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5 tips for Growing your Food Biz Fast!

June 14, 2016

At Food Starter we meet food entrepreneurs every day and one of the common frustrations we hear from early stage food business owners is that finding the right resources and tools to grow quickly and sustainably is difficult.

To help businesses that have proof of concept and want to take their food products from direct sales at Farmer’s Markets and Festivals to store shelves, we compiled this list of tips shared in our Development Stage Food Commercialization Program.

  1. Packaging: Choose packaging with an eye to the future. If you can’t afford the minimums on the ideal package, have mock ups made so that you can show retail buyers what you envision for our product in the future when you achieve volume sales.
  2. Regulatory: Learning what you can claim on food labels and what is required to sell your product to consumers can be confusing. Growing food businesses should set aside budget for regulatory professionals to verify that their labels are compliant with all legal requirements and communicate truthfully to consumers.
  3. Marketing Plan: Don’t worry about lack of funds. Time is a valuable investment when developing your food business. Find inexpensive tools like social media, content and special offers directed to a clearly defined target audience who will champion your product and ask for it in local stores.
  4. Quality Assurance & Food Safety: as you approach bigger chains, you’ll need to have verified food safety and quality systems in place. From HACCP plans to batch logs, growing food businesses need to become serious about safety and consistency if they want to sell to established retailers.
  5. Supply Chain: while paying a farmer cash for a bushel of apples may be okay when you first start as a food producer, as your business grows, you’ll need a steady, safe and reliable supply chain that can prove to you and your customers that the ingredients you use are exactly what is in your product. Create spec sheets and document where everything comes from and how it’s used to show retailers and consumers that your products can be trusted to be consistent and safe.

Want to learn more? Food Starter can help! Our Development Stage Food Commercialization Program offers seminars and workshops that explore these topics in depth. Taught by instructors from academic institutions such as Conestoga College and George Brown FIRSt as well as by industry professionals with real word experience at large food companies, this 13 week program offers a fast, inexpensive way to develop your fledgling food business into a growing, dynamic and profitable enterprise.  Find out if you’re eligible to join our Development Stage Food Commercialization Program!  Take our quiz that assesses your food business status and find out if our Development Stage Food Commercialization Program is right for you!