A recipe for success: how to start a health food brand
WHEN launching a health food brand, while it’s tempting to shout about what makes you different, focusing on a diet or health term can actually be a burden, says Suzie Walker, of snack brand The Primal Pantry.
“Many health food products come to market targeted at a niche audience, but that can limit you,” she explains, giving the example of launching a bar with “paleo” on the packaging.
She later found through consumer tests that it confused people. “Some thought that it was an ingredient or that it contained meat,” she says, adding that it became a somewhat negative term. “People following a paleo diet would have found us quickly, but others were less likely to.”
The company recently removed the word from its packaging, which Ms Walker thinks will open it up to a wider audience.
“You want to avoid putting ‘fad’ words in your branding, so that you’re not limiting yourself to one aspect of the market – you give yourself room to expand the product range,” she says.
Research your ingredients
Oliver Dickinson, founder of health drink company WOW, says that it’s best to find a happy medium between delivering a quality product and an expected price point.
“We spent a lot of time sourcing our chia seeds – and the difference in terms of quality and price was enormous,” he explains.
Make every penny count
Once you’ve got your product and packaging sorted, the next challenge is getting it in shops, says Mr Dickinson.
“Buyers will only work with you if you can demonstrate that your product has a proven rate of sale,” he explains. “They want to know that you won’t suddenly close.”
Do this by starting small and focusing on getting it right. Smaller shops know their customers better (so can give good product feedback) and are more open to suggestions on things such as window displays.
They also have faster turnaround times. “They can place an order the same day that they see you and have stock on the shelf within 24 hours,” he says. “The big supermarkets only update their range once a year.”
Always negotiate, he says: “We once negotiated a saving of 4p per bottle.”
Communicate through packaging
With health food shelves extremely crowded, it’s key to communicate with the customer at the shelf, says Tom Oliver, of Tom Oliver Nutrition.
“Our Omega 3 supplement is in a black box, which is unique for its category,” he explains. “Its USPs are clearly highlighted in yellow circles, with the health benefits also listed.”
Aim for consumers to be able to clearly see what your product is, what it does and how to use it at first glance, he says. “There are strict controls for health claims on packaging, so reference must be given to the European Food Safety Authority and its approved claims for ingredients.”