Value-added, but “light”
Processing your own value-added products (for example, processing tomatoes and other ingredients into pasta sauce, salsa, etc.) may seem overwhelming, but you do have another option for offering “meal solutions.”
What might you do if you have most, if not all, of the ingredients for salsa or pasta sauce, but you don’t feel that the private label approach (an item manufactured by another business but labeled as your own branded product) is appropriate for your business? Or, perhaps you have an idea for a processed product and cannot find the right “finished” product offered by a private label company?
One option is to create a “light” version of a value-added product by selecting a recipe and assembling ingredients in the amounts appropriate for the recipe.
For example, I’m sure that your customers would probably like to make your family’s award-winning salsa for their New Year’s Eve or Super Bowl party. What you would need to do to accommodate them would be to assemble enough of each of the ingredients so that your customer would only need to refer to your recipe and prepare the salsa from all that was provided in the package.
If your recipe calls for salt and/or pepper or another pantry staple, you could omit it from the value-added light package and alert the customer that they need to add these one or two ingredients to make the dish.
What food trend does your product pair with or complement?
Along with suggesting additional ways that your fresh and value-added products can be used as an ingredient or in a unique way, consider how you can link your goods with longstanding and/or the latest food trends. According to a couple of sources, “fermented” foods such as kimchee and sauerkraut will gain notice in 2015. Which of your foods would complement these dishes, or what ingredients could consumers buy from you to make their own?
Perhaps you do not make and sell your own alcoholic beverages, but your product would be a perfect pairing for a local wine, craft beer, hard cider, or even a distillery’s hard liquor (we've seen great growth in consumption - and will continue to see interest in these beverages continue). Where can you find information as to potential pairings that you could suggest to your customers? Here is a short list of resources:
- Gourmetsleuth.com offers suggestions for a fair number of fresh or dried fruits, while
Foodrepublic.com provides an Infographic on pairing wine and vegetables.
- WineFolly posted a wine guide that also provides a list of what prepared foods (e.g. salty foods, vegetable dishes, roasted foods, sweets).
- •A downloadable chart created by the Brewers Association shows what beers pair with salads and a wide variety of meat dishes, while a list of foods that pair well with hard ciders can be found here: http://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/
While these are just a few ideas, these strategies can help you provide your customers with one, two, three, or more ways to use the products you sell. You’re really only limited by your imagination.