Over the last few years, the UK has seen a rapid increase in supply and demand for various food products. From homemade micro-producers to experienced artisans, you will find new food brands emerging now and then.
The sudden rise of new food products entering the market has given consumers an appetite for finding and trying different items.
However, this doesn’t mean consumers will love every new food product. New product launch requires proper planning such as defining buyer personas, soft-launching your product, and preparing marketing strategies to mitigate the risk of failure.
In this article, we will see food industry statistics, learn how to conduct product launch research, and choose an eCommerce strategy during COVID-19. We will also learn how to take your food business to the next level, identify some pitfalls to avoid, and discuss plans to position your product as the best in the market.
After reading this guide, you will have all the information needed to launch a food product in the UK to dominate the market for years.
UK Food Industry Insights
When launching food products in the UK, the first thing you would want to understand is how the food & beverage market performs and what the future holds. Let’s take a look at the recent UK food industry data.
- The overall revenue in the UK’s food & beverage industry is projected to reach $12,145 million in 2020. [Source: Statista]
- The number of vegans in the UK has increased four times between 2014 and 2019. There were 600,000 vegans in 2019 compared to 150,000 in 2014. [Source: The Vegan Society]
- For the next four years (2020-2024), the revenue in the food & beverage industry is expected to see a CAGR of 6.2%. [Source: Statista]
- Twelve million Brits (23% of the population) say that they will be vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian by 2021. [Source: Finder]
- The average revenue per user in the food & beverage segment is predicted to amount to $452.94 in 2020. [Source: Statista]
- By the second week of April 2020, packaged food, dairy, and frozen foods sales rose by 27%, 22.4%, and 32.7%, respectively, compared to a month before. The increase in sales is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Source: Statista]
US Food Industry Data
America is one of the biggest food markets in the world. Food businesses in other countries export their products in masses to the US. Let’s take a look at the US food industry data.
- The overall revenue in the food & beverage industry in the US is projected to reach $12,056 million in 2020. [Source: Statista]
- For the next four years (2020-2024), the revenue in the food & beverage industry is expected to see a CAGR of 8.2%. [Source: Statista]
- The US imported over £1.1 billion worth of food and drink products in 2019. [Source: FDF]
- The average revenue per user in the food & beverage segment is predicted to amount to $121 in 2020. [Source: Statista]
- In March 2020, the US food and beverage store sales were estimated to be $79.9 billion. [Source: Statista]
- In March 2020, packaged food, baby food and care, dairy, and fresh food sales rose by 10%, 5%, 5%, and 3% respectively due to COVID-19. [Source: Statista]
How to Conduct Product Launch Research?
Effective product launch research helps determine how well your product fills a need in the marketplace and how you can make it stand out. It also increases your chances of succeeding by giving you actionable consumer insights.
Here are some great ways to conduct product launch research:
1- One on One Interviews
One on one interviews is more personal and is excellent for open-ended questions. It allows you to go beyond surface-level queries and understand the reason behind every response.
Personal interviews also enable you to present people with product samples and gather immediate feedback.
However, conducting one on one interviews can be costly and time-intensive. You need to figure out how to allocate your resources effectively.
You can find people for one on one interviews on social media (for example, people who are actively talking about products similar to those you sell) and high-traffic locations (like shopping malls or supermarkets).
Another great way to find people for one on one interviews is by partnering with existing food supplier platforms and offering your product for free (as a sample). You can then reach out to people who ordered the free sample to know about their experience.
2- Focus Groups
In focus groups, businesses use a series of scripted questions or topics to ignite discussion to gather information, sentiment, and opinion about new products.
The groups’ members are selected based on their relevance to the product, using probability sampling methods.
The discussion should last for at least 30-90 minutes, guided by a set of questions (that you want answers for) to generate meaningful results.
It takes a minimum of three to four focus groups to get balanced results and draw a conclusion.
3- Online Surveys
Online surveys are the easiest way to conduct product launch research. In online surveys, participants are given a set of questions (via emails, social media, or a form on a website). Online surveys are versatile because of the range of question-answer formats.
The different types of answer options you can include in online surveys are:
- Dichotomous (two choices, such as yes or no).
- Multiple choice
- Rating scale
- Descriptive text box
Using a mix and match of these options can quickly get you the answers you are looking for.
