When I speak about good food, I don’t mean the taste. The GOOD FOOD industry revolves around a philosophy: to create food choices that have a positive impact on the environment, the economy, and our local communities.
We are in a climate crisis, and now is the time when good food companies need to step up the game if they want redefine the food market in ways that can get more food into more mouths without killing the planet.
But advocacy alone is not sustainable. Your job as a good food brand is to foster a community of transparency and clarity about what your brand is, what it stands for, and how you're making these decisions about your good food product that you are bringing into the market.
I help small brands communicate their story and their advocacy in ways that are targeted, manageable, and repeatable. When your marketing strategy, your brand, and your messaging, advocacy and philosophy are all in sync—that’s when you start to control your business. And when you’re in control, that’s when you can really make change.
Virginia Foodie Essentials:
- GOOD FOOD is not about flavor. The GOOD FOOD industry is about making choices that have a positive impact on the environment, on the economy, and on local communities.
- If we don't change how we use our natural resources and soon, we're going to lose them. It makes me a little bit sad that we have to be this close to things being desperate for there to be real change.
- We have to make change, or we're going to be losing things in a pretty dramatic hurry.
- I don't think real change will take root until it makes money for someone.
- For your great food idea to survive, good food cannot be a charity endeavor. It needs to be a strong and thriving business. And in order to have a strong thriving business, we need to have a strong community of people who care about good food.
- So, if you built your brand platform and your messaging in your own community to where you have a strong business, it brings power to the table. You can communicate from a sense of knowing who you are and what you need for your brand to be successful.
Key Points From This Episode:
- One-to-one sales are not enough to sustain most GOOD FOOD business. A business model that captures manufacturing customers gives a brand the opportunity to potentially provide thousands of meals.
- In dealing with a climate crisis, changing how we use our natural resources is necessary.
- To make an impact and positive changes on the environment, good food businesses also need to make money.
- Big companies got to be big because they focused on reinvesting and growing their business based on economy of scale—and that’s the genesis of our situation now.
- Business owners and brand managers need to communicate the value of good food in targeted ways that are manageable and repeatable so it can grow beyond the boundaries.
- Once you have established your brand value and have become a profitable business, big corporations and distributors would come and ask you to be part of their network—and that puts you in a position of power as you can control and evaluate if what they are offering fits your business.
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Note: We use AI transcription so there may be some inaccuracies
[00:00:00] Georgiana Dearing: Good food cannot be a charity and. It needs to be a strong and thriving business, and in order to have a strong, thriving business, we need to have a strong community of people who care about good food.
[00:00:18] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome to the Virginia Foodie Podcast where we live the lid on the K craft food industry, and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered how. Do that. How did they turn that recipe into a successful business?
[00:00:37] Georgiana Dearing: Then we've got some stories for you.
[00:00:43] Georgiana Dearing: Hi, foodies. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm George Steering, the founder of VA Foodie, and I provide marketing strategy and coaching for the good food industry. Today Marks the beginning of a series where I'll talk more about why I do what I do for good food brands and how I'm using my experience to help clients grow their good food businesses.
[00:01:03] Georgiana Dearing: In a recent episode, I spoke with Daniel Firth about commons provision, his e-commerce platform that supports regenerative farming, and I came into that conversation with a sense of curiosity. I had seen what he was doing out there and I wanted to understand just where his business model fit in the good food industry.
[00:01:24] Georgiana Dearing: What he's doing is helping farmers with one-to-one sales, and that means one company selling to one person, one-to-one. It's one sale, one transaction that's happening and it ends with that consumer And Daniel's platform is a solution that will help farms to quiet that side of the business. But honestly, one-to-one sales are not going to solve the problem of sourcing.
[00:01:49] Georgiana Dearing: Good. It takes energy to create a single customer who buys a single meal. It also takes energy to create a food service customer who may be buying for a hundred meals like a restaurant, and it takes energy to capture a manufacturing customer who would be buying for potentially thousands of meals. Over on VA foodie, we're showing shoppers how to make choices that can foster change in the food industry by supporting all of those sales channels for good food.
[00:02:21] Georgiana Dearing: We talk about restaurants, we talk about stores, we talk about farms and farm markets. We're covering all those channels. But in my practice and here on the podcast, I'm speaking specifically to manufacturers of good. These are people who are purchasing ingredients from those good farms out there. So I thought I would take a moment and talk about what good food means to me and why I'm focused on this particular area of the industry.
[00:02:52] Georgiana Dearing: And I wanna say right up front, I say good food a lot, but good food is not about flavor, right? Because what tastes good to me may not taste good to you. And when I work with food brands, I make the assumption that their food tastes good to some part of the population, some. I don't have to love it. Just somebody has to love it enough to not only buy it once, but buy it again.
[00:03:18] Georgiana Dearing: So when I'm talking about good food, I'm not talking about flavor cuz flavor is subjective. When I speak about good food, I'm talking about the good food industry, an industry that is making choices that have a positive impact on the environment, on the economy, and on local communities. I wanna stay straight up that I believe in science, and I absolutely believe that we are not dealing with climate change, but that we are in a climate crisis.
[00:03:48] Georgiana Dearing: If we don't change how we use our natural resources, and soon we're going to lose. And to be honest, I thought that we were gonna be further along. I thought we would be doing so much better by this point in my life, and it makes me a little bit sad that we have to be this close to things being desperate or there to be real change.
[00:04:11] Georgiana Dearing: For us to make an impact right now, we need to begin to be serious and intentional about our reliance on petroleum products and products made from petroleum, the chemicals that we add to the earth and to our food, and how we're managing waste. It's that simple. We have to make change or we're going to be losing things in a pretty dramatic hurry.
