Unwrapping the food industry Food manufacturing 2011 The UK's biggest manufacturing sector Employing 440,000 people directly and indirectly accounting for a further 1.2 million jobs in the food chain An incredibly diverse sector: there are 7,000 businesses – the overwhelming majority of which are SMEs Together generating £76bn of turnover Highly innovative: spending £350m on R&D and launching 8,500 new products every year We export more than £12bn worth of food and non-alcoholic beverages every year Food and drink manufacturers buy 66% of what UK farmers produce www.fdf.org.uk
How to get a foot in the door … Your product has to be great, that goes without saying, have shelf presence and be supported by a robust marketing plan. Tip #1 Do thorough market research Buyers will expect you to know lots about their business, its’ existing products and how your product will increase the value of the category. They will also expect you to know every facet of your own business, from where your ingredients are sourced, to production methods, your target markets and finance. Tip #2 Let your product speak for itself You need to be absolutely convinced that you have a winning product in your hands. If Buyers are persuaded by your rationale on why they should buy it and realise that it is a great product – this is the best chance you have for seeing your product on the shelf. Tip #3 Persistence is key Getting a hearing is difficult for new entrants to the food industry: be creative in how you turn ‘no’ into ‘yes’ and don't give up until you secure that crucial first meeting!
Pitch tips 1.Be clear and concise. What are you offering? What do you want? Make sure your focus is clear. 2.Include robust sales forecasts and profit projections. Your pitch will be redundant without them. Remain ambitious, but realistic. 3.Know your finances from top to bottom. Nothing annoys Buyers more than a sloppy grasp of the numbers. 4.Enjoy the experience & remember to smile! It may be daunting, but pitching is also fun and exciting and practice makes perfect.
Over to you! Think about yourself as an entrepreneur. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a role model business person. Do they fit? What is your vision? What will the business look like in 5 years time? If you can’t come up with a convincing picture it could be that you aren’t cut out for it. Talk to successful business people you know and read profiles of great entrepreneurs. Have they got something you haven’t? If it’s only luck and being in the right place at the right time then there’s nothing to stop you emulating them. (However, there is more to it than that!) Take a product you know reasonably well and write down 10 ways the producer/manufacturer could improve it. Thinking about other businesses, even if they are unrelated to your business idea, can stimulate great ideas about your own. The key to all this is your customer! Don’t (yet) get pre-occupied by the product you are planning. Do be obsessed by the experience your customers will have of it. Become your customer for a while: you must know what difference your new product will make to their lives! You may need to pay yourself very little in the early days. Calculate your domestic expenditure for at least 12 months. Exactly where is your money going? What are you prepared to sacrifice? Work out exactly what you need, but add in a 25% contingency amount to take into account sudden, unforeseen expenses.
Useful links Office for National Statistics www.statistics.gov.ukwww.statistics.gov.uk Mintel www.oxygen.mintel.comwww.oxygen.mintel.com Food & Drink Federation www.fdf.org.ukwww.fdf.org.uk Defra www.defra.gov.uk/statisticswww.defra.gov.uk/statistics British Library Business & IP Centre www.bl.uk/bipc/www.bl.uk/bipc/ The Institute of Grocery Distribution www.igd.comwww.igd.com Key Note www.keynote.co.ukwww.keynote.co.uk Regional food & drink groups www.london.gov.uk/londonfood www.london.gov.uk/londonfood Waitrose Small Producers Charter www.waitrose.comwww.waitrose.com Sainsbury’s www.supplysomethingnew.co.ukwww.supplysomethingnew.co.uk Asda www.asdasupplier.comwww.asdasupplier.com Food Standards Agency www.food.gov.ukwww.food.gov.uk