9 Steps to Starting a New Keto Food Brand
As more and more people begin to discover the health and lifestyle benefits that come with a low-carb and high fat diet, the Keto diet is primed for major growth in coming years. According to one market analysis, the global ketogenic diet food market is forecasted to reach 12.35 billion dollars in 2024, and achieve an estimated compound annual growth rate of 5.3 percent. One of the biggest problems that people adhering to the ketogenic diet face, however, is the lack of diversified food products that are commercially available. This obviously presents a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs and startup brands looking to carve out a successful and profitable business in the Keto Diet food market. Below, we look at why now is the time to start a Keto Food brand and offer a few key suggestions on how to successfully create a thriving Keto brand.
Now is the Time to Start a Keto Food Brand
A recent study by Coresight Research that was released in May of this year found that just over 36 percent of internet-using adults had bought groceries online in the previous 12 months. This had increased from just over 23 percent in the same study that was conducted a year earlier. While most of these online grocery shoppers purchased their foodstuffs from the online outlets of major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Kroger, a significant number of consumers also searched for specialty food items that were not regularly carried at the brick and mortar grocery stores in their region.
The E-Commerce market offers an advantage for smaller Keto brands and startups as it allows them direct access to consumers interested in their product. In fact, in the United States, 9 percent of all retail sales in 2016 were made online, totaling a whopping $451 billion dollars in revenue. Learning how to use the Amazon Marketplace and other e-commerce platforms thus allows Keto startup brands an entranceway into the market.
Furthermore, while the thought of having your Keto food product sold on the shelves of major supermarket retailers such as Walmart or Kroger might seem like a far shot, a recent search of Walmart´s online inventory found 583 Keto products from Keto supplements to Keto protein powders to a wide range of Keto Certified foods. In fact, Walmart even has a dedicated “Keto Shop.” Similarly, the major supermarket chain Kroger also has a dedicated Keto grocery page that helps their customers identify Keto groceries, Keto ingredients, Keto-friendly vegetables and other Keto diet foods. As low-carb diets continue to grow in popularity, these major retailers will most likely only continue to search for a larger and more diverse list of suppliers to respond to increasing consumer demand.
Steps for Starting a New Keto Food Brand
From the information above, it should be evident that the market conditions are prime for Keto food brands to thrive. However, as with the launching of any business, there are preliminary steps that are necessary to lay the groundwork for a profitable and thriving business. Below, we offer nine recommendations for how to successfully launch a Keto food brand.
Deﬁne Your Target Audience
One of the most common setbacks that often causes startups to fail is the temptation to grow too quickly. The enthusiasm and energy that encompasses the process of starting a new brand often leads entrepreneurs down the slippery slope of wanting to take advantage over every potential business opportunity that they uncover. In the ketogenic diet market, small brands might think that they have a greater chance for success through diversifying their product line and thus increasing their supposed scope of relevance to potential customers. When you try to impress everyone with your product, however, you run the risk of not building a solid customer base upon which future growth targets can be made.
Defining a target audience allows small businesses to capture the attention of a specific groups of customers. Doing the necessary research to pinpoint your target audience will offer a series of valuable insights that can help you develop a marketing and branding strategy that will feed into the needs and motivations of that target market. Because resources are usually limited when launching a new brand, defining a target audience will allow startups to funnel their limited resources to potential clients who have been determined to offer the highest potential for sales growth and increasing loyalty to the brand.
Go To a Trade Show
Every startup company dreams of landing a multimillion contract with a major retailer. This doesn’t happen, however, by pure chance. Attending an industry-specific keto tradeshow will drastically improve the probability of getting your product in front of the eyes of important people who can help fuel the growth of your brand. In fact, one study shows that 92 percent of trade show attendees state that their main reason for attending trade shows is to see new products being featured, especially those by startup brands new to the industry. Furthermore, an estimated 81 percent of trade show attendees have buying authority and 46 percent of those attendees are in Executive or Upper Management with the companies they represent.
