Things you need to do as a food or drink start-up

Published on Author James Matthews

This is an enterpreneural effort in the food and drink industry.Hygiene is a priority and also a sales factor.The target market is those who like healthy living.

A startup company (startup or start-up) is an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing or offering an innovative product, process or service. A startup is usually a company such as a small business, a partnership or an organization designed to rapidly develop a scalable business model

You should do research to help you make the right decision about where and when to start the business,the season,the place and knowing the public tastes and preferences are some main points to consider for your business to be successfull.

There’s so much to think about when starting any new business, and if you’re a food or drink business, you’ve got to get on top of labelling and certification, as well as finances, marketing and the product itself. Don’t know where to start? Follow these 10 tips from food business gurus Jo Densley and Claire Hooper of Relish Marketing.

Running a food or drink business? Join Enterprise Nation’s food and drink focused small business trade mission to Paris on 27-28 March. Find out more here.

  1. Get on top of your finances

Maybe the least sexy area for some  but very important nonetheless. Are you going to be a limited company? VAT registered? What are the financial implications/benefits? Do you need an accountant? Most accountants will be willing to advise you on what you need to do without charging you at that stage so it’s worth a phone call. Also, how are you going to fund your business growth? Will you need to look at attracting investors to help you scale up in future? If so, now’s the time to be working on getting your brand established so you have a strong platform from which to approach them.


  1. Find out about your customers and market

This is critical, but don’t worry; it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Having a proper profile of who your customers are and what they want will allow you to make decisions about your brand based on evidence and understanding, rather than guess work or generalisations. You’ll need to be able to prove to retailers that there is demand for your products and that consumers like your brand; knowing them inside out will help you to tailor your product offering more accurately, too. Alongside your growing understanding of your customers, you’ll also need to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your market place, what your competitors are doing, how their pricing stacks up against your plans and the latest trends in food and shopper behaviour.

  1. Sort out your manufacturing and certification

If you target larger retailers, you’ll need to get your production site certified, so you can prove the food you make is safe and legal.Claire Hooper

You may well still be making your products in your kitchen, but you will need to think about where you will go to scale up the volume, as well as meeting regulatory requirements in terms of food safety and hygiene. It’s worth looking at production kitchens such as The Olive Grows as a possible first step. They’ll have all the relevant approvals in place so you can move up without having to commit to production runs.

Alternatively, if you#re looking to outsource straight away, the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association will be able to put you in touch with possible partners. At the same time, if you have plans to target larger retailers, you will need to start thinking about getting your production site certified by an appropriate body, so you can prove the food you make is safe and legal. SALSA certification is usually the best bet in the beginning. It’s only granted to suppliers who are able to demonstrate to an auditor that they produce safe and legal food and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA Standard. SALSA was set up with the express aim of helping small businesses and is now widely recognised by the retail trade as an acceptable form of accreditation.

Having customer care service is another way of gaining an upper hand as compared to your competitors and also providing after sales services like delivery creates customer loyalty thus a promise that the business will thrive.

  1. Calculate your likely costs and pricing

It’s critical to have a good handle on your costings. You’ll need a clear picture of what your selling price will need to be to make profit and also check that this selling price will fit in your target marketplace. Building in retailers and/or wholesalers margins, transport costs, ingredients, your time or a labour cost, marketing and all the other things you’ll need to allow for early on will ensure you have no nasty surprises further down the line.

Jo and Claire run the award-winning Relish Food Marketing Club website aimed at helping small food producers get their ideas off the ground, grow their brand and get into retail. You can also follow Relish on Twitter.

Running a food or drink business? Join Enterprise Nation’s food and drink focused small business trade mission to Paris on 27-28 March. Find out more here.

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