Warehouse to Wine Cooler - A Guide To The Food & Drink Manufacturing Process
So you’re thinking of taking your culinary creations to the next level by jumping into the food and drink manufacturing business. If so - congrats! Food and drink manufacturing can be as satisfying for business owners as it is for customers, and with COVID-19 restrictions beginning to ease across most of Australia, more and more people are deciding to turn their hospitality dreams into a reality. However, before you jump headfirst into the food & beverage industry, here are some tips on how everything works.
If you are someone who is passionate about all things delicious, the food and drink manufacturing industry is definitely something that will provide you with long term success, stability and rewards. In this article, we go through the steps you need to take when taking the leap into food manufacturing -- everything from your business plan to pallet wrap.
A Solid Business Plan
No matter how big or small your business, having a solid and sturdy business plan to back you up is key. Food manufacturing businesses range from giants such as Sanitarium and Kraft to independent factories with just a few members of staff producing one or two different food/drink items. Regardless of which category you fit into, the one thing that everyone has in common is the need for a business plan. Your business plan will help immensely in attracting investors to trust their money with you and will help you establish a solid roadmap for the future of your business. Starting here is absolutely crucial!
Acquiring Necessary Licenses
It is no secret that there are some strict and stringent health and safety standards when it comes to food or drink manufacturing of any sort. One thing to keep a note of is that your local government is the enforcement agency responsible for monitoring compliance with various legislations, and your food manufacturing business must be registered under the Food Act prior to operating. The food and beverage production industry is one that is monitored extremely closely and subject to very strict hygiene and safety rules for obvious reasons. Depending on what type of food and drink you plan on producing, rules may differ. Your local authority is the best source for you to find out exactly which rules apply to your unique situation.
Suss Out The Competition
Like any other business or industry, sussing out the competition is key in building a long-lasting business. Before putting all your eggs into one basket, we recommend thoroughly researching your market and looking for gaps in the industry that your business can fill. Find your unique selling point -- what differs your product from competitors? Why would people choose to buy your drinks and food products over another? Figuring this out will enable you to provide exactly what your target consumer wants, thus leading to a long and prosperous business venture.
Secure Your Premises
When it comes to food manufacturing, a small kitchen just won’t cut it. This is why it is important that you secure your factory and other premises early on in the game. Chances are you will need some dedicated machinery for efficient production as well as a dedicated team of staff to monitor daily processes. Always get advice from those who have more experience before investing in your premises and equipment in order to ensure that you aren’t exceeding your budget unnecessarily. You should also consider how quickly you want to scale your business in order to avoid any time-consuming or expensive relocations in future.
Bonus: Can’t afford all that equipment and space? You could consider leasing instead of opting for cheaper options -- a commonly used tactic when trying to save on start-up costs.
Decide On Your Production Method and Schedule
Depending on what you’re looking to do with your business, there are a few options when it comes to your daily routine. Some of the options include:
One-off: This is a method used for custom orders and is mostly used for bespoke items such as wedding cakes or anniversary cakes.
Batch production: Batch production is a process that is used when the size of the market for a product is not 100% clear and where there is a range within your product line. This method requires you to estimate the number of consumers who will want to buy your product.
Mass production: Mass production is, as its name suggests, the production of a large number of items such as chocolate bars, biscuits, canned food and other items that pass from one stage of production to another along a production line. Most food manufacturing companies will utilise this method after batch production in the beginning before they figure out the exact demand for each product.
Just in time production: Similar to a sandwich bar, just in time production offers components of a product that customers can choose from, so the products are made to order.
Once your product has been made, the time has come to ensure that you package it correctly. The perfect artisanal box of chocolates can easily be ruined with improper packaging and shipping, so taking this risk out of the equation is key. Each item in your line should have safe and secure packaging, with best before dates and other information such as macronutrients, ingredients, branding and so on. If you plan on sending pellets of your items to stockists, investing in a pallet wrapper could be a great idea as it will help ensure all your pallets are protected from any kind of damage.
The last step in the food/drink manufacturing process is product distribution. Now that your product has been made, sealed and packaged, it’s time to get them onto retail shelves. This is where you will get into contact with stockists, supermarkets and other businesses that may be interested in carrying your line of products. Once this has been decided on, you can then distribute your products to these businesses in order to share your passions with the world. You may also use the services of a food distribution company to help shorten and fast track this process for you.