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Ed Williams, Matt Hunt (bottom right), Cat Gazzoli, Andy Allen (top right) and Hugh Thomas share their top tips for aspiring food entrepreneurs

Starting your own food business is not easy – and, while learning from mistakes can be hugely valuable, it’s far more valuable if everyone can learn from each other too.

So what advice would some of the UK’s most success grocery startups give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Five members of Young Foodies, a community portal for startup grocery brands, share their biggest pieces of advice for those on the runway to success in fmcg.

1) Your packaging is your best marketing

You may have the best Facebook page and Instagram in the world, but the vast majority of shoppers make their decision at the shelf edge so your packaging must be the priority. Invest your time into it early on and it will pay dividends for you - having my co-founder as our creative and running all our design and branding in-house is the best decision I’ve ever made.

Cat Gazzoli, Piccolo Foods

2) Thinking small isn’t sustainable

In most cases you need serious volume to drive a profitable food or drink business. Too many people haven’t thought about where that significant volume will come from. Without a clear plan, a brand can become volume hungry and make desperate decisions that achieve volume but damage integrity and brand credibility.

Ed Williams, Candy Kittens

3) Get the product right

It may sound obvious but you can spend exactly the same amount of time on the wrong products as the right products, so try and make sure the products that you are bringing to market taste delicious and deliver on promises. This will keep people coming back for more and drive your rate of sale.

Matt Hunt, Protein Ball Co.

4) Production can make or break you

Building a production facility is hard, expensive and often not flexible enough for a growing business – you’re either one big order away from being over your head in terms of demand, or you’ve got under-utilised assets sucking up precious cash. It’s not easy handing over the production of your baby to someone else, but it is - more often than not - the path to making the venture a success.

Andy Allen, Snaffling Pig 

5) Listen to feedback and stay in beta

It’s important to believe in your mission, but you need to react, take on-board and listen to what consumers and buyers are saying. Your product should always be in beta - you should constantly be thinking about ways to better it.

Hugh Thomas, Ugly Drinks

Thea Alexander is founder of Young Foodies

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