Most people know startup businesses have a high probability of failing. However, that poor outcome is sometimes especially true for food-related businesses, because the market is already so saturated. Keep reading to learn several potential pitfalls, and more importantly, how to steer clear of them to keep your fledgling food business afloat.
Uninspired Packaging Designs
During the early days of your food startup, you may strongly believe your cuisine is so delicious, it’ll fly off the shelves. Sure, it’s important to create yummy food, since taste is one of the cornerstones of your business, and some would arguably say its most important attribute. However, consider that whenever they stroll down grocery store aisles or browse the offerings at a food store counter, customers become bombarded with possible things to purchase.
What causes them to choose some things over others? Sometimes customers give in to brand loyalty, or they notice the flavor printed on a label and think it sounds like something worth trying. In many cases though, especially when buying products they haven’t tasted before, the packaging persuades customers.
There are numerous things to consider when selecting your packaging. Brand visibility is arguably one of the most crucial, but you also may want to choose a package made from easily recyclable materials, or go with a distinctive background color-font combination that makes the words seem to pop out. Regardless of the specifics that are most important to your food startup, never skimp on packaging, especially when trying to build and maintain marketplace momentum.
Trying to Grow Too Fast
Periods of growth are exciting for all sorts of startups, but especially when they happen in an industry as competitive as the food sector. If your food startup is booming, it’s tempting to do everything you can to capitalize on the momentum, but never at the expense of personal or employee well-being.
Recently, Blue Apron, a four-year-old startup that delivers all the ingredients needed for delectable meals made in home kitchens, came under fire for allegedly dangerous working conditions in a fulfillment center. The atmosphere was reportedly violent and required frequent law enforcement intervention. Reporters blamed the company’s rapid growth for the issues, asserting that four years ago, that fulfillment center had just 50 employees but now has over 1,000.
To avoid making the same mistake, go about your growth plan in a slow and steady way. It may feel like you’re missing out on opportunities by taking that calculated approach, but it’s worthwhile to pursue that method rather than taking actions that are so haphazard they risk your startup’s reputation and thereby cause the public’s trust to falter.
Failing to Thoroughly Understand the Market
Maybe you feel the idea behind your food startup is so intriguing, there’s no need to test that assumption before going full speed ahead with operations. By ignoring the need to do market research and not asking potential customers how their needs remain unmet, you’re bypassing ways to solidify a sound business strategy. You’re probably aware of several things your startup could do better than competitors, but it’s almost certain the target market will bring up things you haven’t thought of yet.
Not Considering the Potential Actions of Threatened Industry Boards
If your food startup challenges the perceptions people have of particular foods and turns them on their heads, you may attract unfavorable attention from industry boards that promote foods and their continued use. A food technology company called HamptonCreek came to the attention of the American Egg Board when it marketed a type of mayonnaise made without eggs.
The startup company was subjected to a two-year campaign meant to thwart its efforts. It was not ultimately successful, but still goes to show how far some food boards might take things if they feel threatened by whatever your food startup is doing.
Always take a proactive stance and hire a trustworthy legal team before your food startup even gets off the ground. That way, you can establish the relationship early on, and rely on your legal professionals in case any tricky situations arise.
You’ve just learned about potential things that cause food startups to fail. Although there’s no guarantee you’ll experience them too, now you at least possess the know-how needed to avoid barriers that could hinder your businesses’ success.