About this page: As a companion to Good Food, Great Business you get bonus online starter templates to download or use in Google Drive. Sign up for Inside Scoop to access them.
The links below point you to folks who contributed their knowledge to the book as well as suppliers and info resources to help you get started. (FYI: Some link to affiliate programs I’ve joined when I can recommend the service first hand.)
Essential Food Industry Resources to Learn and Stay Current
- Specialty Food Association (Fancy Food Show) which also publishes Specialty Food magazine and the State of Specialty Food report
- NewHope 360 (Natural foods content and ExpoWest / ExpoEast trade shows) has a great newsletter and intell on the natural products industry
- Search for food category-specific associations which will have in-depth research available. Just a few:
SCAA for coffee; Intl. Dairy Assn. for hard ice cream data; NCA for confections
- Small Business Administration
(in your own area look up SBDC)
- Inc Magazine
- Entrepreneur Magazine
- OPEN Forum from Amex
- Coach Maz – Deb Mazzaferro is a specialty foods industry consultant and coach, with special expertise in sales teams and tradeshows
- Bob Burke – Natural products industry veteran and expert
- Jeff Landsman – specialty food sales
- Anni Minuzzo, Northern California food business consultant
- Rob Leichman – Lyric Group, emerging food brand management
- John Maggiore – Maggiore’s Sales & Marketing, grovery expert
- Jeff Santos – Brazilian food specialties
- Jim Horan – business planning expert
- Clay Gordon – chocolate business consultant and founder of The Chocolate Life community
- Joyce Guan – Buyer’s Best Friend; former food broker
- Rachel Zemser – food product / recipe development expert
- Susie Wyshak – the one who put this page together and wrote Good Food, Great Business 😉
Brand Your Business & Package Your Product
Branding and Packaging Consultants
Packaging Websites and Publications
- The Dieline features stellar package and brand designs
- Packaging World magazine is your key to nerding out on all things packaging.
Ready-made Packaging Sources
- U-line – Shipping cartons and stuffing
- Nashville Wraps – Cute boxes, bags, stuffing and more
- Tenka Packaging – Flexible, resealable pouches
- Pacific Bag – Ditto
Other Useful Stuff
- Virtual Packaging – package mockups
Plan Your Product, Find the Best Ingredients and Get Into Production (Making or Co-packing)
- FDA Labeling Requirements
- Food Rules by State (on FDA site)
- Whole Foods Unacceptable Ingredients guidelines
- States with Cottage Food Laws (that allow for certain categories of home-based food businesses). Check Facebook to find a group for your state too.
How to Find Co-packers
The formula to search for co-packers: product category + your state name + co-packer (or contract manufacturer)
- copacker organic spice tennessee
- copacker dehydrated meats jerky texas
Variations: “contract manufacturer” tea california
Shortcut: ask around! You’ll find a ton of tips on do’s and don’ts in Good Food, Great Business.
Nothing beats good old fashioned asking around!
- CulinaryIncubator.com (not clear if it’s kept up to date)
Also see: How to Choose an Incubator, New York Times, January 26, 2011.
When using a co-packer, discuss if they can produce nutrient labels, which you should do only when the production recipe is 100% locked down.
- IFT (Institute of Food Technology) is the largest food ingredients trade show in the world — a hot bed of flavor companies, ingredients, starches, thickeners, gums… and so on
- Plan to Win the Good Food Awards by learning the guidelines for sourcing
- Food Hub “gathers professional food buyers, wholesale producers, distributors and industry suppliers in one dynamic community”
- List of real fruit and vegetable ingredients suppliers, for flavors and color
- FDA Small Business Compliance Guides (registration of food facilities, labeling and more)
- FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Checklist
- HAACP Plan How To’s (for safety and recall plans)
- Running a Sustainable Kitchen (Food-Hub.org)
Sell and Distribute Your Products
- Trouble in Aisle Five: A June 2012 Jeffries/AlixPartners research report on how demographic shifts will impact retailers due to consumer preferences for Good Food and shopping flexibility.
Online and Local Distribution
- Buyer’s Best Friend (BBF) – for online wholesale selling, reaching major corporate food buyers and for reaching consumers
- Good Eggs – for local selling and distribution
- UNFI – nationwide distributor
- KeHE Distributors – ditto
Ask around in your local area for regional and local distributors.
Export Support (contact them while planning!)
