How to Launch a New Food Product

You’re about to enter an extremely competitive industry. Think of how many brand names and variations there are on store shelves. Even something as simple as dried pasta has many different forms, brands, varieties, and specialty items. They also differ in packaging, size, and price.

Your new product must fill a void, or deliver something exciting and new to consumers. Otherwise, it will fail. Hundreds of food products are launched each year, only to fail miserably. Retail food jobs can be rewarding, but those rewards come after lots of hard work and market research. Here’s a quick overview of some steps you must take.

Do a lot of research into local laws regarding retail food jobs. The finished product must pass regulatory standards. The facility in which you will prepare your product (preparing it at home is usually not allowed) must also pass standards.

Create a list that displays all ingredients, preparatory tools, and services that you’ll use to take your product from kitchen to consumer. This will not only help you plan pricing, but it will allow you to see where you may be able to cut costs while still turning out a quality product.

Look closely at marketing. This includes everything from the package to the stores you’ll sell your product in. Who is this product for? Where do those people shop? You don’t want to try selling a high-end specialty food, for example, at a corner market in a poor area. It simply wouldn’t sell. Many retail food jobs have crashed and burned simply because these simple questions were not thought through.

Begin designing marketing materials. These will be given to the stores selling your product, and to any larger wholesale companies which might distribute it. Include a full overview of ingredients, manufacturing processes, nutrition information, and target market. Samples are often included. Create different, more eye-catching brochures for consumers.

Contact your local stores and food events to set up tastings and sampling events. This will get your product to the consumer, and build a market. During these tastings, your product should shine. Make sure that consumers taste the absolute best you have to offer. You should look professional, as should your tasting area. Be prepared to answer questions regarding nutrition, ease of preparation, and any other common inquiries based on the nature of your product. Have plenty of brochures available to hand out, and samples packaged for consumers to take home, if possible.

Keep these guidelines in mind, and always pay close attention to sanitation and local laws. Careful planning and an eye for detail are essential. Retail food jobs are difficult to secure. However, if you have a well thought-out plan and a quality product, you’re poised to succeed.

Export Marketing – How to Develop Products for Export

Before you think of developing a product for export or even adapting an existing one, it is important to make a distinction between a product and a product type. A motor vehicle is product type, but a “Toyota”, a very popular Japanese car, is a product.

New product types are rarely created. An exporter who can come up with a better version of an existing product will succeed as a market for such a product already exists. The manufacturers of Toyota have worked very hard to make their cars so popular although the vehicles are not much different from any others you find on our roads. But think of how much harder they would have to work to come up with a completely new mode of land transportation.

There is business in the re-modeling or re-packaging of existing products, that is, creating new products out of the existing ones. Sometimes only very minor adjustments are required, for example, using a colorless clear bottle for a whiskey that is traditionally sold in an opaque bottle.

If you decide to copy products of another manufacturer you will be running the risk of patent or copyright infringement. But you can avoid the risk and still exploit the success of a new product by making slight modifications in the design of the product you want to copy as long as you do not try to confuse the public into thinking that they are buying the original product.

The Product:

Any new product ideas should take into account the following factors:-

An understanding of how buyers conceive a product. This will include physical and non-physical elements such as the product itself, packaging, after sales service, brand name, the image it portrays and the benefits they expect out of using the product.
The product must be made to meet the standards and styling of the customer and not the manufacturer. This is the importance of a good market research.
Expected Life Cycle of the product. “Product Types” may go on for ever but “Products”, like all living things, progress in definite stages from birth to maturity, then death.
Possible patent or copyright infringement which may lead to legal action.
The Product Life Cycle:

Introduction: The product is launched and, if it finds buyers, sales rise slowly,
Growth: The product is becoming accepted and if it catches on, there is a period of rapid growth in sales. If it fails to catch on it should be withdrawn at this stage for possible modification or to try a different market.
Maturity: Sales growth reaches the apex and starts to slow down,
Stagnation: Sales level off and further expenditure on sales promotion become uneconomical.
Decline: Sales start to decline as demand for the product goes down
When stagnation starts, research should reveal the cause and corrective measures taken before the decline commences. A product may be given a new lease of life by being changed in some way, either substantially or just the way it is presented.

It is important to note here that although it is true that the life cycles of most products follow almost the same pattern, the length of the cycle itself varies greatly. For example, the life cycle of fashion dresses is relatively short compared to that of capital goods which, in some cases, may be as long as 20 years. Life cycles of particular products or product types may vary from country to country.

Once the product life cycle is understood, the planning of when to introduce a new product or make changes on the existing product can be done more accurately.

Festus Muga

Hello Fellow Small Scale Entrepreneur,

I am a freelance writer and have a wealth of experience in the Banking Industry. I have worked as a member of the management team of an international bank and am well versed in Business Development and Financing, Financing of Foreign Trade, Import/Export Processing and Documentation.

I have successfully managed an Export/Import Agency of my own which has given me quite an experience in the pros and cons of international business.

