Seven key tips to any successful food product launch

Launching a food product in today’s highly competitive market takes a large degree of commitment, hard work and the right team to execute a successful launch. It is important to understand what people buy, when they buy it and how they buy it, in order to best position a product. Many variables affect the success of a product launch. Here are seven basic tips that are essential to the success of any food product launch.

1. Research the Market – Research the market thoroughly and make sure you have a product that is new and unique that consumers will need or want. Also, research local and state food production and distribution laws to determine an appropriate go-to-market strategy.

2. Costs – Find out what all start-up costs will be just to get the product to market, as well as all operating costs once the product is on the market. This includes the cost of production per unit of product, product wholesale and suggested retail price per unit, labour costs, facilities costs, insurance costs and most importantly all marketing costs.

All middlemen in the retail distribution channel have a gross margin requirement. Follow this basic rule: multiply your product’s cost of goods (food, packaging and labour) by three and that is an estimate of your expected retail price. You have to design your product financially to insure you have enough money built-in for promotions to be able to sustain the product and to have a profitable food brand.

3. Packaging – Ensure that you adhere to legal guidelines for your packaging and make certain your product is attractive and stands out on the shelf. Continuously monitor everything and be ready to change a package that does not work for a particular distribution channel.

4. Website – Create a website that showcases your new food product in order to build an online presence and utilise relevant social media outlets to create awareness. Most importantly, utilise this important channel for pre-orders which will start generating cash and assist in gathering feedback from consumers, to help refine and determine the level of interest in the product.

5. Create a Winning Retail Buyer Sales Pitch – You need to know what motivates a store buyer. Provide a roadmap for your new product launch and answer the questions on why the retailer should give you shelf space. Understand that the buyer needs to make money on your product!

6. Distribution – The majority of food entrepreneurs don’t understand that distribution is key to the success or failure of their product launch.

7. A Committed Team – Launching a new food product is more difficult and more expensive than most food entrepreneurs are prepared for. Ensure everyone on your team is passionate, committed and understands the product as well as the short-term and long-term goals.