- WUSATA – Western U.S.-based food company export support
- SUSTA – Southern food company export support
- Food Export USA Nrtheast– Northeast U.S.-based food company export support
- FoodExport.org – Midwest-based food company export support
- American Foods in Europe
Promote Your Food and Connect With Customers
Business card, label, and literature printing
Search for quick printers in your local area. Or tap into one of these online services I’ve used for various print jobs:
- Greener Printer (based in Berkeley, California) offers great quality with sustainable methods at affordable prices.
Use Greener Printer coupon code GPREF-341-5666 to get a $15 discount.
- VistaPrint (save 4% automatically when clicking to VistaPrint through Ebates)
- Overnight Prints (save 6.5% or more automatically when you click through Ebates)
- Patches – Bay Imprint in Maryland has great prices and service.
You’ll also find PS Print, FedEx / Kinko’s, Staples, as well as other print ships on Ebates
Marketing, Web and Selling Technology
- See the Systems for Growing Your Food Business write up on how to choose a web / mobile, commerce platform to fit your business
So many companies are getting into the mobile payment / iPad-based point-of-sale system business. Why? It’s so easy to get started, and they can offer much lower fees than traditional credit card company setups. Start by looking at these companies:
Tip: Whatever system you use should eventually be able to integrate with your online payment system and “backend” bookkeeping. You don’t want an accounting nightmare!
- Constant Contact
- Vertical Response
- Infusionsoft – high powered marketing automation system for small business
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Contact Management
Customer Survey and Research Tools
- PPA – Professional Photography Association
- 5 Tips for Hiring a Food Photographer
- Tips on 101 Cookbooks
- Tips from David Lebovitz and Matt Armendariz
- Email Susie for connections to great writers and bloggers.
Industry Trade Shows
New to trade shows? Get Deb Mazzaferro’s free “7 Mistakes Exhibitors Make at Trade Shows”
Just a few shows you might plan for; look up shows for your product categories and based on your target buyers too (e.g., gift shows or restaurant association).
|Fancy Food Show (Summer)
||Specialty food||June / July||DC or NY|
|Fancy Food Show (Winter)||Specialty food||January||SF|
|Expo West||Natural Products Expo||March||Anaheim, CA (So. Cal).|
|Expo East||Natural Products Expo||September||Baltimore, MD|
|Anuga||International foods and beverages||October||Germany|
|SIAL Paris||International foods and beverages||October||Paris, France|
Need help exhibiting at international food trade shows abroad? Let’s chat! I may be available to help. – Susie
(And as you read in the book, remember to tap into export support resources to offset your tradeshow costs!)
- Bambu – Bamboo serving plates and utensils
- Worldcentric – All types of eco-friendly packaging and demo supplies
- Eco-tensil – Those cute foldy serving spoons for demos
- Susty Party (hand made, Etsy-ish paper ware)
- Eco Products
Also search for phrases like “compostable plates” to find more websites. Also, stores such as Costco, Smart ‘n Final and even Grocery Outlet may have what you need on a smaller scale.
Set Up and Manage Your Business
Contract Help Online
The nice thing about using online marketplaces for short contract jobs is that the contractors have ratings and reviews. Take a look at these sites. I’m sometimes available to help define and / or manage projects, on contract myself!
- Upwork freelancers’ network puts flexible staff at your disposal: from writers to designers and coders, to virtual assistants and bookkeepers, you’ll find talent in the United States and beyond. Formerly called Odesk, I’ve used Upwork extensively for projects ranging from website development to illustration — and I can help you define your product to hire the right person / team.
- Fiverr is addictive. It’s the place where most of those vintage logos you see probably get made. It’s a hub of thousands of designers, voiceover artists, writers, video editors…pretty much most any service people might offer starting at $5 with all sorts of add ons that can make the “gig” you buy add up. I’ve ordered logos, email signatures, all sorts of graphic designs, and video editing through the site.
Need money? If you need to make money on the side while developing your food business, you can sign up to be a seller / contractor on any of these sites.
Food Job Posting Sites
See a more extensive list of websites to post food jobs online.
- Good Food Jobs pioneered the idea of a nationwide job posting service only focused on fulfilling jobs in the food industry. Get ideas for people to hire. And know that people will be perusing this site for jobs like the ones you’ll be posting. This great, tiny company is based in New York.
- Local Food Labs also offers a food job search engine. The company is based in Palo Alto, CA.
- Oh yes, Craigslist. You knew that.