Even if you have defined your target market and made valuable contacts with industry leaders through assisting the best Keto trade shows, startup Keto brands need to have a solid product development that responds to real customer needs while also differentiating your product and brand from the competition. What makes your Keto food brand different? What is the added value? Why should people on the Keto Diet choose your product? These are a few of the questions that will help startup Keto brands create products that will carve out their own niche in the market.
Find a Good Manufacturer or Co-Packer
While a successful product definition and development will allow Keto bands to address the actual needs of their potential clientele, high-quality product execution leads to sustained customer satisfaction. Making customers wait for product delivery due to glitches in the manufacturing process is a surefire way to lose their loyalty. In fact, one study found that 69 percent of customers were much less likely to do business with a company in the future if an item they purchased was not delivered within two days of the date promised. So finding a high quality, reliable product manufacturer or co-packer is essential to establishing and retaining your customer base.
Understand the Decision-Making Process
In any business venture, it is important that everyone involved in the entrepreneurial venture understands and identifies with the decision making process. Micromanagement can cause delays and setbacks in how a business operates while entrusting important decisions to the wrong person can also lead to unfortunate failures. Unless you plan on running a one-man (or woman) show, putting together a strong management group is paramount to long-term success. Making sure that every member of your management group understands and accepts the determined levels of authority when it comes making important decisions can help to avoid obstructions in the launching of a new brand. Furthermore, delegating responsibilities to the management team and even trusted employees can help to further a sense of responsibility and dedication towards the company and its growth targets.
For better or worse, consumers have learned to “judge a book by its cover” when it comes to selecting products. Product packaging design, then, plays an extremely important role in branding your Keto Food items for the retail environment. Even if you have a high quality product that is well-manufactured, many customers will originally be drawn to your product through a “catchy” packaging design. Attractive, attention-grabbing packaging also offers Keto food brands the ability to distinguish their products from their competitors. Some of our favorite designers include:
• Shelf Studio
• Hello Neighbor Designs
• Make and Matter
Marketing is the heart of any startup venture and is the most important element to help you find and retain new customer leads. In the past, marketing could take up an enormous amount budget as TV, radio, and billboard ads were prohibitively expensive. With the advent of online marketing, however, Keto food brands should find ample opportunities to directly connect with a customer base that identifies with the products they offer. Consider the following statistics offered by Hubspot:
• By 2021, global retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion. (Shopify Plus, 2018)
• 56 billion active users log onto Facebook every day. (Zephoria, 2019)
• 74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (HubSpot, 2017)
• Video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text. (Omnicore, 2018)
• 91% of shoppers want to hear from companies they do business with via email. (Sleeknote, 2019)
So whether you choose to use Facebook ads, email marketing campaigns, or other forms of online marketing, connecting directly with potential customers through online channels is a great strategy to gain traction and visibility for a startup brand.
Create your Keto Brand
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, once said that “your brand is what people say about you when you´re not in the room.” A successful process of creating brand awareness allows a Keto company to build a loyal customer base that is the foundation for profitability and future business growth. The branding process requires several phases, that can be outlined as follows:
• Establish a mission statement that determines the core values of your brand that you want to communicate to your target audience.
• Research brands within your industry niche so that you can determine ways to distinguish your brand from competitors.
• Create a brand logo that will help customers to visually connect with your brand.
• Form a brand voice that will connect with your target market.
• Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business activity to organically increase brand awareness.
Strive for Consumer Loyalty
Lastly, it is extremely important for startup brands to focus on strategies that increase consumer loyalty. While many customers will invest heavily in attracting new customers, client retention is just as important— if not more important. According to one recent market analysis, an average customer will spend 67 percent more in their third year as a customer than in the first year. Thus, businesses stand to lose around $1.6 trillion dollars by losing loyal customers. Customer retention strategies that focus on increasing brand trust and brand loyalty will allow your business to stay afloat in difficult times while also offering a solid base upon which you can design future growth and expansion opportunities.
The market conditions for starting a new Keto food brand are prime. Following the suggestions laid out above can allow new Keto food companies to establish a successful and sustainable business model that will be in position to benefit from the expected boom in the Keto industry.
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