Do all your friends and family rave about how wonderful your damson jam tastes? Do they rant about the subtle flavours of your red onion relish? And the way your chilli and lime chutney hot-foots across the palate is nothing short of sublime – is this what they are saying about the produce that comes out of your home kitchen?
If so, then you need to do some serious thinking. There is money to be made from artisan, home-cooked food products, and if they are really as delicious as your friends and family profess, you could be onto a winner.
Once it’s established beyond doubt that your genius comes in a jar, it’s time to start spreading the stuff around. Here’s how…
Making the change from creating home cooked gifts of jam on a casual basis, to producing them on a scale that could actually turn you a profit, is something you should never do on a whim. It is not an easy way of earning extra money, requiring as it does plenty of time, hard effort and planning. But if you have a product that is proven to be delicious, a large spoonful of business acumen and a big dollop of energy, you could be on your way to sweet business success.
Relish the Research
If you miss out this part of the journey, you could come to a sticky end. Put time and legwork into investigating which other similar products are out there, if any. Who do they sell to? Where are they sold? Are they cheap and cheerful or quality, high-end products? Is there a local farmers market nearby? Do they have a jams and chutney stall? Are they selling identical flavours/products? If so, would it be feasible to develop niche jams with unique combinations of ingredients. Wild strawberry and coriander anyone?
Establish if you would be able to source ingredients from local,organic producers in order to satisfy the eco-preferences of the farmers market customers. Are there car boot sales where you could sell your wares? In short, check out the local markets, delicatessens, tea rooms, car boots, WI sales etc. and see what’s selling.
You won’t shift any products if it doesn’t look tempting. Bright, eye-catching packaging that reflects your brand identity is key to success. If you are going for a more rustic image, try jars and labelling that’s more homely and artisanal in appearance. Alternatively, if you want to target the upmarket foodie crowd, minimalist and contemporary labelling usually hits the mark. Having a great looking product that says ‘buy me’ is all about having the perfect packaging. Different colours suggest different things to consumers, so do your research before getting stuck into the all important logo and branding side of things. You can get the ideal outer-clothing for your jams and chutneys at companies such as Days Labels where designs come in an array of colours and styles. Customers subconsciously connect the outer packaging with the quality of the contents, so whatever mood you are aiming for, be it smart, quaint, cool, rustic or homely, get Days Labels to print up the perfect jar attire.
Before you even as much as pick a strawberry, focus on costing up your jam venture. Include in your sums the price of ingredients, stall/location rental, packaging, travel, extra energy/cooking costs at home, stationary, labels and any fees for food hygiene certification that may be required. Having completed this exercise, you can work out how much you need to price your jams in order to turn a profit. See what prices are charged by your competitors to get an idea of where the market is at.
The Red Tape
Look into your obligations regarding the rules and regulations of creating jams and chutneys from home. Registering your premises with the local environmental health department will be necessary if using the kitchen for five or more days within a period of five consecutive weeks. When formulating a way forward for your condiments empire the Citizen’s Advice Bureau makes a good place to start for accurate, up to date information about the hoops you need to jump through before the jam-fest can begin.
Starting your own enterprise is no small undertaking, however, if you are passionate about the product this always shines through. Current foodie trends embrace authentic, home made, hands-on fare made from locally grown, ethically sourced ingredients. If you are able to tap in to this hungry market, where paying more for the best quality is the norm, providing your product delivers on expectations, sweet success could be yours…