So you’ve mastered making your favorite food. Maybe it’s a special cookie, a homemade chili or a one of a kind pasta salad. There’s no denying it’s delicious. All you have to do is get people to try it and the orders will start flooding in.
That’s the mindset of many people who have dreamed of making a living from selling a food dish or item that has gone over well at parties and events. Maybe even someone has approached them and said, “Hey, you should sell that.”
But can it really be that easy? For the most part, no. There are many more steps and things to think about when turning a favorite dish into a business. Sourcing ingredients, accounting and storage are just a few of these things. But the one that we will talk about here may be the most important when it comes to selling your food:
Why is packaging so important? Because people eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouths. Before they sit down and eat something, they need to buy it. And if the food is displayed or packaged in a way that turns them off, it may never reach their mouth. Then they never realize what an amazing dish it is.
Whether you sell to people who come to your home, over the Internet or to a reseller like a corner market or restaurant, what containers and packaging you use is important. If it’s not packaged well, your new business may never get off the ground. So what are some key tips?
- Make sure it is secure. If it is soup, sauce or any liquid, you will want to make sure that the container you use has a lid that does not leak. For any food, you want to make sure that the container will withstand some shaking, bumping and turning. The less often packaging fails, the more time your food will be on shelves or on people’s plates.
- Appealing to the eye. Again, people will see what you are selling before they taste it. So make sure the packaging doesn’t turn them off, or better yet, have the packaging help sell the food for you. If your food is a mixture of sorts, you will probably want to stay away from clear packaging. If your food is elegant and sells itself, clear packaging and/or clear lids would work well. In any case, having your own custom decoration can help brand your new business as well as support your product. Ask us about custom decorating products.
- A way to contact you again. Whether you use custom decorating or a label, be sure that each and every package or container includes a way to get back in touch with you. This gives clients an easy way to re-order and provide feedback on ways to improve your business (i.e., possible new product varieties, new product lines, new markets).
- Reheatable. If you are selling something that should be heated before it is eaten, selling it in a reheatable or microwavable container can make the end user experience more enjoyable. Also, often times these containers stay in the home for their own “left over” use. Talk about free reminders of who you are!
- Stores food properly. Does your food need to be kept in an air tight container? Or will that not affect the flavor and expiration date? Maybe home grown vegetables can be sold in a custom bag with a vent, but your cookies would probably stay fresher longer of air was kept away.
Have you had any experience selling food products as a small business? Let us know about the experience. And if you are thinking about making your favorite dish into a business, give Genpak a call and find out how we can help. Remember, don’t wait until the very last moment to check on your packaging needs.