[00:04:35] Georgiana Dearing: I'm also gonna say that I don't think real change will take root until it makes money for someone. That sounds kind of cynical, but we honestly have to be making food choices and food businesses that are making money. Everyone wants a safe place to live. We wanna put food on our own tables. We wanna raise our children or be involved in communities where we can gather with friends, and all of those things require money.
[00:05:02] Georgiana Dearing: Money's not the enemy here. And I've worked with some really large corporations, and they're not necessarily evil because they're full of good people who are doing their jobs just like you and me. They're there to get a paycheck to support that lifestyle. The big difference that I see between large and small businesses is profit margins.
[00:05:25] Georgiana Dearing: Big companies know that they have to turn a profit or they have to go under. Every department I've ever worked with has got a budget that they are held accountable. And the same thing really needs to be true for small business. Big companies got to be big because they focused on reinvesting and growing their business based on economy of scale.
[00:05:46] Georgiana Dearing: Manufacturing means that you're making a whole bunch out of the same supply chain and focusing on the economy of scale is literally how we got in the situation we're in. Right. Industrial farming has its genesis in good intentions We got here because they were focused on solving the problem of how to get more food into more mouths.
[00:06:09] Georgiana Dearing: Now the question is, how do we get more food into more mouths without killing the planet? I do not doubt that there are, and that there will be large corporations who are taking on this problem. I mean, it's already happening. If you take a look at Chipotle, Chipotle's trying to solve fast casual dining in a way that pulls from regional supply chains and is focused on good farming practices.
[00:06:36] Georgiana Dearing: It's an industry and it's working. It's a model that's out there. So there are other parts of the food industry that are taking. The advantage of small business is that it can be nimble and it can make changes quickly. When you start out doing business the way you want to do business, it's a lot easier to keep moving in the right direction.
[00:06:55] Georgiana Dearing: Shifting these large corporations from the way they've always done it into a new model is gonna take time and it's gonna be slow. So we need a lot more small guys making a lot more money for there to be real change. The other thing about the economy is that food is gonna have to cost more. There's no other way around it.
[00:07:16] Georgiana Dearing: Craft food and good food costs more to produce than mass production. And you as a craft food business owner can't compete on price. So you're gonna have to put that fear out of the way and just think about what is it really gonna take you to create a food brand that is going to be profitable for the long?
[00:07:38] Georgiana Dearing: Because for your great food idea to survive good food cannot be a charity endeavor. It needs to be a strong and thriving business. And in order to have a strong, thriving business, we need to have a strong community of people who care about good food. When dollars are moving away from cheap food to quality food, bigger companies are gonna pay more attention, and it's already happening.
[00:08:05] Georgiana Dearing: They're paying attention to how your small brands are talking about the products you make. If you pick up a cereal box and look at the back panel, there will be a story on there about our farmers. Your job is a good food brand, is to foster a community of transparency and clarity about what your brand is and what it stands for, and how you're making these decisions about your good food product that you are bringing into the market.
[00:08:33] Georgiana Dearing: In my work with small brands, I use what I've learned from big brands and from the VA foodie community to help business owners and brand managers communicate the value of good food in ways that are targeted, that are manageable and repeatable so that your story begins to grow beyond just the boundaries of your walls.
[00:08:55] Georgiana Dearing: And there's a lot of power in being a smart good food. When your business and your brand and your marketing are all in sync, you begin to be in control of your business instead of in response to the big food industry in general. You begin to be able to say how and where you want to do business. My friend Sarah Delavan recently drew a line in the sand over on her podcast, the Good Food C F O.
[00:09:26] Georgiana Dearing: I encourage you to look for this episode where she spoke about no longer being able to stay silent. Sarah is a financial advisor to the good food industry and she is in the trenches working with brands with real number crunching, real contract reviews, real actions that ensure that good food brands are profit.
[00:09:48] Georgiana Dearing: She has seen several times during her practice, large retailers and distributors pushing some pressure on small food brands to accept less than optimal terms, and she speaks in this episode of her podcast that now is the time for the community of good food brands to stand up and push back and make space for themselves.
[00:10:14] Georgiana Dearing: So when your brand understands its value in the market and that it is a viable and profitable business, and you can communicate that value out to your partners, that gives you power. That gives you power in the relationship against these big corporate brands, the distribution networks and the retailers.
[00:10:38] Georgiana Dearing: You actually are able to move from a position of evaluating whether the contract that they're offering you really makes sense for your business, and that can be extraordinarily powerful. So if you built your brand platform and your messaging and your own community to where you have a strong business, then you become a brand that these corporate partners want to do business with.
[00:11:05] Georgiana Dearing: It brings power to the table. You can communicate from a sense of knowing who you are and what you need for your brand to be successful. And this is a great place to be. If these retail chains and distributors want to be out there telling the world that they are behaving responsibly or that they are making relationships with good food brands, then they're gonna come asking you to be part of their network, and that gives you the ability to negotiate from a position of power.
[00:11:36] Georgiana Dearing: In the coming weeks, I'm gonna talk more about how I help good food brands foster a sense of community and communicate their story in targeted, manageable and repeatable ways. And I'll share some things you can do right now to put your brand on track to operate from a position of power so that you can build the business that is the right size for your brand.
[00:12:00] Georgiana Dearing: And in the meantime, if you have questions, DM me or send an email to george va foodie.com. And if you enjoy this podcast, liking and sharing it always help me spread the word. So thanks for listening and we'll talk again soon. Thanks for listening. And if you wanna learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:12:24] Georgiana Dearing: If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are at VA foodie on. Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.