Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tips for Food Manufacturers, from Stephen Hall

We’ve blogged about Stephen Hall’s From Kitchen to Market a few times in the past (Online resource for specialty food businesses, Bringing New Food Products to Market ) and it’s a great resource for guidance on marketing specialty food items. While I was in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend a session with Mr. Hall. I won’t go into too much detail, but here are a few nuggets I thought were especially interesting:

  • Do you have to supply nutrition information on every specialty food product? Not according to the rules of the FDA. But Mr. Hall suggested that although the government doesn’t require the labeling, the consumer does. Today’s consumer wants to know what they are eating, and their food’s nutritional value.
  • Looking for a commercial kitchen? The audience in this session had a couple of good suggestions. Try calling local churches or restaurants that don’t serve meals three times a day. Either way, they may be willing to give you use of their kitchen when they aren’t using it.
  • It’s hard to sell food items online. People don’t want to buy a product unless they’ve tasted it. If you have tourists that visit your shop, they may be willing to buy your product once they return home, because they’ve already know how delicious it is. Another exception is the gift market. If you can create a small, lightweight portion of your product and get it into gift baskets, it might sell better online.
  • What’s the best way to advertise your product? Give it away. If you’re trying to give a retailer or distributor a deal, offer one free case when they buy 10, rather than buy 10 for the price of 9. You’ll move more product that way.

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