I met with a new client, a woman foodpreneur who wanted to pursue her passion in selling a very unique bakery product. I can divulge the product due to client confidentiality but it truly was unique. I even did some Google research and was not finding a commercial version of her product.
Her product is seasonal so we decided that she should view the 4th quarter as her prototype phase and will learn a great deal when the holiday season is complete. This will allow her to start 2013 and plan a new product launch.
After we completed our 2 hour session, I gave her my recommendations. After reading these recommendations I realized they were issues that most food entrepreneurs are facing and will find helpful in their journey from kitchen to the shelf to the consumer's plate.
You need to create a positioning statement first. This will be the foundation for your marketing plan, package design, web design, point of sale, etc. I suggested she create a positioning statement using the construct in My 5 Steps to a Positioning Statement . She will work with it for a week and send me her draft for discussion. May be she may share this with us so you can see what a real positioning statement looks like.
Working with Your Bakery
Determine if the bakery will let you bake in home or use their kitchen facility. Many states do not the commercial sale of product produced in a home kitchen. Agree on logistical issues such as delivery times and days, quantities per order, frequency, billing, etc. Also determine if the bakery will allow you to create in-store point of sale to direct consumer attention to your product.
Competition and Price Points
Do some "research by driving around" to gather information on competitive products and price points. Since it is not likely you will find a product exactly like yours, your pricing should be higher than the competition since your product is differentiated. You might ask the baker for his input on suggested pricing. Doing this helps you price your product for success.
Convert your Recipe to a Bill of Materials
Create a bill of materials from your recipe to calculate your batch costs. Start-up costs are always higher and this will come down in time by purchasing larger quantities as you scale larger. Do this in a spreadsheet and use weights vs. volumetric measurements in order to accurately arrive at a batch cost.
In all likelihood one of the bakery suppliers sells packaging. To expedite this process, you can meet with a supplier to select standard packaging. The packaging you select now will be used to prototype your product during the upcoming holiday season. The packaging will change as you move from feasibility to scale-up. Select the packaging you feel best presents your product.
You will need a label for you product. When you finalize your positioning statement, you can engage a graphics person to design a label that "communicates" your positioning statement. Since you are not selling in supermarkets, you will only need a basic design and this will save you money during this feasibility phase. I do not recommend engaging a packaging designer now since your product and packaging will change after your initial trial during this holiday season.
It may seem premature; however, you want to start writing about your product so consider a brand Facebook page and a Wordpress or Blogger platform, both are free. We did not cover social media in any detail however Content Marketing is by far the best way for brands to initiate consumer trial and strong word of mouth. I suggest this be a separate discussion.
This is not needed now and I recommend you spend some time creating a business pitch. You can follow the format I have at Creating a Small Food Business Pitch . This pitch will be your gateway to a feasibility analysis and your eventual product marketing plan for 2013.
More Tolls for Small Food Businesses
Here is a template to create a Small Business Pitch to raise capital or obtain a loan.
A basic process to establishProduct and Business Feasibility