5 Tips on How to Create a Keto Food Brand that will Thrive
Take a walk down the aisle of any major supermarket and you’re sure to discover that the layout of the available food items and products is significantly different than it was only a decade ago. While you can still find aisles completely dedicated to sugary cereals and canned soups, most supermarkets around the country are also incorporating specific sections dedicated to specialty food items. In fact, one recent study found that over 65 percent of consumers have recently purchased specialty foods items within the past year. In 2017 alone, the specialty food industry (including grain-free, paleo, and keto products) earned $140.3 billion in retail and foodservice sales.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for people on the Keto Diet and other low-carb diets is finding specialty foods that are specifically produced to help them stay on top of their nutrition goals. A study that analyzed that worldwide growth of the Keto Diet found that the most important difficulties for new adherents to the Keto Diet included “finding specific nutritional labels on foods, and handling the growing interest from large populations with limited resources.” While buying a steak at the deli is typically straightforward, adherents to low carb, keto diets understandably face the daily challenge of finding a variety of prepared foods that will help them to stay on their limited carbohydrate intake goals.
The Keto Diet was the top Google diet search in 2018, and with the ketogenic food market expected to reach 12.35 billion dollars in 2024, now is the time to start a food brand that is specifically tailored towards increasing the diversity of options for people on low carb diets. Below, we offer five tips on how you can create a keto food brand to take advantage of this booming market.
How to Create a Keto Food Brand The Role of Social Media
If your food brand isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect directly with close to a quarter billion Americans who use social media channels on a daily basis. Today, consumers in all industries want to interact with the brands that they support. While our parents´ generation based their consumer loyalties on traditional marketing channels, a recent poll found that 72 percent of marketers think social media branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine and 62 percent say it is more effective than advertising on TV. In fact, social media marketing is an essential way to attract new customers and can help you direct your marketing approaches to connect directly with potential customers who have already shown an interest in what you offer.
While there are no shortage of books on the benefits of reducing your carbohydrate intake, the vast majority of people interested in the Keto Diet find information on the internet. There are dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to keto living and a food brand that is active on social media channels can develop smart marketing strategies that will advertise your unique products to a select population with a candid interest in what you (literally) bring to the table.
The Importance of Product Development
The key to establishing a successful food brand is creating a product that adequately responds to consumer demand and fills a gap in the market. When done correctly, product development results in the conversion of market need into a reality-based solution that responds to customer demand. In the specific case of low carb foods, it is well known that people will quickly get tired of spending hours analyzing nutrition labels to determine whether or not a specific food item is “Keto-friendly.”
Developing a line of food products that make it easy for people to enjoy a quick meal or an “on-the-road” snack without having to worry about having gone over their carb limit for the day is an opportunity waiting to be exploited. In fact, a recent Forbes article looking at the opportunities for growth in the Keto food market states that “the number of snacks and other meal options will increase to accommodate consumer demand.” To develop and create a keto food brand, then, you will need to incorporate an intimate knowledge of low-carb ingredients, healthy processing techniques, and attractive packaging materials that will tailor to customer preferences in the keto food market.
Strategies for Building Consumer Loyalty
While innovative product development can certainly help a startup food brand gain new customers, retaining those clients is where the real money is at. Studies show that the probability of selling to an existing customer stands at around 60 to 70 percent while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent. Furthermore, your current customers will spend around 67 percent more on average than those who are new to your business. Some ideas for increasing customer loyalty include:
• Value personal communication: Make an effort to personally reach out to customers (social media is great for this) to show them that you value their business.
• Offer extra perks: Everyone loves the feeling of getting something for free. Even small perks can go a long way to increasing customer loyalty.
• Consider a rewards programs: This is a great way to let your customers work towards an extra perk while spending more money on your food brand.
• Give back to your community: Show your customers that your brand is interested in more than just increasing profits.
• Get Certified: Opting for grain-free, paleo, or keto certification for your product is another strategy to build loyalty and brand trust.
The Art of Offering Samples in the Food Industry
Establishing brand loyalty won’t ever happen until people actually try what you have to offer. For new customers forced with choosing between product A and product B, the incentive that comes with a free sample is often the difference maker. Giving away free samples represents a relatively minimal cost for companies with the possibility for large rewards. Offering a sample of your most recently released low carb snack option doesn’t only allow you to reach new customers and tempt existing customers, but it is also a great strategy to “feel out” the market and get constructive feedback.
The Role of Presentations and Demos
Lastly, offering presentations and food demos is another great strategy to build brand awareness and work towards the goal of long-term customer loyalty. Presentations and demos are specifically important when you create a keto food brand that is bringing products to market that are unfamiliar. For example, let’s say a recently launched food brand was focusing on marketing frozen purées made from Acai berries and other “tropical” ingredients for Keto-friendly smoothies. While an informative packaging could alert potential customers to the high antioxidants and low carbs present in Acai berries, a presentation or demo at either a keto tradeshow or even in the aisles of your local supermarket where your product is going to be sold can let your customers personally discover the fascinating flavor of the Acai berry.
Despite the prime market conditions, starting a new food brand can certainly make any entrepreneur feel vulnerable and exposed. Learning how to connect with customers on social media, developing solid, innovative products, creating strategies for increasing customer loyalty, offering samples, and engaging in demos and presentations are five important steps that will help all start food brands get a solid foothold in the market.