Published 9th June 2021 in Curry Life
Over the years I have met many budding entrepreneurs wanting to bring their dreams to life and start up a food & beverage (F&8) business. I have seen Innovative and exciting ideas with great potential, some targeted at the British love of curry. I’ve also seen quite a few that made no sense at all.
Every business needs money to start and the food and drink industry is no different In fact. it can suck up a lot more cash than many other sectors. So, forget any idea you might have about starting a food business on a shoestring.
You need to establish that you have a good chance of success, the funds to see the whole process through and that you aren’t risking your life savings to do so, If that isn’t the case, then perhaps you need a rethink and return to the ‘drawing board’. Don’t get started unless you are clear about what it will take and you are committed to following through.
If you are ready and determined to go ahead, the first step is to find an experienced professional to help you – starting in this industry without prior knowledge and experience IS a recipe for disaster.
It’s just as important to carry out research before you do anything; the more knowledgeable you are about the market and the industry. the better your chances of launching and surviving-
Far too many startsups try to cut comers and do everything themselves. To date$ I haven’t seen a single one of those survive. So, who are the key professionals you’ll need to support you?
Get a recipe developer on board
The tasty reape you make at home may be full of exciting flavours and spices, however. it’s unlikely to transfer to the factory for mass production. You must find a recipe developer to translate your mix into a simple recipe that can be mass produced-
There are several elements you also need to take into consideration, including the nutritional information required on the packaging, and the legality of the ingredients. Not all ingredients are allowed.
To understand more on this, you will need to take Into account the ‘Novel Food’ regulations which refer to foods which have not been widely consumed by people in the LIK or European Union (ELI) before May 1997. You also need to know the health and taxation issues surrounding sugar levels – something that could be important for savoury curries as well as obviously sweet desserts.
Your recipe developer can help you With all of this. To find one. do your research$ speak to previous clients and trust your gut- Remember customers buy for health and return for taste, so it’s very important you get the best taste possible, Also. avoid preservatives – todays consumer is more conscious than ever about health and well-being.
Choose the right packaging
Deciding on the packaging is crucial to moving forward and there are a few options: glass PET (plastic)i cans or Tetra Pak.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you have a drink product: Glass is cheap to produce as it can be filled in small runs because the material can cope with high temperatures of pasteurisation.
However; the weight is a disadvantage as is the risk of breakage in transit or in store, PET (plastic) has lost popularity since the campaign against Hot fill’ which can be completed in small runs but requires thick unattractive packaging to withstand the high temperatures the product is filled at: Aseptic’ (which means free from contamination}; which must be completed in high volumes due to the aseptic area the drink is filled in. It’s very expenses with only a six-month ambient shelf life- ‘HPP’ or ‘High-Pressure Processing’ is more suited to juices as you can utilise the pressure of cold water to kill any bacteria. Again, this is very expensive. However, this style of packaging IS Ideal for juices due to its retainment of flavour and antioxidants.
With Tetra Pak. the advantage is that It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes however, it is very expensive for start-ups – the minimum run being 100,000 units per flavour. With 75% of the world’s aluminium now being recyclable, cans are the mast popular format of packaging on the market With runs as low as 1000 litres, and the option of filling blank cans to be labelled later, overall costs can be kept down. They re also much easier to transport and have a two-year shelf life. Be clear with your branding When it comes to communicating your food or drink proposition to your target consumer, avoid cutting corners.
There is a big difference between a designer with technical skills. and a brand consultant who can speak to your target market through the mes=aging on your packaging design.
Effective branding is not just about a fancy logo. For a new brand the name or logo means nothing to a consumer until it is fully established with years of business success behind it. Your product must clearly and simply showcase its point of difference and its advantages over the competition- This is much more important than your logic Focus on what you want to tell your target consumer. not on the design you think is attractive.
Do not cut corners here as 90% of a first sale is the branding- If this isn’t right you can have the best tasting product in the world, but no one will pick it up off the shelf so no one will ever know-
Establish an online presence
Many F&8 start-ups forget to budget for marketing materials and websites yet It is both essential and costly. Getting professional help can make a real difference. Getting your website right is important as it is your shop window to the world. In your product’s early days. it is used mainly as a showcase to trade buyers looking into your brand. but once you launch to consumers it will also need to be your online shop. It is an important tool that will help generate online sales and explain to customers why they should buy into your brand.
In addition. you’ll need to budget for sample boxes and other marketing material- Everything adds up so allow a little more to cover the unexpected. You’ll also need to budget for PR, social media and possibly online advertising too.
Eye up the costs
Recipe development, packaging, branding, website and marketing to take you to the launch will easily cost you in excess of E35000. Once you launch then there will be additional costs to consider and don’t for a moment think that sales will fund these – in the short-term that IS very unlikely. especially as many wholesalers have long payment terms. lf you don’t have or can’t afford to lose, at least ask then my recommendation would be to spend your money elsewhere,
Like all new businesses only one in 10 survive. Launching a new F&B product is a long. slow journey. When you see successful brands out there, it hasn’t been Instant and they will have used up a lot more than their initial investment before they came onto yours or anyone else’s radar.
From my own experience with my brand. I never made a penny, let alone drew a salary for the first five years – despite the product being sold successfully all over the world. Any profit I made I sank straight into marketing. However. I made an excellent return when the brand was bought by a
Dutch billionaire. So, make sure you plan your budget, seek professional advice, be prepared for any additional costs and don’t expect an income right away. Cet all of these right and you’ll be ready for your brand to take on the world.