4- Social Media Analysis
With billions of people spending time on social media, it is a treasure for market research. People freely express their opinions, thoughts, and share the content they love on social media.
Social media listening tools can help you identify topics your target audience is interested in. You can track what consumers are saying about food products or categories you are going to sell and also identify the brand mentions of your competitors.
For example, in the below screenshot, you can see a tweet that mentions the brand “Neat Burger.” It also shows the number of retweets of this tweet, the number of brand mentions, and the increase in the percentage of the mentions.
5- Secondary Research
It involves using existing data to conduct product launch research. Secondary research saves a lot of time and effort in collecting relevant insights that could be very useful.
There are various open data sources that are useful for product launch research, such as Food Research Collaboration, Access to Research, and Statista.
You can also purchase industry-specific research reports from sites like BCC Research, Euromonitor, and Mintel.
Questions to Ask During Product Launch Research
When conducting product launch research, it is crucial to focus on the right topics to get as much information as possible.
Here are some questions that need to be answered by your company:
- Which buyer personas should the product launch target?
- How big is your target market?
- Are there any regulatory or compliance issues related to the food product you are launching? Usually, baby foods have more regulatory concerns than adult meals items.
- Who are your biggest competitors?
- How your competitors communicate their product details to their customers (website, banners, social media, etc.)?
- What marketing strategies are they using to promote their product (SEO, social media, email marketing, etc.)?
Here are some great questions that you should ask your ideal customers.
- What motivates them to purchase?
- What type of food products do they buy the most (packaged, frozen, fresh, etc.)?
- Which category of foods do they buy the most (fruit, grain, lean meat, etc.)?
- Does your target audience use your competitors’ products? What do they like and dislike about them?
- What new things customers are looking for in your competitors’ products? For example, fast delivery, extra ingredients, gluten-free, or something else.
- How much are consumers willing to pay for your product?
- Which communication channels does your target audience prefer?
- On which networks is your target audience on social media?
- How your ideal customers are most likely to buy your product (online, offline, one-time, or recurring)?
Keep a record of the answers to these questions and other insights that you gathered from product launch research in one place for future reference.
How to Launch a Food Product in the UK?
Once you have factual insights with you that suggest there’s sufficient demand for your food product in the market, it’s time to launch it. Here are the steps to follow to start a food business in the UK.
1- Acquire All Food Safety and Legal Requirements From Relevant Certifiers
The FSA (Food Standards Agency) is responsible for food safety and hygiene in the UK.
When launching a food product in the UK, you must register your business with your local authority at least 28 days before opening. If you run a food business without registering, you may be fined, imprisoned for up to two years, or both.
However, if you are selling meat, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, and animal produce establishments directly to the public, you may not need to register it. But, you will still need to contact your local authority.
Once registered, your products may be inspected by your local authority to analyze the quality of it.
2- Decide Your Budget and Identify Funding Opportunities
Launching a food product isn’t as simple as it seems, especially when it comes to cost. There are several expenses associated with food production, such as raw materials purchase or manufacture, logistics, storage, distribution, and marketing.
Deciding your budget allows you to balance the costs throughout the different areas of your business. Developing a clear budget also prevents you from any last moment fund problems.
When partnering with other companies for the supply of raw materials or storage and distribution of your food products, make sure you stay within your budget.
There are various government grants available for new businesses. When registering your company, ask your local authorities if they can help you get some government funds.
3- Determine the Right Price for Your Products
Now that you have prepared a budget, it’s time to determine the right price for your products.
There will be two prices for your product: one that you charge to distributors or supermarkets and another that you impose on your customers (MSRP).
Here are the costs that you should consider when determining the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
- Cost of goods
- Production costs (ingredients, processing, and packaging fees)
- Scrape rate
- Transport costs
- Custom duties
- Distributor’s margin
- Retailer’s margin
Also, consider how much your competitors are pricing their products. If they aren’t using specific ingredients that you are, and charging less, then highlight the additional element (and its benefits) to justify your pricing.
Find ways to lower these costs in the long run to increase your profitability.
4- Pay Attention to New Diet Trends and How Your Product Fits in It
As mentioned above, more and more people in the UK are going vegan. This trend is worth noticing. Also, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become a little more health freak. They are looking for healthy products and avoiding junk foods (to an extent).
Leverage social media listening and download research papers to identify new diet trends.
