With societal changes come opportunities and one of the markets ripe for opportunity is food. Whether you're an experienced entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or someone new to the scene who wants to fulfil a need, these five simple tips for launching a new food product quickly can help.
1. Know your market
The current climate is as much of a challenge as it is an opportunity. If you're planning to launch a new food product, you need to perform more market research than usual. Is there a need or demand for your new product? Does it offer something existing products do not? Can the new product cope with societal changes like lockdown? Will it still appeal when life returns to normal?
It's easy to get excited about an amazing idea and rush it to market but unless you perform due diligence, you might miss a trick.
Use online surveys, social media, news on food trends, polls and outreach programs to decide whether the market is ready for your new idea. Each can be performed quickly, with instant feedback for little effort.
If your target market doesn't use social media, you will have to engage with them in other ways which will take longer but still deliver results. Either way, the more you understand your market, the more you can deliver what they need.
2. Know your product
Having a great idea that works in the kitchen or on a small scale does not mean it will be a hit when you're scaling up. Consider the ingredients, manufacturing process and packaging. Consider any special storage requirements, distribution, shelf life and waste. All will need to be factored into your new venture.
Knowing whether your product can easily scale up or whether you will need to substitute ingredients for scale in advance could save a lot of time and money later. Some ingredients simply won't scale such as those that are hard to process, expensive or need special handling.
Once finalised, lock down your supply chain and ensure the producers you work with can sustain consistent quality throughout the different buying and growing seasons. Source backup suppliers if you have any doubts whatsoever.
3. Comply or die
The British food industry is heavily regulated and for good reason. One key challenge when launching a new food product, especially if you're new to the industry, is knowing what food safety and food labelling regulations you need to comply with.
Keeping your home kitchen clean and hygienic is easy but what about a commercial operation? What about when you're dealing with staff? Or scaling up from 1kg of an ingredient to 1000kg of it? Or when you're using multiple machines to produce your new product?
The shortest way to ensure you comply with food regulation is to pay an expert for advice. Yes, it costs money but employing a professional to ensure total compliance is a very good use of funds.
The same for labelling. Hiring a freelance food scientist can help identify all the requirements for food labelling and ensure compliance if your expert cannot perform this task.
4. Spend wisely
Talking of funds. Scaling up a home kitchen to a commercial kitchen can cost a huge amount of money. Sourcing a used stainless steel kitchen from a restaurant that has closed down can save a huge amount of money.
So can shopping savvy. Buying wheeled container trucks and plastic storage means you can utilise one product in a multitude of ways, across multiple lines.
One thing you're hopefully going to need to consider is satisfying increased demand. Can your existing processes cope with a surge in sales? Is your equipment able to be used for multiple lines? Is it easy to maintain? Are parts easily accessible and cost-effective?
Knowing the answers to these questions now can shorten the path to production significantly.
5. Keep the packaging simple
The more straightforward the packaging, the easier it will be to design and produce. Package design can take many months but if you can simplify it, you can shave a lot of time off that.
Consider using freelance marketplaces to find a product designer. You could feasibly have packaging designed and ready within just a few days. Make your requirements as clear as possible, select your designer carefully and you're good to go.
Next, work with packaging manufacturers to minimise plastic and keep the materials as sustainable as possible. It might cost more but the buying public has a huge appetite for sustainability. Deliver on that appetite and you give customers another reason to buy your new product.
Where there are challenges there is always opportunity. As long as you plan as thoroughly as ever, delivering at pace is quite feasible. Hopefully, these tips will help!
Copyright 2020. Article made possible by Plastor, a plastic storage container supplier and manufacturer with almost 30 years of industry experience.