So, today, I thought I would do a follow up to my applesauce article. I figured that since I got the ball rolling with a”tasting” of what it was like to work for myself and, more especially from the food business, that now I’d elaborate a little on a few of the different elements of the biz that I loved. These are likely to be parts of this business that match well with my character on various levels. Just for kicks and, since it is one of those parts I liked the most and therefore th area where I have some of the most important memories, was doing exactly what we called the”food tastings”.
Fundamentally, this would involve me having to start by visiting with other companies that I thought could be compatible with ours, such as gourmet shops or gift basket companies, and approaching the owners with the notion of them carrying our product line in their institution. Now, this might seem like a simple thing to do, however, bear in mind that 1) they have never heard of me or my organization, and 2) they risk their reputation if a product they bring in turns out to be a poor reflection on them. I mean, what if I had some dumb, lame flavor combination like sardine and marshmallow applesauce?
Sure, they may operate in a niche market (a VERY niche market), however, when you get down and dirty they simply are not that appealing. So, generally, here is how I’d approach them. I would bring in some samples for them to taste. This gives them something concrete with which to operate. To start with, they could feel and examine the jars. Are they something distinctive and attractive or another sort of”mason” jar with a different homemade label shot from an inkjet printer using a logo that your came up with on napkin at Pizza Hut? Is the emblem distinct and fresh, eye catching and draw the attention of the consumer by standing outside? Go into any local orchard or gift basket shop and look around at how similar a lot of the goods are on the shelves.
The entire”made at home next to grandpa’s still” look is truly getting tired and worn and business owners want and gladly welcome items which are”new”,”unique” and”fresh” rather than only in the products name. Bear in mind, in our situation, we targeted gourmet and gift basket lines and therefore there was a real need to justify price and their final markup. Big deal! My grandma (or mom or uncle or fill-in-the-blank) makes GREAT applesauce. Why should I pay $xx for something I get for cheap or free?” That’s one reason you don’t find a plain applesauce in our lineup. Who would like to compare with nana? So we knew we had a different angle and invented flavor combinations. After we convinced the proprietor we had something new/unique we let them taste the product to judge as to whether they liked the quality, feel and taste.
IF we got this much we then brought up the concept of doing a tasting for their clients. This accomplished a few things. It helped draw customers from the door. There is nothing like the smell of fresh cooked applesauce to get people interested. Secondly, it gave customers the opportunity to sample something new and possibly even book (come on now, Pineapple/Banana?) . Third, clients got the opportunity to speak and interact with the goods creator/owner. This worked marvels and took some of the mystique from this new addition to the shops line. Complete with stories of some terrific customer interactions.