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Assessing Product Viability: The First Step to Ensuring Success in Food Startups

At Food Forward, we understand that launching a new product in the food industry is a thrilling venture. Yet, the foundation of a successful launch is a thorough understanding of product viability. This essential first step involves a deep dive into market demand, regulatory compliance, production logistics, and financial feasibility. Let’s discuss this through a recent interaction with an entrepreneur eager to introduce a novel product: flavoured water for dogs.


Initial Consultation: Bringing an Idea to Life


Beginning with a simple referral—we met a very passionate food innovator with an intriguing concept: water for dogs enhanced with flavors like blueberries and sweet potatoes. However, as our discussions progressed, the concept evolved into including more complex variants like bone broth, introducing additional layers of regulatory and production complexities due to its meat content.


Market Analysis and Competitive Landscape


Inspired by the success of existing products such as "Wagon Water," the entrepreneur aimed to carve out a niche by offering a unique selling point—user-friendly and innovative packaging that improved existing market offerings. This stage underscored the importance of not only recognising what works in the market but also pinpointing opportunities to innovate and add value.


Regulatory Compliance and Production Realities


Delving into the feasibility of the product, we uncovered significant challenges. The inclusion of ingredients like collagen classified the product as potentially hazardous, necessitating a specialised production process. This phase highlighted a critical aspect of viability assessment: ensuring the product meets safety standards and can be produced within the logistical capabilities available.


Financial Insights and Consumer Acceptance


The entrepreneur was confident about the product’s potential and backed by adequate funding. However, validating true market demand and understanding the economics of scaling production were crucial. We discussed various production scenarios, from using commercial kitchens for small-scale trials to engaging large-scale co-packers, emphasising the importance of a phased approach to market entry.


Industry Feedback and Strategic Refinement


Feedback from industry insiders offered mixed views, reflecting the divide between belief in the product’s potential and skepticism regarding its practical implementation. This feedback is vital, as it helps refine the product concept and align it more closely with market realities and consumer expectations.


The Path Forward with Food Forward


At Food Forward, we stress that assessing product viability is not a one-time task but a continuous process that evolves with the product’s lifecycle. We helped the entrepreneur understand that while innovation is crucial, it must be balanced with practical market and production considerations.

Through this collaborative process, we provided the entrepreneur with a realistic outlook on their product idea, blending their passion with our expertise to determine the best path forward. Our role is to guide our clients through this complex landscape, ensuring that they build on a solid foundation that supports long-term growth.

In conclusion, at Food Forward, we believe that a detailed viability assessment is more than just having a great idea; it’s about making sure that the idea can stand up to the rigors of the market and grow into a viable, profitable business venture.

If you're ready to turn your culinary vision into a retail reality, reach out to us at dave@food4ward.com or send us a DM. Let's bring your creations to life!



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