Determine how your products fit in the new diet trends and create your USP (unique selling proposition) accordingly.
For example, if you sell food products that improve immunity, your USP would be something like, “boost your immunity with OUR PRODUCT,” or “strengthen your immune system with OUR PRODUCT.”
This would make sense when everyone in the world is looking to boost their body’s immune response to fight off the coronavirus.
5- Create a Buzz Around Your Food Product
If consumers aren’t interested in your food product, they won’t spend a penny to buy it. Therefore, it is crucial to build interest and create a buzz around your food product.
Here are some great ways to create a buzz around your food product and build trust with consumers.
- Offer free samples in trade shows, events, workshops, and cinema halls.
- Tell a great story. Let your target audience know a short history of your product and your passion for it. This will instill trust in your customers and entice them to buy your product.
- Highlight things your target audience is looking for. You can emphasize things like gluten-free, high in protein, no added sugar, etc.
- Publish social media posts highlighting that all your products are certified.
- Collaborate with niche influencers. For example, if you are selling fitness food products, partner with social media influencers who are health freaks. If you are selling organic foods, collaborate with activists who promote natural farming.
6- Partner With Leading Online Grocery Delivery Stores
With more people buying food products online, it makes sense to partner with leading online grocery delivery stores. You can sell your products via your website, but online grocery delivery stores already have a considerable shopper base.
As a result, you will likely receive more orders when you partner with them. Check which online stores sell products similar to yours and pitch them to sell your merchandise.
Use tools to find email addresses of the concerned authority of the online store. Enter the URL of the company whose contact information you want to see, and the tool will return a list of verified email addresses.
Going to Market – Working With Retailers
As a manufacturer, you would want your food products to reach as many people as possible. One way to do so is by working with retailers. Find stores that sell products similar to yours.
Contact the stores that you deem fit, introduce yourself, and tell how your product is better than other similar items in the market.
Here are some things you can do to persuade retailers to sell your products.
- Ensure them that they will be getting as much margin as you.
- Visit the retailer in-person and let them assess your product. Address their concerns, if any.
- Create a sell sheet containing product images, pricing information, ordering information, partner testimonials, and contact details. A well-designed sell sheet can influence retailers’ decisions.
- Convince retailers that you will work hard to promote your products and lure customers to their store.
- Offer them gifts to sell your products. You can also create a rewards program where you gift retailers when they reach your sales target.
Make sure to mention all the information about your product, such as the brand name of your product, what makes it unique, where it is made, the key ingredients, and the USP.
If they agree to sell your products, begin with a small batch of supplies to see if they are an ideal choice for you. If you don’t get enough sales, chances are they don’t have your ideal customers.
If you can’t reach out to the stores directly, submit a proposal online. Major supermarkets like Asda allow businesses (who are interested in supplying them) to contact them online.
Choosing eCommerce Strategy – COVID19 Lessons
COVID-19 has changed the way people shop. More and more people have started buying food products online. 30% of UK residents have deliberately purchased products from online stores instead of offline supermarkets because of COVID-19 pandemic.
Hence, choosing an eCommerce strategy is crucial to help your food business succeed in the UK.
Here are eight ways to choose an eCommerce strategy during COVID-19.
1- Create An eCommerce Site To Sell Your Products
As mentioned above, more people have started purchasing products online. Creating an eCommerce site can help you reach those customers and increase your sales.
Follow the best practices when creating an eCommerce site to sell your products:
- Ensure easy navigation throughout your website.
- Allow customers to checkout without creating an account.
- Write complete and detailed product descriptions.
- Make sure your website loads quickly and doesn’t crash due to overload.
- Invest in search engine optimization because most consumers start their shopping journey through a search engine.
- Highlight your return and refund policy. Even if your product isn’t returnable, mention it.
- Add a chatbot on your website to answer the most common queries.
- Feature customer reviews to demonstrate your product is worth buying.
For example, BodyBuilding Warehouse, a fitness supplements retailer, highlights all the information related to its product on the descriptions page. They also display ratings for the product to show how satisfied their customers are.
2- Make It Easy for Customers to Order From You
As a business owner, your primary intention should be to make it easier for your customers to purchase your products.
Once you create your eCommerce website, follow these things to make it easy for customers to order from you.
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Offer subscription boxes, so customers get the food at their doorstep regularly. Revive Superfoods, for example, allows its customers to pick how often they want food products to be delivered to prevent the hassle of ordering frequently.
