Discover more from The Business of Food
No one cares about your product
No one cares about your product. Better to hear this now than lose out on an investor pitch or buyer meeting and not know why.
I see it again and again; innovators and owners are too product-focused. All the benefits and features of your bars, how amazing it tastes, the nutritional statement, etc., only matter if you have an audience that cares. Within that target audience, you need consumers who are willing to part with their money. They are not going to spend money on a product that is good, they are going to spend money on a product that fulfills a need.
Products Should Solve Problems
Successful brands are those that zero in on a real need. They are consumer focused. If you’re just trying to move a commodity with a copy-cat product you’ll only compete on price and it’ll be a race to the bottom.
Let’s look at some brands at various stages of growth and what problems they are solving.
Problem: People want brain health support but don’t want to take a pill
Solution: A protein bar made for your brain
Stage: Growth. Revenues ~ $10m from D2C
Wins: $3m Series A, poised to take on retail in 2024
Simple Mills Cheddar Pop Mmms™ Crackers
Problem: Parents want to feel better about their kids eating cheese crackers
Solution: Cheese crackers made without wheat or corn; but with veggie flours from crops that improve soil health
Wins: #1 baking mix brand, #1 cracker brand, #1 cookie brand in the natural channel with distribution in over 28,000 stores nationwide
Problem: Most American cooks don’t make Indian cuisine at home, it’s unfamiliar
Solution: Traditional Indian street food made into nutritious dips for convenience and accessibility
Stage: Seed stage. Startup.
Wins: Pitch Slam Finalist at Expo West 2023
Once you figure out what problem you are solving you then need to explain why you are best positioned to solve it. You don’t have to be celebrity owned (even though MOSH’s Patrick Schwarzenegger and mom Maria Shriver are) to build an audience. But you do have to have credibility in what you are solving for. Simple Mills’ Katlin Smith solved for center of the store options when gluten intolerance was rising, making her innovation into kid snacks a natural adjacency. Former Walmart buyer Mehek Khera is innovating her family’s authentic Indian street food recipes as convenient, no-prep dips.
You don't have to have industry experience either. In fact, most founders don't (I didn't). You just need to prove out your proposition by earning a significant sample of repeat buyers - loyalists - that see your brand as a better option for meeting their needs.
All my best,
California Almonds are positioning around recovery, as almonds are rich in nutrients that can help with exercise recovery. They’ve got Deion Sanders spreading the message.
This is how long the FDA allowed food manufacturers to comply with new regulation around partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Food & Beverage Insider
In June 2015, the agency determined PHOs were no longer GRAS. The final compliance date, Jan. 1, 2021, gave manufacturers time to reformulate.