How Food Business Consultants Can Help Your Start-Up

No matter what industry you’re in, being a new business is a challenging task. Even not considering the start-up finances, the workload is never-ending. It can seem like there’s task after task, and that can be daunting to take on.

When you have a vision and want to see it through to the end, it’s important to bring in professional advice from people with experience and insight into the industry. One of the easiest first steps you can take is hiring consultants for your food business. 

Food business consultants manage those tedious steps of looking for the right ingredients, suppliers, packaging, and markets. These complicated tasks can be done much easier with some guidance. 

Provides Solutions & Increases Company Efficiency

Reaching out to consultants gives your business that competitive edge to get ahead of the slump of starting up, giving you a business-ready boost. Any problems that come with finding ingredients, sales, branding and distribution can be solved with the knowledge and effective communication they can provide.

If you’re struggling getting things started, finding suppliers, or finding the right ingredients, a food industry consultant can give you step-by-step processes to follow and provide solutions to issues that arise. Remember, they’ve dealt with food production before and have the knowledge to help you on your production. 

With starting a business now, you will encounter plenty of problems and consultants can step in and solve them and increase company efficiency. As Food Consultants Group points out, 

“More companies are realizing that it is not cost efficient to maintain in-house expertise in all functional areas. They are finding that by utilizing outside consultants, as the need arises, they can both save money and tap into a wealth of experience that they simply can not afford to maintain themselves.”

A food industry consultant not only saves you those gruelling long days of planning, but also helps cut costs to production and sourcing ingredients, which is helpful in the long run. 

Important Things to Tell A Food Business Consultant

When you do hire a consultant, consider what it is you’re looking for. At The Greater Goods, we specialize in certain foods and product types, foods like cocoa and nuts, and organic and non-GMO ingredients. Find a brokerage business that matches your food news to get the best possible outcome for your products. 

When you first begin with a food consultant, make your intentions clear. Are you bringing a new product to market? Are you looking for coaching and help getting things started? Consultants have a wide range of expertise and can advise you, but it’s important to let them know what you want to get the best possible result. Racelab says,

“Goals are meant to be achieved, but never go over the top with your expectations. Stick to your budget, be strict not to push limits and also let the food consultant know that you are determined with your pre-decided plans and constraints.”

The better your vision is for your product or your business plan, the more the consultant will understand your intentions. Effective communication is key here for a completely customized experience. 

Real-World Experience & Mentorship

If you’re a new business, it can be tricky to navigate in uncharted territory. Questions like who to contact, what is a good first step, or how to get a product onto the market, can seem like unknowns. Having someone who deals with these cases on a daily basis and also has the right connections and experience can be hugely beneficial. 

Since a food business consultant spends lots of time getting to know your business and brings in their industry expertise, they can provide a kind of mentorship to your business and staff. As outlined by the Foodservice Consultants Society International, a consultant can:

“Provide expertise, knowledge and experience to provide assistance that does not exist in-house, or by providing resources not available at the time. As independent professionals their primary focus is the welfare of the client organization that they serve.”

For bringing your start-up to life and helping your staff get the coaching, training, and certifications they need, a consultant can help you take leaps forward and have a competitive edge early on. If you’re looking for advice on how to get up and running, we offer a free consultation with our expert food industry consultants and food brokers. 

Cafeteria lunch young business people eat salad at office canteen

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about food business consultant but were Afraid to Ask

The food business consulting field is an exciting one, bringing ingredient manufacturers and producers together to create delicious meals. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about a food business consultant.

What exactly is a food business consultant?

As food business consultants, we work with businesses to help them build their perfect food products. We help them track down the ingredients they need so that they meet their quality goals while still controlling their packaging and production costs.

Our consulting services can help businesses take their production to the next level in other ways, too. Thanks to our extensive network of ingredient distributors and connections throughout the industry, we also help brands uncover co-manufacturing opportunities, leverage better buying prices through group buying, and even helping to diversify the broker base to increase brand exposure.

By helping our clients meet challenges in their food production, we position them to increase their profit margins and share their love of food and their delicious products with their entire market base.

Why would I need to hire a food business consultant?

As food business consultants, we help our clients take the delicious products they already produce and share them with the world. You already have some fantastic ideas for your food business. Clients turn to a food consultant, however, when they realize that they would like some help improving their production costs and building their profits.

Food consultants work behind the scenes. We have built extensive networks of other food producers and ingredient manufacturers. We get you the ingredients you need to succeed, connect you with other businesses to reduce purchasing costs, find ingredients you want at prices you love, and can even offer advice when it comes to food production and safety.