- Allow customers to pay using different payment methods, including mobile wallets.
- Save customer information, such as their mailing address and preferred payment method to make the checkout process more efficient.
3- Send Personalized Offers via Emails
The world economy has badly plunged. No one knows when everything will be back to normal again.
Therefore, sending personalized offers via emails to your existing customers might increase the chances of sales.
If you are operating on special hours, make sure to communicate the updated hours to your customers via email.
If you have been supplying your product to retailers and supermarkets (who are operating now), create an irresistible offer to entice them to continue buying. For instance, you can offer them additional credits or extra discounts.
4- Stay Active on Social Media
Social media usage is now peaking. Stay active on social media to engage with your target audience and boost brand awareness.
Share your activity during COVID-19 times to keep your audience updated. Tell your potential customers what extra measures you are taking to ensure their safety, how you are manufacturing, and supplying products amid the pandemic.
For example, T2 Tea uses social media to inform users why their tea is better than any other similar product in the market. T2 Tea also uses relevant hashtags to increase its reach.
5- Create a Pandemic-Dedicated Strategy
Your customers should know that you have their best interests at heart. Try to add a positive vibe in your messages and avoid emphasizing the negative effects of the pandemic.
Here are other things that you can do to create a pandemic-dedicated strategy:
- Ensure your marketing messages reflect the current situation.
- Integrate live chat and callback options to address customer concerns immediately.
- Offer help with placing orders to those with lower tech-proficiency.
- Allow customers to order via various channels, such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
6- Run PPC Ads to Boost Visibility
Running PPC ads boosts your visibility and increases your chances of getting customers. It helps you reach prospects who are looking for your products.
Follow these PPC ads best practices to boost your visibility and increase sales.
- Conduct keyword research and integrate the right terms in your ad copy.
- Create a dedicated landing page that reflects your ad copy.
- Add negative keywords to prevent your ad from triggering for similar keywords that are not useful for you.
- Use ad extensions to increase the click-through rate.
- Test and optimize your ads for better performance.
For example, Iron and Fire, specialty coffee roasters, and wholesale coffee suppliers in the UK are using ads to boost their visibility. They appear on the top of Google search results for the phrase “buy coffee beans online UK.” Iron and Fire have also used ad extensions, which take users directly to their coffee products page.
7- Help the Community
Companies that help the community are more likely to be remembered even after the pandemic ends. Make sure to contribute to the community in your best capacity.
For example, Bulk Powders, a fitness and sports nutrition supplier, donated over 20,000 units of products to fourteen hospitals around the UK to show their care for the medical staff.
8- List Your Product on Major eCommerce Websites
Major eCommerce websites like Amazon, Tesco, and Argos have an established customer base. People buy from these companies because they trust them.
When you list your food items in these major eCommerce platforms, consumers are more likely to trust you. Besides, their increased reach can help you generate more sales.
Depending on the platform you choose to list your products on, you can send your products to the company and let them handle the packaging and delivery.
When to Scale?
We all want to expand our business, but it requires careful planning and implementation at the right time. If you scale before you are ready, you risk getting in a situation that isn’t profitable. On the other hand, if you scale at the right moment, you will likely generate huge profits.
Here are some signs that signal it’s time to scale up your business.
- When more and more retailers approach you to supply your products to them.
- If you have to turn down retailers or delay supplies due to a lack of inventory or workforce.
- You start getting lots of customers through word of mouth marketing.
- When your business is generating repeatable sales and has a high customer lifetime value.
- If you are attaining or surpassing your business goals.
Tip: When preparing to scale your business, make sure that your finances are in order. Create a financial plan to accommodate the immediate and unpredicted “what ifs” that may occur.
How to Brand Yourself by Using Customer Data?
Use tools like Revuze to gather actionable insights about your customers. Revuze collects all the customer reviews from different sources and displays them on a single dashboard.
You can analyze the volume of customer reviews and sentiments over time. For example, the below screenshot depicts people are less satisfied in recent months as compared to the previous period.
Revuze also shows you different sentiments, such as overall satisfaction, taste, price/value for money, and whether your product meets the customer’s expectations.
Here’s how you can brand yourself by using customer data:
- Create a memorable logo: Your logo is how your customers will recognize your brand. It’s what your customers will see everywhere, from your website to your products. Make sure to create a logo that is memorable, instantly recognizable, and sets you apart from your competitors.
