here - Escape The City

‘Pitching to food halls and
By Monique Borst
Escape the City
Unwrapping the food industry
Food manufacturing 2011
The UK's biggest manufacturing sector
Employing 440,000 people directly and indirectly accounting for a further 1.2
million jobs in the food chain
An incredibly diverse sector: there are 7,000 businesses – the overwhelming
majority of which are SMEs
Together generating £76bn of turnover
Highly innovative: spending £350m on R&D and launching 8,500 new
products every year
We export more than £12bn worth of food and non-alcoholic beverages
every year
Food and drink manufacturers buy 66% of what UK farmers produce
Salads Just Got Sexy!
How to get a foot in the door …
Your product has to be great, that goes without saying, have shelf presence and be supported by
a robust marketing plan.
Tip #1 Do thorough market research
Buyers will expect you to know lots about their business, its’ existing products and how your
product will increase the value of the category. They will also expect you to know every facet of
your own business, from where your ingredients are sourced, to production methods, your target
markets and finance.
Tip #2 Let your product speak for itself
You need to be absolutely convinced that you have a winning product in your hands. If Buyers are
persuaded by your rationale on why they should buy it and realise that it is a great product – this
is the best chance you have for seeing your product on the shelf.
Tip #3 Persistence is key
Getting a hearing is difficult for new entrants to the food industry: be creative in how you turn
‘no’ into ‘yes’ and don't give up until you secure that crucial first meeting!
Pitch tips
1. Be clear and concise. What are you offering? What do
you want? Make sure your focus is clear.
2. Include robust sales forecasts and profit projections.
Your pitch will be redundant without them. Remain
ambitious, but realistic.
3. Know your finances from top to bottom. Nothing
annoys Buyers more than a sloppy grasp of the
4. Enjoy the experience & remember to smile! It may be
daunting, but pitching is also fun and exciting and
practice makes perfect.
Over to you!
Think about yourself as an entrepreneur. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a role model business
person. Do they fit? What is your vision? What will the business look like in 5 years time? If you can’t
come up with a convincing picture it could be that you aren’t cut out for it.
Talk to successful business people you know and read profiles of great entrepreneurs. Have they got
something you haven’t? If it’s only luck and being in the right place at the right time then there’s
nothing to stop you emulating them. (However, there is more to it than that!)
Take a product you know reasonably well and write down 10 ways the producer/manufacturer
could improve it. Thinking about other businesses, even if they are unrelated to your business idea,
can stimulate great ideas about your own.
The key to all this is your customer! Don’t (yet) get pre-occupied by the product you are planning. Do
be obsessed by the experience your customers will have of it. Become your customer for a while:
you must know what difference your new product will make to their lives!
You may need to pay yourself very little in the early days. Calculate your domestic expenditure for at
least 12 months. Exactly where is your money going? What are you prepared to sacrifice? Work out
exactly what you need, but add in a 25% contingency amount to take into account sudden,
unforeseen expenses.
Useful links
Office for National Statistics
Food & Drink Federation
British Library Business & IP Centre
The Institute of Grocery Distribution
Key Note
Regional food & drink groups
Waitrose Small Producers Charter
Food Standards Agency