ELEMENTS OF SUPPORTHow Durham Food Hub can help you
Product/New Product Development
Our experienced support team has a wealth of experience in developing new products using existing production facilities as well as transforming existing products to be suitable for new sales channels or markets.
Keith Gill, Durham Food Hub Manager, has over 35 years experience in creating products for markets.
Some examples of Keith’s achievements are:-
- Introducing tortilla chips and corn chips into the UK from America through retailers
- Creating and introducing garlic croutons (mignon morceaux) and savoury coated peanuts (Shanghai Nuts) into the UK market from Europe into retailers
- Using technology to produce tasty long-life meals into trays for the travel industry (airlines and trains)
- Adapting long-life meals using ingredients that provided allergen free alternatives for consumers through retail
Food Packaging Development
The packaging technology of today is very diverse in terms of structure to protect products during transport or give them extra protection from the environment to provide additional shelf for storage.
Different sales channels may require different packaging to improve display to allow customers more informed choice.
Environmental and recycling needs also have a strong place in customers choice of packaging with new techniques and attributes becoming available constantly.
The Food Durham experience can support you in packaging selection through their network of packaging producers.
There is a constant balance between the cost of products, the costs of the routes to market and the price a customer is prepared to pay.
A clear understanding and interrogation of the elements of cost throughout the above journey is a critical factor in your product being a success or not.
Also an understanding of the ‘competitive matrix’ that you are launching into is another vital component of experienced review.
The Food Durham experience of establishing commercial successful companies into several different market categories with different ‘journeys’ can assist your progress to successful introductions.
Whether your product is ‘fit for purpose’ for the market or it requires some adjustments the next key stage is gaining additional distribution.
It maybe that your marketing or positional message needs clarification to your customers and theirs or you simply need ‘wheels’ – distribution and new sales channels are the life-blood of any commercial enterprise.
The Food Durham experienced team have a track record of all types of distribution needs and can advise and assist.
Finance Options (Investment/Grants)
Having sufficient capital and working capital no matter where you are in the production, processing and sales cycles is another critical factor in your business development.
The key document for this is the ‘Business Plan’ usually consisting of a Financial Plan and a Narrative Plan that are interrelated. You can ask an accountant to complete the Financial Plan but the more you understand the ‘numbers’ the better you are able to be flexible as obstacles drop into your business path.
An attractive financial tool are Grants but the environment for these has become much more limited over the past 20-30 years but still the context for these is in the interpretation within the core ‘Business Plan’.
The Food Durham experience has been to raise funding of over £12m for the two projects that started in ‘green fields’ and established annual sales of over £40m employing almost 400 people through various stages of the business development cycles. All ‘Business Plans’ have been prepared by them capable of including Profit and Losses, Cashflows and Balance Sheets with detailed schedules for Working Capital needs, many times not highlighted using traditional Standard Accounting techniques and obscured in the Balance Sheets.
Legal Food Compliance
The Food Industry is highly regulated with many levels of compliance.
The Food Durham team work closely with ‘Better for Business’, an organisation consisting of former EHO’s who have a remit to assist and support food enterprises before any issues emerge from EHO inspections that are a threat to the business.