- Write a positioning statement: A positioning statement is something that stakes your claim in the market. This is how your customers will likely remember you. Analyze customer reviews to see what most consumers are saying about your product and use it to write a positioning statement. For example, if most customers say your food product is the tastiest, you can use something like, “want to surprise your taste buds? Try our product”.
- Write a slogan: A catchy slogan makes a strong impression on the market. For example, Redbull’s “Redbull gives you wings” slogan is widely popular and has contributed a lot to its brand identity. Determine what words consumers use to describe your product and create a slogan. You can always change your slogan as you find new angles for branding.
How to Choose The Right Packaging Vendor?
When choosing a packaging vendor, you would want a partner you can rely on. Ideally, the right packaging company for you is the one who provides all the services and features your company needs. However, keep in mind that as your company grows, your requirements will also change.
Here are some questions to ask when choosing a packaging vendor:
- Do they use effective processes and procedures to calibrate, control, and maintain high standards?
- How is their customer service? Do they respond to queries immediately, the same day, or within a week?
- What materials do they use for packaging? Are they eco-friendly?
- Do they offer customized packaging solutions?
- Is the vendor capable of package design from scratch, or you need to provide it beforehand?
- How long will the vendor require to package 1000 products? You should consider your daily order requirements to prevent delays in deliveries.
- Are their prices justified? Is there any other supplier who charges less for a similar service?
- Will they be able to scale pack June 26, 2020aging production as your business grows?
How to Use Customer Data to Improve Packaging?
While your food’s quality matters the most in defining the brand’s success, packaging plays a huge role in influencing how consumers view the product itself. Therefore, it is crucial to improve product packaging in a way that resonates with your target audience.
Here’s how you can improve packaging using customer data:
- Understand your target market: Determine whether your customer base is predominantly male or female. Depending on their gender, you would want to change the packaging color.
- Use customer reviews to change the packaging material: If your customers complain about leakage or damaged product, it’s time to change the packaging material. For example, if your food product is in the liquid form, you might choose leak-free Tetra Packs to prevent leakage.
- Adjust your packaging depending on where it will be sold: When selling your product in supermarkets, you would want to ensure it stands out amidst hundreds of items on the shelf. Determine which fonts are clearest from the customers’ perspective and what color and design will stand out from the competition.
Regulations & Nutrition Labeling
All prepacked foods require a food label that displays certain mandatory information. This is to ensure your food product complies with food hygiene requirements and allow customers to make informed decisions.
The following information must be displayed on food labels.
- List of ingredients: If your food product contains two or more ingredients (including water and additives), you must mention them all.
- Allergen information: If your food product contains any of the 14 allergens as an ingredient, it must be mentioned on the label using a different font, style, or background color.
- Quantitative declaration of ingredients: Highlight the percentage of particular ingredients contained in the food product.
- Net quantity: Packaged foods above 5g or 5ml must show the net amount on the label.
- Storage conditions and date labeling: Food labels must contain “best before” or “use by” data to make it clear how long foods can be stored.
- Name and address of manufacturer: Your company’s physical address must be present on the label.
- Country of origin or place of provenance: Mention where the food has come from. Also, include the source of key ingredients if they came from a different place from where the product is made.
- Preparation Instructions: Provide instructions on how to prepare and cook the food. It should also include the quantity. For example, if your product requires consumers to mix it with milk, the amount of milk needed for each serving must be mentioned.
- Nutritional declaration: Highlight the nutrition per 100gm or ml in a specific format. It should contain things like energy, protein, fat, fiber, salt, vitamin, mineral, and carbohydrate.
There are additional labeling requirements if your food product contains certain ingredients, such as sugars, colorings, licorice, caffeine, and polyols.
Here is an example of what food labels in the UK look like (allergens listed in bold).
After launching your food product, it is crucial to market your product effectively to reach your target customers. You must include different marketing strategies to widen your visibility and attract customers.
Here are six great strategies to market your food products and generate sales.
1- Leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO refers to increasing your website’s visibility in the search engine results page (SERPs). SEO helps your website appear on the first page of SERPs for your desired keywords. So when a potential customer searches for products that you sell, they will see your website, among others.
Here are some great ways to leverage search engine optimization to its fullest.
