Launching a new food or drink brand? My top tips.

Like everything in life, new experiences can be challenging and may require a need to learn new skills and to develop knowledge.

Seeking help and support from those with the expertise you need can be massively helpful and I advocate thinking about launching a new food or drink idea in the same way as you’d approach building a new house from the ground up for example.

You’ll have some thoughts about where you’d like the house to be, you’ll have some ideas about how many rooms you’d like. You might even have some thoughts on the design and budget.

You might have also considered if this is a once in a lifetime project or whether you’ll look to move again in the future.

And as a next step you’d probably look to an architect to help you. They’re best placed to advise on all the stages from finding the ideal plot to you getting the keys and moving in.

They’ll also have knowledge of where to find specialist help and the associated costs of all the various stages, particularly if your vision is somewhat different from the norm.

I’ve been the brand architect of a myriad of food, drink and health product concepts over the course of my career and have developed a robust methodology in readying ideas for success.

This starts with my Fact Finder, a comprehensive document that prompts answers to all the various aspects that need to be considered in launching a new food idea.

Here are some of the aspects that are covered:

1. Your Idea

  • What are you overall aspirations and objectives?
  • How well developed is your idea?
  • There may be a ‘gap in the market’ but is there a ‘market in the gap’?
  • Have you fully researched competing products, their positioning and price?
  • Have you defined your customers and routes to market?
  • What unmet need will your idea satisfy?
  • Do you have a minimum viable product?
  • What are your aspirations for year 1, year 3 and year 5 and what are you going to need to achieve these?
  • Do you need mentoring and coaching?

2. Your Product

  • Do you have a product concept or are you starting from scratch?
  • Do you need help in setting up your own kitchen or production unit?
  • Do you need to identify a manufacturing partner?
  • Are all your ingredients approved for use?
  • Have you considered allergen and potential cross contamination issues if you’re aiming to make a ‘free from’ claim?
  • Does your product comply with all the various food safety regulations?
  • Are you already on sale but now need help to upscale production?
  • Do you have a practical manufacturing and packing solution to enable you to respond quickly to growing demand?
  • Do you need advice on the various manufacturing financial relationship options if using a third-party manufacturer?
  • Which packaging solution is best suited to your product, particularly in view of the new legislation around packaging recycling.
  • Does your product have adequate shelf-life?

3. Finance

  • Have you put together a business plan?
  • Are you looking to grow slow and steady or big bang? And which approach is best suited to your concept?
  • Do you have sight of all your costs, expected retailer margins, warehousing, logistics and the all-important profit for you?
  • Do you need help in understanding the various funding options along with introductions to investors?
  • If you’re looking to raise funds from third parties have you registered for an SEIS or EIS scheme?
  • Have you explored grants & R&D tax credits?
  • Have you considered the financial impact of a big increase in production volume? 
  • Have you built in a marketing budget and if so to what level?
  • Have you assessed how much working capital you’ll need to grow sales to generate cash reserves?

4. Your brand, packaging, website and social platforms

  • Do you have a brand name or do you need help in creating one?
  • If you have a brand name, have you purchased appropriate domain names?
  • Have you considered the benefits of trademarking your brand name?
  • Do you also need packaging design?
  • Have you sourced the physical packaging and do you understand the parameters that affect material choice?
  • Are you aware of and have you considered your packaging messaging and technical informatiom compliance in relation to Trading Standards? 
  • Do you have a website or do you need help in creating one?
  • If selling on line are you aware of the various e-commerce platforms and payment systems?
  • Do you need social media accounts and landing pages creating?

5. Launch

  • Do you need help in preparing your pitch to retailers along with introductions to buyers?
  • Have you developed a launch and marketing support plan and/or do you need support to implement it?
  • Have you considered price promotion within your marketing strategy and have you factored this into your financials?

With the Fact Finder complete I help plan all the various stages and introduce you to key partners for product development, manufacturing, brand and packaging creation.

I’ll create your business plan and your five year finance forecast so that you are clear on the potential for your idea and the funding that will be required as your business grows.

We’ll look at your best options for launch, whether that be online or into retail – ensuring that demand doesn’t overstretch your resources – both process wise and financially.

I’ll guide you and advise you on all food legislative issues and also ensure that you adhere to Advertising Standards Authority guidelines in relation to your website and all promotional messages.

Helping you with your retail presentation follows as we ready you for launch.

And with sales indications in place we will advise you as to the funds required to push the manufacturing button and to support your launch by looking at the various finance options available to you.

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