Technology and Systems for Sanity and Success
- Dropbox is my favorite way to store files. It’s as easy as using Windows or the Finder on a Mac, only your files sync to the “cloud.” Once you’ve got a lot, it’s only $10 / month for a terabyte of data. (That’s all the videos you’re shooting of your company!)
- Systems for Growing Your Food Business – This guide offers thoughts on recommended systems to set up early on, along with links
Be prepared to invest in insurance, which can cost $1,000 or more.
When you participate in FoodStarter Academy you join a small but growing Facebook group of food entrepreneurs helping each other.
- Specialty Food Association holds local groups connecting food companies in a region for support and education (and wine drinking). A great way to learn!
- Foodcentricity and LA Food Hub support Southern California makers and beyond
- Edible Communities unites local food makers around the local Edible magazines.
- Good Food Merchant Guild sprang from the Good Food Awards and helps you connect with likeminded makers.
- Specialty Food Forum online
- The Chocolate Life – a huge online community of confectioners and bean to bar chocolate makers
You’ll find all sorts of niche communities online with good old fashioned forums (or “fora” for the grammarians out there).
Educational Websites and Resources
- Small Business Administration – Your first stop to learn about funding
- Slow Money – The movement for funding local economies, spawned by the book Slow Money
New crowdfunding sites pop up faster than my weeds (or almost as fast). Know that you’re on the hook for driving excitement and traffic to your page. The majority of contributions will come from people you know. That is, unless you launch a breakout, viral campaign like the “potato salad.”
- Kickstarter – the largest audience
- IndieGogo – more flexible as far as your being able to take the money even if you don’t meet your goal
- Foodie Crowdfunding – the name says it all!
- Barnraiser – specifically focused on crowdfunding for sustainable food businesses
- Fundable – another crowdfunding option
You can also host your own crowdfunding service this days on your website. If you do so, you’ll be on the hook for driving traffic. So you need to be hot hot hot for that to work.
Food Business Loans and Investors
- Whole Foods Producer Program
- Credibles – Customers prepay for food and receive edible credits to use like a gift card.
- Kabbage.com – Business lending
- Prosper – Peer-to-peer lending (small-ish loans)
- Lending Club – Similar to Prosper
- The Angel Food Network – Angels specifically interested in food and beverage
- Gust – Connect with angel investors
Regional Food Business Incubators / Accelerators
New funding programs and competitions are cropping up all the time. Here are just a few food-focused incubators that also help line up money:
- Good Food Business Accelerator (Chicago)
- Cooperative Fund (New England) – for worker-owned co-ops
- Food-X (San Francisco)
- Foodcentricity / LA Prep (Los Angeles / Santa Ana)
- Chobani Food Incubator (New York)Also:
- Read this Forbes article
- Read this NPR article
- See a short list of nationwide incubators
- Raising Dough: The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business by Elizabeth U.
- Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from It, by Amy Cortese
- Good Food, Great Business: How to Take Your Artisan Food Idea from Concept to Marketplace by me, Susie Wyshak. Just in case you don’t yet have it. 🙂
- A Lapsed Anarchist‘s Approach to Building a Great Business, by Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s Press, 2010.
- Rachel Zemser offers a series of books on food product development
- Sell Your Specialty Food: Market, Distribute, and Profit from Your Kitchen Creation, Stephen Hall’s long-time guide offering further perspective and details, especially on operational topics.
- Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur by Noah Alper with Thomas Fields-Meyer, Wolfeboro Press, 2009.
- Million Dollar Cup of Tea,
General Business & Planning
- One Page Business Plan
- Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, by Guy Kawasaki, Playaway, 2009.
- Small Giants: Companies that Chose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham, Portfolio, 2006.
- The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, by Chris Anderson, Hyperion, 2006.
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, William Collins, 2001.
- PEAK How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow, by Chip Conley, Jossey-Bass, 2007.
- Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, by Paco Underhill, Simon and Schuster,1999.
- What Women Want: The Global Marketplace Turns Female-Friendly, by Paco Underhill, 2010
- Think and Grow Rich by Hill, Napoleon, Ballantine Books, 1987.
- Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters, by Philip McGraw, Hyperion Books, 1999.
The proverbial disclaimer: Please do your own research and make decisions based on whatever works for you. These links are here for the convenience and inspiration of Good Food, Great Business readers and beyond.
What’s missing or needs updating? Please comment or tell Susie.