- Conduct keyword research to determine what terms your target audience uses to search for your products. Use tools like SEMrush to conduct keyword research. SEMrush provides key insights such as the monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, keyword variations, etc.
- Integrate all the relevant keywords in your website to increase your chances of appearing on the SERPs for those terms. However, make sure the keywords look natural on your website and not stuffed.
- Earn backlinks from authoritative websites. Reach out to bloggers and major publications in the food industry and request them to give you a backlink.
- Optimize your user experience. Ensure customers can navigate through your website and complete the purchase without any obstacle.
- Set up Google My Business (GMB) account. Mention the areas you operate from or deliver to. This will increase your chances of appearing for local searches and build trust with potential customers. For example, when I searched for “whey protein powders London,” I saw these listings in Google. This is because these brands have optimized their GMB account for the key phrase, “whey protein powders London.”
Screenshot taken on June 26, 2020
2- Use Blogging to Your Advantage
Blogging helps you reach people who are not yet familiar with your brand. It increases your website’s visibility in search engines and attracts high-quality traffic.
Determine your target audience’s pain points and concerns. Then create content to address their needs. You can find the type of blog posts your target audience is looking for by a simple Google search.
Enter your product on Google and see the “People also ask” section. It consists of top questions consumers are searching in real-time. You can gather multiple questions on similar topics and create content to address them.
You can also choose one of the main ingredients of your product and write about its health benefits.
Tip: Don’t focus solely on product promotion. Instead, prioritize sharing informational content to educate your target audience.
3- Make the Most of Social Media Marketing
Social media is yet another great place to promote your product and attract customers. Determine which social media platforms are perfect for your brand and create a business account on them.
Follow these four tactics to make the most of social media marketing:
- Convert blog posts into different small content and share it across social networks. For example, if you share hacks to get the most of your product, convert each tip into a different image and share it on social media.
- Post pictures of your food product in action. For example, if you sell ready to cook food products, click a photo of it to show how it looks after cooking.
- Share compelling visuals to promote your products. For example, CPK Frozen Pizza used the Boomerang feature of Instagram to make the cheese grating process memorable for its audience.
- Run ads on social media to reach more people.
- Share offers and sale details via your official social handles to attract potential customers.
4- Organize Events in Your Locality
Host food festivals or occasional events in your neighborhood to attract local customers and retailers. Let visitors taste your product and offer them on the spot discount if they purchase from you. This will boost your brand visibility and increase sales.
Make sure to promote your events on social media to increase footfalls and attract potential customers.
For example, Jasper’s Market hosted an offline event and used Facebook Ads to promote it and reach more people.
If you can’t organize food events or festivals, look if any other brand is planning it. If they are, try to engage with them and create ways to promote your products in their event.
5- Partner With Other Brands
If you are selling products that go perfectly well with other food items, then partnering with different brands could prove beneficial.
One of the most classic examples of brand partnerships is Domino’s and Coca Cola. Domino’s sells only Coca Cola beverages at their exclusive stores. People who trust Domino’s will likely trust Coca Cola and vice-versa.
Both Domino’s and Coca Cola benefit from this deal. Domino’s is able to enhance the Pizza experience for its customers, while Coca Cola gets to improve its brand awareness and build a loyal customer base.
6- Approach Food Bloggers
Approaching food bloggers and getting them to promote your product is yet another great way to advertise it. Food bloggers usually have established trust with the audience you wish to target.
When food bloggers vouch for your product, consumers are more likely to try it. Check out a bunch of food bloggers and pick the ones that seem relevant to your product. Send them a personalized email or contact them on social media to have them promote your food product.
For example, Foodstuff Finds is one of the popular blogs in the UK that features new items in supermarkets and reviews them. In this post, Foodstuff Finds reviews Huel Granola. Positive reviews like this can help you attract more customers and boost brand awareness.
Depending on your sales, you would want to partner with distributors who can get your products distributed to retailers across the country in your budget.
Follow certain best practices while distributing your products:
- Ensure that all personnel associated with handling your food product containers understand the adverse effects of temperature abuse.
- Establish clear protocols to ensure the distributor maintains its integrity, both in terms of safety and quality.
- Train employees to identify and segregate damaged products.
- Enforce strict policies regarding hygiene practices by all personnel associated with product distribution.
- Hire a good pest management service provider to eliminate insects and rodents that may be living in your distribution warehouses.
