In the Sierra Foothills, Artisan Purveyors pop up around every corner. Take Side Hill Citrus, a small Mandarin grower, with a roadside stand in Newcastle, Ca. Their Mandarins are sweeter than you can imagine, because they are dedicated to quality. But for the most part, the natural sweetness of food is being extracted from food products as large companies merge and accountants go to work to trim the fat that cuts into profits.
The last sentence of the BBC News article referring to the closing of 6 Heinz food plants was the most important: The Company is controlled by the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, which is known for trimming costs.
Since their merger in July, Kraft Heinz has become the third largest food manufacturer in the United States and has been closing plants and cutting jobs faster than the giants fill Ketchup bottles with high fructose corn syrup. And as Investment firms continue to scout for food acquisitions more food giants will be trimming costs.
That’s great news for Artisan Purveyors attempting to launch products and expand lines and brands. Along with great news, there is also good and bad news.
First, the bad news. Let’s get it out of the way: All Artisan Purveyors face the same challenges when planning to launch a new product. The good news: With a solid business plan, complimented by a strategic marketing plan the challenges can be addressed before they become problems.
When we first began Foodie Tout we were contacted by numerous individuals on daily basis seeking advice on how to bring their products to market, how to set up distribution channels, and how to develop a pricing model that would work out to be profitable rather than costly.
After our first year we had consulted with twenty companies, some in start-up mode, others established and either preparing to launch a product, or attempting to expand and accelerate their brands.
Since repurposing Mad Wills to Purveyors Kitchen in January, our weekly calls have increased substantially and all have one thing in common: each is seeking answers to questions on how to make their business grow. And in one of the most highly competitive industries in the world, this is a tough task. On Kickstarter alone there is over 18,000 food projects seeking funding. It would be interesting to know how many actually have a business plan in place defining their next steps.
In order to launch successfully and to assure growth is to develop a strong foundation to build upon. And the cornerstone of that foundation is your business plan. Many people assume the business plan is a tool to raise capital. And it is. But more importantly the biz plan is your treasure map that sets your course through the various stages of product launch and brand growth.
More frequently than not, culinary artists base their goals and projections on “going national”. And while getting into national distribution is a realistic goal, it does not happen overnight and is a costly proposition. While there is a standard process for getting on the national grocers’ shelf, a much better option is to take a regional approach to distribution. But first a reality check.
Launching a product in today’s competitive food world is difficult.
The rapid emergence of the artisan purveyor market has increased the competition between culinary creators while attracting out of the box thinkers who are developing superior, healthier products than ever before in the history of food.
And with those new products comes amazing success stories. Unfortunately, rapid success is not the norm. But it is becoming easier to find small batch manufacturers on your grocer’s shelves.
While creative folks continue to experiment with flavors and develop products, investment bankers will continue to sharpen their pencils and trim costs.
The closing of production facilities comes first. Then the employee reduction plan is implemented. And finally the accounts take their sharpened pencils to the ingredient decks, while trimming costs and quality making this a perfect time for the emerging artisan purveyor to grow.