Customers hire us when they face problems such as:

  • They can’t get the ingredients they need to make that dish perfect.
  • Their dish is good, but it is just not hitting the right quality or texture that they want.
  • They need ingredients that hold certain types of certifications but just can’t find what they need.
  • They are struggling to find an ingredient supplier that is both reasonable in price and completely reliable.

How do food consultants accomplish all of these different goals?

We are able to help our customers because we have built networks that connect us around the world. The average food producer cannot be expected to be able to source ingredients on a global scale, which is why they turn to us. We also have been in the business for years, which has allowed us to build excellent relationships throughout the industry and given us the experience we need to know exactly how to find what we seek.

Together, these traits allow us to help our clients reach their goals and build their businesses.

How is the food industry changing?

The food industry continues to change as wholesalers consolidate and group procurement organizations dominate in certain sectors.

We are also seeing changes as the in-between grocers and restaurants get more blurred, with grocers offering more opportunities to eat in-house. These changes might influence how customers eat, but we are sure to be right in the middle, helping our clients navigate the changes with success.

Food business consulting is an exciting industry and we enjoy helping each of our clients thrive in the production of their delicious meals.

cropped shot of businesspeople passing contract in envelope at workplace

What is the difference between a food broker and a distributor?

Once someone develops a fantastic idea for a food product and begins to manufacturer it, they have to figure out the best way to sell it. Although many food manufacturers often get their start working personally with different retailers and trying to convince them to sell the product, they quickly realize that a food distributor or a food broker might provide an incredible opportunity for growth.

Both food brokers and distributors can help manufacturers get their products on the shelves of retailers, but they go about it in different ways. Understanding these differences can help businesses make the best choice to build their organization.

What is a food distributor?

A food distributor works with product manufacturers to get their products to retail stores. They will generally buy the product in bulk and then sell their supply to the store themselves.

These organizations work to build relationships with retail establishments so that they have the network and connections that allow them to sell the products significantly easier than an independent food manufacturer. However, with distributors that manage numerous brands, smaller companies have to make sure that their business’s needs do not get overlooked.

Working with a food distributor does allow the food manufacturer to hand off many of their tasks, including delivering food to the retailer, taking requests and orders from the retailer, managing product returns, and overall managing the relationship with the retailer.

What is a food broker?

A food broker can also help manufacturers market and sell their products through retailers. A food broker will use their extensive network and relationships with various retailers to build selling opportunities for a food manufacturer. The broker will encourage retailers to sell the product and then typically charge a commission based on the products that get sold.

How to understand the differences between a food distributor and a food broker

The differences between a food distributor and a food broker can be difficult to see at first. Both help food manufacturers get their product out to retailers and help them manage many of the tasks associated with the relationship between retailers and the manufacturers.

However, the food distributor personally buys the product. They will purchase a certain amount of a given product at wholesale prices and then sell it themselves to retailers to make their profit. Since they purchase the product themselves directly, they handle more of the responsibilities involved with managing orders and inventory from the retailer.

The broker, however, does not buy products from you. Instead, they function in a sales role. They promote your product. This makes them more invested in the long term plan for your product. A plan that indicates more opportunities for growth also positions them to build their profit margins from your product.

For food manufacturing brands that want to work with professionals to encourage retail sales opportunities for their products, both food distributors and food brokers offer potential solutions. Understanding the differences between these two types of companies and how they work with retailers can help every food manufacturer make the decision that will work best for their organization.

The Benefits of Working With a Food Industry Consultant

Whether you’re producing a new product or you’re looking to have an assessment of your current food production, hiring a food consultant is beneficial for much-needed advice. Having a great idea for a new product is one thing, but the steps to getting it to market can be a tedious hassle.

That’s where a food industry consultant steps in, working with your needs and matching you with the right companies, manufacturers, retails, and other businesses to bring you the best possible product. 

For businesses who are currently making food products and either want to expand to work on something new, or need advice on where to improve, a food consultant can be brought on for business advice. They can take a look at the functionality of your business and even help coach your staff. 

Finding Companies with Similar Interests Through a Vast Network

Consultants have a wide range of connections and can help you connect with people in the food industry who match your company’s needs and ethics. 

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs notes that “it’s essential to find a partner that fits with your business objectives, as bigger is not always better, especially for smaller food firms. Selecting this partner requires careful consideration and homework.”

We are a company based in Ontario but being a food business consultant has a wide reach. We recently secured a $1 million sales contract in Europe, and have experience selling to global markets by sourcing online and in-person. 

