Simply put, a foodpreneur is an individual who creates and brings to market a food or beverage. Generally these entrepreneurs start out as small-batch producers, focused on a specific market niche. You’ll often find foodpreneurs in home-based businesses, food trucks, commissary kitchens or incubators. They are scrappy, creative, industrious, persistent and have an unwavering desire to bring their product to the masses. However, there is a lot more to being a successful foodpreneur than simply introducing a new product or creating a new twist on the classic pretzel. As foodpreneurs generally start out as home-based individuals they embody skills beyond purely victual pursuits. Many hats are needed to take their idea from conception to commercialization. Individuals looking to follow this rewarding path will need a working knowledge of a variety of pursuits from food production to co-packing, distribution and accounting.
Why Become A FoodPreneur?
Being a foodpreneur isn’t for everyone. The days are long and there’s a chance your new venture may not work out. The rewards however far outweigh the potential negatives. A few of the possible rewards include:
- You can be your own boss
- The ability to create new and innovative food and beverage recipes
- You create the product and oversee quality control
- Impact food trends
- Be directly connected to your customers with fast reaction times
- Create something meaningful and lasting
- Improve the existing food system
Engaging in food and beverage consumption has been and will continue to be a social phenomenon the world over. Travel to most any country and you’ll find people socially interacting around the dinner or breakfast table. Foodpreneur’s products are often the connective steam between friends and family in a social atmosphere. Great food can bring us together like nothing else.
On the frontend, becoming a foodpreneur doesn’t require a lot of investment. You only need a space for creation; a home kitchen or shared community kitchen will often suffice. Having a dedicated space to work combined with a desire to create something special are really the only prerequisites needed. There is always a desire for new foods and beverages and especially in today’s market, people are looking for the next best product at an alarming rate.
A Flourishing Career Path
There was a time when the aspiring foodpreneur would create their product and then begin the search for a reliable co-packer and distributor to get their product into stores and on the shelves. While this is still one possible route, today you’ll find many aspiring entrepreneurs will prefer more direct involvement in the entire process. Consumer appetite for locally-produced, small scale foods and beverages has seen tremendous growth and a rise in popularity. You’ll find many foodpreneurs are handling the distribution themselves by selling directly to consumers. Today there are many ecommerce options offering consumers a direct path to purchase products from the manufacturer.
How to Get Started
The first step is market research. It’s important for the aspiring foodpreneur to do their homework and ensure that the product they have in mind will be in demand and just as important, that the market can support their unique take on a product that might already exist. During this early phase, you’ll also want to be thinking about how you’ll define your company and product. Branding matters. Additional consumer market research should be done to determine how to best position and portray your product to potential customers. Oftentimes foodpreneurs will hire a brand guide to assist in this critical phase of the process.
With the research phase complete it will be time to develop the product. You might already have that perfect recipe for grandma’s cinnamon rolls but there may be ingredient tweaks needed. While sourcing the various components required for that perfect roll, it may become apparent that substitutions or replacements called for.
Once the product has been created and the company and brand defined, you’ll then want to consider how to best distribute your product to the masses. Will a co-packer be the best avenue forward? Will a direct-to-consumer model fit your goals and aspirations the best? You may find that developing an ecommerce store and handling consumer outreach will be the most comfortable way to get things started.
Running a small food or beverage-based business can be hard work. It’s important to position your business for steady growth and continued innovation. Your competitors will continually be in search of how to keep or take market share away from you. Avoid sitting on your laurels. Keep a close eye on new trends, new technologies and finances.
Becoming a foodpreneur can be a highly rewarding path. Not only will you get the opportunity to introduce your food or beverage idea to consumers, you’ll get to learn first hand about how to run a food-based business from the ground up. There will most certainly be some bumps along the way, but the end result will be worth the effort.