Use "Foodie Sites" to Re-energize your Business
- [Voiceover] "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." That old saying is catchy, but not necessarily applicable for food businesses.
Being the best does not ensure you will have strong sales because there are so many products on the market.
However, with research and a market driven strategy, you can build and maintain a successful food business.
A market driven strategy is characterized by three ideas.
First, identify a specific group of people who have a shared interest or heritage that impacts their selection of food.
Then, learn what is important to these consumers.
Finally, design products or services that satisfy a particular market segment's wants and needs.
You must also understand a product's life cycle to stay ahead of the emerging trends.
Almost no product lasts forever so it's imperative that you understand the four stages of the product life cycle.
The first stage is the introduction phase.
This is the stage where the product is launched.
At this point in the process, products are still being made in small batches which cost more per unit.
Promotional cost tend to be higher because you are spreading the word that your product exists.
It's typical for the business to have no or low profits at this stage, but projection show things will get better.
The second stage is the growth phase.
In this stage, people have begun to buy at a rate that allows for ingredients, packaging, and labeling to be bought at wholesale.
Promotional budgets also decline at this stage because consumers are aware or becoming aware of your product.
Most businesses find this is a good place to be because profits are up and energy is high.
Next, is the maturity phase.
This stage is marked with higher sales and even lower advertising costs.
While business stress may be at a minimum, do not grow complacent.
Competitors will recognize your success and begin to copy your products.
This can lead to fewer sales and more unsold inventory on your shelf.
The fourth and final stage of the product life cycle is decline.
No, it's not an if, but a when the product will begin to decline.
This is where you return to the third step of your market strategy.
Designing new products or revitalizing existing products for your already established target customers.
As your options seem to narrow, you must find ways to make your products seem fresh and new.
One way is to learn about cutting edge food ideas through online research.
For the next few minutes, we will take a look at three resources.
Epicurious, New Hope 360, and Supermarket Guru.
Epicurious is a digital brand for consumers.
As a business, you may be able to use an idea that you find on their site to add value to your already existing products.
For example, if you have been selling fresh and dried herbs at the local farmer's market, you may want to begin offering herbal water for sale to patrons.
Do so only after verifying the food safety regulations for point of purchase items at your farmer's market.
Another option, provide recipes that encourage your customer to use it all by adding leftover herbs and vegetable peels to water pitchers in home kitchens.
This simple, but unique addition may offer a competitive difference that stays off decline while you move off to a new line of products.
While researching you may come across an article about a particular product like this one about spring onions.
This article describes what to look for when selecting the seasonal specialty.
It also includes a recipe.
From this page you might get a couple of ideas.
For example, your customers may need help selecting spring onions.
Talking to customers or posting signs telling what to look for in an onion may help you make a sale.
By providing the recipe you could end up selling other products; say, chives, because the recipe includes more than one farm-fresh ingredient.
Our last stop on Epicurious is trending topics.
Here we learn what is new and different in the food world.
A recent post about the consumer's interest in quinoa could help you sell more vegetables.
Even if you end up purchasing quinoa to sell at your farm market, having this product available with recipes will help you sell more peppers, butternut squash, turnips, and green beans.
You'll easily be able to revitalize your business by pairing old agricultural favorites with new, exciting ingredients.
Another good source for trending food news is New Hope 360.
New Hope 360 is a digital source for natural and organic products.
Here, you can learn about up and coming products like Clif's new organic energy food line which has been nominated for a Nextie award at the Expo West.
Our third source for information comes from Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert, who regularly reports on consumer trends.
Lempert also focuses on merchandising insights.
He recently posted a three minute video titled, "The Power of Produce." On this website, you learn that by stocking some simple, complementary items with your veggies and fruits, you have reinvented your farmer's market stand to rival the grocery store's deli for one-stop meal ideas.
Could you have a successful business without all this research and change?
However, you must remember that all products and services do experience a life cycle.
It's not just matter of your product being better.
You can spend time, energy, and money staving off the decline, hoping that you could sell enough to plateau.
Or you could spend your time, energy, and money researching how you can create new products or market in new ways that will catch the imagination of your target market.
These suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg in online resources.
By gleaning the new and exciting trends in food from Epicurious, New Hope 360, and Supermarket Guru, you will certainly be on the right path to reinvention and a more sustainable, profitable business.