Start-ups are newly emerging businesses established by entrepreneurs in order to bring a unique product or service to market.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), at the start of 2020 there were 5.94 million small businesses (0-49 employees) in the UK alone – 99.3% of total businesses.
FoodBev’s inaugural World Plant-Based Awards, which took place in October 2020, included a ‘best plant-based start-up’ category that proved hugely popular with entrants. The winner of this category was Vegums with their Multivitamin Gummy For Vegans. See the full list of category winners here.
Due to its success in the World Plant-Based Awards 2020, as well as our small business discount in other awards schemes, we anticipate continued interest in the ‘best start-up’ category for the World Food Innovation Awards 2021.
Here, FoodBev takes a look at five qualities that can ultimately make a food or beverage start-up a success.
An innovative idea
A successful business usually starts with a unique idea – for example, a solution to a societal challenge. It is important that a new product or service conforms with today’s consumer needs.
Does it offer convenience? World Food Innovation Awards winner, SAVRpak, won the ‘best convenience packaging’ category in 2020 for its patented packaging technology that can extend food freshness and shelf life.
Does it offer functionality? For instance, Zeno Functional Foods won ‘best health or wellness food’ category in 2020 with its innovative snack bar, Sobar, which addresses a need for a low-caloric food that can effectively reduce alcohol absorption.
A successful product could also have exciting or unique features, such as 2019’s ‘best organic product’ winner PLAYin CHOC’s kids cube which, along with vegan mini chocolate bars, contains a 3D puzzle toy to assemble and play with.
Check out the competition
Defining the target market and USP of a product idea is crucial. Research what both direct and indirect competitors are doing within that market, and use them as a benchmark to create a relevant difference.
A thorough competitor analysis will also give potential start-ups plenty of data to help develop their own strategies and could ultimately boost further innovation and recognition in the market space.
Start-up incubators help turn innovative product ideas into viable businesses by offering support on a range of elements, from work facilities to advice on suppliers and investors.
Many industry giants have launched their own incubator programmes to support food and beverage start-ups. For example, in August 2020, PepsiCo named Spudsy winner of the 2020 North America Greenhouse programme.
With the aim of ramping up innovation efforts in the snacking space, Mondelēz International joined forces with business incubator The Hatchery Chicago in 2019, which has been described as “one of the largest food incubation spaces in the US”.
Gaining support from investors can help fuel business plans and make start-up company growth possible. Many angel investors and venture capitalists focus on particular areas of the food and beverage industry, such as foodtech, dairy or plant-based.
Global venture capital fund, Lever VC – whose partners were investors in Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats and other sector leaders – have launched a new fund investing in a range of early-stage plant-based and cell-cultivated meat and dairy companies.
In addition, the judging panel for the 2021 World Food Innovation Awards features two judges who specialise in food industry investment.
First, is co-founder and partner head of operations at Mission Ventures, Louis Bedwell, who leads on the delivery of the Good Food Fund, a prototype venture fund and accelerator that aims to bring healthier challenger brands to market.
Second, is Eric-Alan Rapp, a partner investing in sustainable agrifood tech companies at Danish investment fund, Vækstfonden (VF). All companies entering the World Food Innovation Awards 2021 will have their innovations recognised and assessed by all members of the panel.
It is imperative to get the product’s branding and packaging right, and competitor research will help start-ups develop their own unique mark in relevant sectors. Research groups may also be useful throughout the brand-building process, in order to gauge how consumers view and interact with products/services.
What is the brand’s story? Storytelling can help to shape a brand’s message and showcase the thought-process behind the innovation. Compelling messages such as sustainability concerns or aiding health and immunity demonstrate to consumers how buying certain products can make a difference.
World Food Innovation Awards 2019 winner of ‘best packaging technology’, Stixfresh, developed a sticker which could extend the shelf life of fruit by up to two weeks, addressing concerns that 52% of fruits and vegetables from farm to fork go to waste.
Packaging also plays an important role in showcasing what’s on offer inside and helping the product stand out on the shelf. For example, ‘best plant-based start-up’ finalist from the 2020 World Plant-Based Awards, Bright Barley, presented a simple yet convenient carton design with a strong plant-based message highlighting nutritional ingredients.
Think your innovative start-up company is award-worthy? Enter the ‘best start-up’ category in the World Food Innovation Awards 2021 now!
For more awards information and to see our other 25 categories, click here.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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