- Create a recall process to identify potential problems to be corrected before it becomes imperative to bring products back.
How to Gain Stockists?
Retailers or wholesalers that stock products of a particular type for sale are referred to as stockists. Since stockists have a huge customer base, gaining them could help you boost your sales significantly.
Here are four ways to gain stockists for your new food product.
1- Find the Right Stockist for You
It is crucial to determine where you want your products to be sold. For example, if you manufacture an ayurvedic food supplement, it would make more sense to sell it in ayurvedic stores than supermarkets. You need to understand the stockist and their end-users too.
Make a list of all the qualities you want your ideal stockist to have. For example, you might want to partner with a stockist who has been in the business for more than five years, has a professional website, can be reached easily, and has a good reputation in the market.
Once you have found the right stockists for you, use the list to find similar retailers.
2- Set the Correct Wholesale Price
Now, determine how much you will charge for your products when bought in bulk. Consider all the price factors associated with manufacturing and transporting before you decide the amount.
Other factors that you should consider are:
- Order quantity
- Order frequency
Usually, stockists expect a huge discount when they buy in bulk (more than normal retailers). They also expect you to charge less if they order from you more frequently than other sellers.
Negotiate with them to determine the right price for your product, where both you and the stockist make a profit.
3- Pitch Like a Professional
When approaching stockists, it is vital to sound like a true professional. Think of it from the retailers’ perspective. They would want to be sure that their customers will be attracted to your products.
Here are four great ways to pitch like a professional:
- Have professional photos of your food product shot on a white background.
- Most retailers have standardized retail displays. Consider your product’s packaging and how it fits within the store’s method of merchandising.
- Print professionally designed brochures for your wholesale range of products.
- When sending emails to stockists, make sure to use a professional email address and not a generic one (Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo).
4- Create an Overview of Your Offerings
Last but not least, create an overview of your offerings to make it easier for stockists to get all the information they need. Your summary should include:
- A brief description of your product and brand
- Wholesale prices
- Maximum retail price
- Your contact details
- How to order
- Minimum order quantities
- Delivery times
This will equip stockists with all the information they need to make a decision.
The food industry is very competitive. That is why it is difficult to attract customers and make them loyal to your brand. This is where cross-marketing can help.
Cross-marketing refers to targeting customers of one brand with the promotion of a related product.
Here are six steps to leverage cross-marketing to your advantage.
- Build relationships with other brands: Partnering with other brands can help you reach a wider audience and boost your sales. In cross-marketing, you and your partner brands promote each other. Tools like SEO PowerSuite can help you find and build connections with other companies. Its LinkAssistant tool gathers a list of websites that are linking back to your site. You can get all the contact details automatically, and the platform also lets you send emails to them.
- Offer discounts to partners: Discounts and promo codes are a great driver of sales. Use discounts to promote your partner’s products and have them do the same for you. Additionally, create a lead generation campaign that gives your customers special deals on your partner’s product upon conversion.
- Take your partnership to social media: One of the easiest and effective ways of cross-marketing is using social media. Share images of your partner’s brands, their content, and give them a shout out regularly. When on Instagram, you can share their posts on your story by using the share button.
- Create bundle deals using your partner’s products: If you have partners in a similar industry, then bundle deals could be a great way to build awareness for your products and increase sales. You can even offer discounts to increase the chances of conversion. When a customer buys your product, they can get your partner’s item at a discount.
- Leverage email marketing to promote your partners’ products: Send emails to your existing customers telling them about your partner and their products. Have your partner do the same. This way, you will reach a lot of people who might already be interested in your product. Also, every time you run sales, request your partners to send an email to their customers informing them about the same. This will boost your brand awareness and generate sales.
- Build an irresistible referral program: People trust recommendations from their friends and family members. Building a referral program could help you encourage your existing customers to promote your product. Offer incentives or discounts to consumers who sign up new members. That way, you will have customers coming in regularly.
Pitfalls to Look Out For
Although it might seem exciting to launch your own food product, there are some pitfalls to look out for. Many products disappear from the market within a few months or years because the manufacturers didn’t look for pitfalls.
Here are four pitfalls that you should avoid:
- Not hiring professional designers: Almost all of your first-time customers will buy your product based on a first visual impression. No matter how great your food product is, if your product’s packaging doesn’t look professional, customers might not buy it.
