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How Do I Begin To Sell My Salsa Product?
11/17/2007 at 7:47 PM ET
My husband and I have this great recipe for salsa and we would love to get it on the market. How do we take the salsa from our kitchen into the market place? Can we simply bottle, slap a label on it and begin selling to independant markets? Or, is there a legal format we must follow first? We would like to start small since we don't have much money to start with and then maybe grow from there. If you can give us the appropriate steps to take we will greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
11/17/2007 at 8:31 PM
The question I have for you is what unique customer needs does your salsa have that the 1000 or so brands already in existence locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally don't already satisfy? You're going to say, "It tastes better than anything else I've tasted and all my friends and family agree that it's the best in the world!" Not exactly an original claim - probably about 995 of the 1000 say the same thing and none of them say, "It's about the same as everyone else's" or "This one is more bland and has very little flavor!"
Your very FIRST challenge is to find the market for your sauce, not to bottle it legally. You'd waste what little money you do have if you don't do your homework in marketing first.
Who are your customers? What are their needs? How do you reach them to tell them about your product? What are the emotional images and words that motivate them to buy?
Who are the competitors? How well do they satisfy customers' needs? Where do they fall short? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Your company and your salsa
What core competencies do you have? The recipe, I know - anything else? How can you leverage them into unique selling points (the recipe, yes, anything else)?
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
What are your strengths and weaknesses and how can you leverage your strengths versus the competitors' weaknesses? What are your opportunities and threats (this gives you SWOT analysis)?
What strategies come from the competitive strengths and weaknesses analysis and the SWOT analysis? What is your product strategy? Will you have mild, medium, hot? Will you have just salsa or nacho cheese and picante sauce, etc? Just Mexican or does Aunt DuPont have some French or Cajun recipes, too? What is your pricing strategy? What is your branding strategy (I'm not sure if DuPont Salsa will a good brand, but I guess Pace is not a Mexican name and it has). Branding is more than name, however - colors, tag lines, font used, brand identity, etc.
Now you are ready to develop the marketing plan. What are your goals? How will you measure them? How are you going to reach your customers? TV? Radio? Print ads? Press releases?
Now you are ready for a business plan. This incorporates your marketing plan
company management, production strategy, distribution strategy, regulatory issues, etc. Regulatory issues concerning food products vary state by state. I can't tell you what yours might be, since I don't know your location. Have you tried an online search for food preparation regulations for your state? If you can't find them, you can at least find a state agency and start asking questions until you get the information. You'll probably want to form a corporation for your salsa - this protects your personal property if someone decides to sue you - like if your salsa's so hot they temporarily go blind and wreck their car. But, for this question, you should consult a CPA (for tax ramifications on which corporate structure to choose) and a lawyer. Forming relationships with stores in which to sell your salsa is a necessary part of your business plan, as well.
So, Annette, this is but a summary of what you will have to do to make a go of it commercializing your salsa. I hope this helps and good luck!
11/19/2007 at 11:27 AM
I would think you'd be facing some FDA requirements?
And, check out the legalities and protect yourself there first.
Mass production - what is your plan to do this? How to bottle, label, distribute.
Then, find out if feasible still to go to market.
LABEL design...biggest thing that is going to sell your salsa...has to be different...appealing...
11/20/2007 at 3:55 PM
Attend new FOOD products tradeshows where you network with others in the industry...you'll meet all types of suppliers and potentially buyers at such venues.
11/20/2007 at 11:17 PM
Check for county and state regulations for making your product. It may be really expensive to get started, it is different in every state. Some states have very prohibitive requirements, some don't. You could maybe have a local small business make it for you for a small cost as opposed to going thru the potentially expensive proposition of setting up your own commercial kitchen. There are also companies that make and bottle products for you. It might seem more expensive, but google private label food and see what you come up with.
I strongly agree with the blind tasting, not trying to be mean, but 995 out of 1000 do say theirs taste better. As for family and friends, they always say it is better, but will they in a blind test.
I strongly agree that you shouldn't compete on price and you should work on great labeling. If you look at what is going on in the wine industry, they are getting really creative with their naming and their labels. If you got as creative as some of the wine companies you could create a niche.
The farmers markets are definitely a great way to get started. Unless you are exceptionally well funded you won't be able to produce enough product to go into chain stores. Selling your salsa through a local Mexican restaurant could be good way to go also.
11/30/2007 at 10:27 AM
I am closing this question since there has been no activity in 10 days.
Thanks for participating!
Carrie (Production Editor)
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