Have you created the next great food product we all need to try?
Once you’ve perfected the recipe, you’ll be primed to get it out there.
Big hitters like Nestlé and Coca-Cola will earmark a few hundred million each year to spend on market research, but do cash-strapped start-ups need to dig into their more humble budgets to find out what the people think?
Yes. Understanding what your potential customers think of your product and whether they would buy it is the foundation of getting it into the market.
You need to know your target consumers’ needs, preferences, and options.
This insight will affect everything from developing your products to marketing them, creating sales strategies, and seeking investments.
One of the best ways to save money on your market research is to use the data that’s already readily available rather than investing in collecting your own.
The Business and IP Centre at the British Library holds a wealth of research, including Mintel reports available for free, providing expert market analysis and in-depth consumer opinions.
You can learn a lot about the sector you’re joining, who your primary competitors are and what drives your field.
The next place to look is directly at your competitors. After all, they’re the ones you will be selling alongside and they’re already ahead of you.
The three key things to consider when looking at your competition are:
- Where does your product fit among the competition?
- How are you better than them?
- What is your unique selling point (USP)?
Take a trip to your local supermarket and take a look down the aisle where your product would be.
Who would you be replacing on the shelf?
Beware of testing your product on friends and family.
They know you, care about you, and understand the huge amount of work you’ve put in, so they’re understandably biased.
For honest opinions, you need to talk to strangers.
While focus groups are a common research method, it’s essential to keep in mind that people behave very differently when they’re shopping.
Try to make your testing as authentic as possible for the most valuable results. You could set up a market stall to test your food product and gather feedback before launching it more widely.
You’ll be able to get direct feedback from potential customers, observe their behaviour, and make adjustments to your product before investing in a larger-scale launch.
It’s a valuable way to understand your customers’ preferences and optimise your offerings for success in the market.
Failure to research could be the death knell for your food business.
You could end up investing everything in a product that’s too similar to an existing one, doesn’t resonate with its intended audience or just isn’t quite ready for retail yet.
Take your time at this stage for your best chance of a successful launch.