- Business model failure: A food business should have a robust business model and enough capital to execute it. The cost of manufacturing, storing, and supplying is high. Your business model must include ways to deal with it and generate enough revenue to keep the company running.
- Incorrect product information: Even the slightest mistake in product labeling could result in getting your food product banned or penalized. This would also result in a huge number of returns and customer dissatisfaction. Make sure your product’s labeling is factually correct.
- Failing to deliver on expectations: New businesses have so much on their plate, from manufacturing to supplying to distributing and marketing. They partner with various supermarkets and stockists to get their product to as many people as possible. However, many of them fail to deliver their products to supermarkets on time. As a result, they disappear from the shelves sooner than expected.
Evidence-Based Thinking and Planning
Evidence-based planning refers to using the available data, information, and knowledge to make decisions. Once you launch your food product in the UK, you will have tons of information about your customers and target audience.
Use those insights to make improvements in your product to generate better results. Evidence-based thinking and planning also allow you to justify your decisions.
Here’s how to implement evidence-based thinking and planning in your organization:
- Build a team of experts who can assess the quality of knowledge based on various criteria that would be beneficial for you.
- Decide when and how to engage in rich evidence-based thinking and when to rely on existing knowledge. For example, when launching new marketing campaigns, you would want to use existing data, whereas, when making changes to your product (such as changing ingredients), you would want to engage in evidence-based thinking to determine how customers will react to it.
- Make sure whatever actions evidence recommends as appropriate is also implementable and acceptable.
- Couple evidence-based thinking with policy entrepreneurship. The aim of this is to tell stories that appeal to your customer’s beliefs and emotions.
Strategies for Positioning Your Product
Positioning your product refers to influencing consumer perception regarding a brand relative to competitors. Product positioning helps differentiate your food item from similar merchandise in the market.
Here are some great strategies for positioning your product:
- Compare yourself with competitors: In this approach, you show claims or evidence of superiority against your key competitors. Tell customers what makes your product better than others in the market.
- Highlight your product’s uniqueness: As an alternative approach, you use the uniqueness of your product to draw customers.
- Focus on the benefits: Highlight the specific value your food offers to the consumers. Use these benefits to fuel your marketing strategy.
- Talk about the product’s attributes: Identify the core values that are important to your target customers and position your product as delivering those values. E.g., 100% animal cruelty-free.
How to Improve Chances of Listing Success?
Product listing refers to uploading your item on different marketplaces, such as Amazon. However, listing alone is not enough to generate sales. There are various things you can do to improve the chances of product listing success, such as:
- Optimize your product title to grab the potential buyer’s attention. If the listing website allows, you can add key features of your product in the title, such as high in protein, low-fat, etc.
- Highlight the key benefits of your food product first.
- Ensure your product description is complete.
- Include high-quality images of your product.
- Get as many customer reviews as possible.
- Sync your inventory when selling on multiple platforms. This way, you won’t have to manually update stock on each website.
For example, this listing for Apple Cider Vinegar in Amazon follows all the best practices. The product title contains all the relevant information about it, such as the ingredients, USP and the quantity. The bullet points provide even more details about the product, such as vegan-friendly, glass bottle with non-BPA packaging, etc.
What Sets You Apart From the Rest?
Brands that set themselves apart from the rest tend to generate more sales and acquire a significant market share.
Look at these three key areas besides creating a USP when trying to set your brand apart:
- Deliver on your promise: If you are making any promises to your customers or retailers, make sure to stand by it. For example, Coors Light brands itself by the slogan – “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer” and the brand delivers on its promise.
- Personalize your product packaging: Find ways to personalize your product packaging or use customer data to improve it. That way, your customers would be able to recognize your product from its packaging.
- Make changes in your product: Add or change ingredients in your product that none of your competitors have.
- Maintain a consistent tone in your marketing campaigns: The way you market your products says a lot about your brand. Maintain a consistent tone across all your marketing messages. You could also set a different tone for each platform, such as a friendly voice on social media and a professional tone in emails.
Launching a food product in the UK is easy if you know the basics to get started. You need to conduct extensive research to determine whether there’s a need for your product or how you can create better products than your competitors.
You should also create strategies to partner with retailers and supermarkets to get your product to your customers. Follow the methods mentioned in this guide to conduct product research and launch a food product that your target customers will love. Happy Product Launching!