MVP?
Our MVPs were the result of both constraints and projections. We were constrained by working with co-manufacturers(copackers and contract packers) who had processing capabilities we lacked. We projected that the product should be both convenient and very high in quality. The MVP gets the basic concept across but leaves us room to respond to feedback which is critical for any innovative product. MVP development also gives us a way of rehearsing the process from field to table.
What were some of things you have learned on your journey?
Marketing – We will need to educate both consumers and food service professionals so a focus on gaining credibility. Product Positioning to early adopters and opinion setters who want to “take a close look” will be important.
The Business Side of the Business – (We call this Practical Passion) Every decision has an opportunity cost and product development needs resources in many different areas so the budget must temper enthusiasm (MVP and sample program) and working with copackers makes the concept of minimums very important.
Distribution Channels: added complexity of cold-chain shipping.