Top Level Secrets of Promoting Your Products to the Right Audience

This encompasses everything to do with the way an organization communicates persuasively with people to influence them towards making a purchase. Marketers use many different tools to promote their products and services. Promotion is sometimes seen as the most important part of marketing; certainly it is the most visible, with elements of it advertisements, posters and so on – all around. It should be known that even the producer of the best product or service will do no business if no one knows it exists. Similarly promoting a bad product is certainly the fastest way to kill it. The combination of promotional tools an organization uses is referred to promotional mix.1. Advertising: This is paid non personal communication through various media by organizations and individuals who are in some way identified in the advertising message. The medium of advertising include; television, radio, handbills, billboards (electronic and non-electronic), newspapers, magazines, music and internet. The best medium is a function of the product being advertised and the target customers to be reached. Generally speaking, securing airtime for advertorials in television is quite expensive for most small businesses. Radio jingles and handbills are fairly more affordable and fit into local advertising. Advertising is carried out with the following objectives in mind: informing potential customers of a new offering; increasing the frequency of purchase; increasing the use of a product; increasing the quantity purchased; increasing frequency of replacement; presenting a promotional programme; bringing a family of products together; and making the organization behind a range of offerings known. In summary, advertising can help promote a business but it is important to be aware that it has its limitations. Some small business owners believe that if their business is failing they can advertise their way out the problem. Sadly, this is not the case because advertising cannot force people to buy unneeded goods and services. If the business is in the wrong market advertising will not be able to help. Furthermore, it cannot improve an inferior product. If the product is not adequate or does not fit the overall marketing mix, advertising cannot compensate.2. Personal selling: This is face-to-face presentation and promotion of products and services. It also involves the search for new prospects and follow-up service after the sale. Effective selling is not simply a matter of persuading others to buy. In fact it is more accurately described as helping others to satisfy their wants and needs. The major strength of personal selling over advertising is that it provides a two way communication where the prospect can ask questions and seek clarification where necessary as against advertising which is strictly one way. For large businesses this medium is very expensive because their customers are spread all over as against the small business operator who usually has direct access to his customers and sees them often.3. Public relations: This is defined as the function that evaluates public attitudes, changes policies and procedures in response to the public’s requests, and executes a programme of action and information to earn a public understanding and acceptance. In essence, a good public relations (PR) programme has three steps. Listen to the public through marketing research. Change policies and procedures to accommodate the concerns and aspirations of the public. Inform people that you are being responsive to their needs. For most small businesses PR means obtaining free publicity via stories placed in newspapers, radio and TV with the objective of bringing attention to the business. The value of this approach is that it has a higher degree of credibility than an advertisement. Sponsorship of a local sporting event is also good publicity. Many businesses tend to overlook the importance of PR. Some are prepared to develop their own PR strategies and have the talents within the business to achieve satisfactory results, whilst some are unsure how to correctly handle this area and will employ outside expertise.4. Publicity: This is talking arm of PR. It is one of the major functions of almost all organizations. Publicity is any information about an individual, product or organization that is distributed to the public through the media and that is not paid for, or controlled by the seller. In essence, it can be viewed as a form of free advertising. To use this properly, a small business owner must attempt to feed to the media information that is of public interest. Whether the media uses the information submitted to it depends on whether time and space are available and whether it is considered “newsworthy”. Different publications have different audiences and only stories that have high interest to the readership are likely to be chosen. Imagine establishing a small kindergarten school where primary education has been a major challenge or a small business engaged in nymph oil extraction for the treatment of skin diseases which has been a cause for concern in that community. Note that in both cases, the public will be very receptive to the news and help spread to others. The magic is that the various media will publish these stories free since the material is interesting and newsworthy. It has a major advantage over advertising because publicity may reach people who will not want to read or pay attention to an advert. In addition, when a newspaper or a magazine publishes a story as news, the reader treats that story as news – and news is more believable than advertising.5. Sales promotion: Sales promotions (SP) are used to help promote the sale of the product or service. They are generally put into place for short time periods to achieve customer attention and sales. The cost of such promotions must be well controlled and the small business owner must ensure that results are worthwhile for the outlay involved. SP is considered very effective because it creates instant demand booster and leverages on the weakness of the average customer – greed – which makes him buy certain products that he may ordinarily not want to buy at the time or may not buy that much quantity. SP campaigns could be used in the following scenarios; To move products or services that have slowed down probably created by loss of buyer interest or change of buying season.To win back customers who have moved to competitors for reasons such as price, delivery of product, pedestrian packaging among others. To launch new products. This allows the customers to experience the new product or service. In essence, it encourages new product trials and brand switching. SP could be deployed in different ways but some of the very prominent ones include: Offering a special price reduction for a given period; selling two items for the price of one; adding a product on or in another product without charging for the added on product; giving out free samples; sponsoring a game or a contest and organizing raffle draws for those that qualify based on volume of purchases made over a period of time. Note that the list is endless and only needs some marketing imagination and flair to make a successful promotion.