Find the Right Consultant For You

When looking for the right food industry consultant to work with, it’s often recommended to stay with a local company. We specialize in helping Ontario businesses, which brings the advantage of in-person meetings and site visits. Meeting in person and being there onsite strengthens the working relationship with your consultant and gives them a better understanding of your needs. 

Keep in mind not only location, but what communication is like with the consultant. Being clear and listing specific deliverables effectively tells the consultant what you’re looking for. The Alberta Agriculture Industry says to “work with your broker in the same way that you would a salesperson. Make the broker part of the planning and strategy as it will make them part of the team.”

Food Certification & Quality

Not only do the quality of the company, products and ingredients get taken into consideration, but a food industry consultant also brings the knowledge of food health and safety. The many rules and regulations can be confusing, but a consultant has a good knowledge of the industry and keeps these in mind when looking for the right products. 

At Greater Goods, we also specialize in organic and non-GMO ingredients and can help you achieve certification in those areas as well. We strive ourselves on finding a cost-effective way to manufacture products while still having the most high-quality ingredients possible. 

Through one of our case studies, Luisella Chocolate Spread, we aided our client in finding the right ingredients, negotiating pricing with vendors, and seeing the product through to manufacturing. 

Pre-Audits & Assessments

Getting your products certified before heading to market can be a jumble of rules and regulations to follow, and a consultant can help give support and guidance on what is required to pass food safety certification programs. 

Performing pre-audits and risk assessments will assure a product is at its best quality for going to market. A consultant can walk staff through these procedures and provide any necessary coaching. 

Bringing a food industry consultant takes you on the easy path to bringing your product to market or helping your business work more efficiently. The relationships you build not only with the consultant, but with the companies they connect you with, can help expand and integrate your business even more in the food industry. 

Bringing Your Product to the Retail Market with a Food Broker

The food industry is very dense, with consumers wanting everything from low-priced foods, to organic goods, to locally-sourced food. The options can be endless and some things aren’t as easy to find, and markets are searching in an endless list of products to sell in stores.

This is where food brokers come in. If you provide them with a description of what kind of groups of people you’re trying to reach, a food broker can find the right fit for your product and take it directly to the market. 

Food brokers provide the guidance that brings your product to the markets, using their connections and industry skills to help you sell your product to the right retailers. If you’ve just started production on your product or are struggling to find the right retailers to sell to, that’s where a broker can come in and help. 

Effective Communication

When bringing a food broker in to help your product, effectively communicating what it is you want is essential. They can make sure they give you the necessary tools and coaching to succeed. 

The Alberta Agriculture Industry says that to best communicate with a food broker, make sure to talk about your needs:

“A productive relationship is based on communication and trust. Because your broker is putting your sales plan into effect, seek the broker’s advice during the planning stages. Inform the broker about your product. Work with the broker to develop product information sheets to leave with the buyers.”

Knowledge of the Food Industry 

Food brokers have a handle of the food industry and what your product is most suited for. They’re a great resource to get a good sense of what the market is like, especially for your product. For example, The Greater Goods specializes in chocolate, cocoa, dried fruits, nuts and nut butters, and can provide a lot of insight on what a product needs to get in the retail market based on our previous experience in the industry.

Our food brokers and food industry consultants have the experience and education necessary to have a full understanding of how the industry works. Here’s just some of the skills food brokers can bring to your business, as outlined by Upserve

  • “Create and maintain food safety procedures.
  • Assist with culinary development and menu design.
  • Assist with revenue generation, food costs and menu engineering.
  • Develop food production facilities and kitchens up to code.
  • Create products and dishes that are nutritionally viable and tasty.”

Brokers provide that much-needed step in the door to contact retailers. They’ve dealt with lots of different businesses and companies and know how each one functions. It can be helpful to have a broker when you’re looking for businesses on the retail market to sell to. They’ll be able to reach as many people as possible, who will also fit your company’s interests. 

Quality Assurance

Bringing a business consultant in like a food broker will provide that extra step to quality assurance. Food brokers make sure packaging and ingredient costs remain as affordable as possible while still keeping the product at top quality. Our staff at The Greater Goods can also provide consultation in food supply and packaging to help get you set up with what you need to get your product to the retail market. 

Seeing the Product from Beginning to End

It can be difficult to navigate the food market, but trusting food brokers to reach out to the right people can be that big leap from production to getting your product on shelves.

Brokers specialize in different processes of food production, from planning and concept to maintaining sales after-market release. Consider how long and for what stage of the production process you would need a food broker for.  
If you’re interested in learning more specifically to your business, you can book a consultation with us free of charge.