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24
Jan
2013

Selling at Food Festivals.....what to sell?

by Claire Martinsen on Thu 24th Jan 2013 08:04

We do quite a few of the local food festivals and events – selling our Posh Pop of course!

I get asked lots of times for advice on what to sell at Food  Festivals and events, so thought I would do a little blog piece with some thoughts. If you are thinking of  selling food at Food Festivals and events for the very first time and don’t know what to sell, then these will be some of the things that you’ll need to consider:

  1. AMBIENT OR PERISHABLE
    Are you going to do something perishable or something longer life which you’ll be able to pack up and sell again at another event
  2. RESELL OR MAKE IT YOURSELF
    Will you resell someone else’s product [eg cheese] or craft it yourself?
  3. EAT NOW OR TAKE HOME
    Items such as jams and chutneys will be consumed at home, tea/coffee/burgers will be consumed there and then!
  4. EQUIPMENT
    Some items will require speciality equipment – eg fridges for pies/sausages or stoves/grills for burgers and hot dogs.
  5. TRAINING
    Similarly for most eat-now products you’ll need a special license and training – and that’s something to take into consideration.
  6. SEASONAL OR NON-SEASONAL
    Products such as mulled wine or ice cream are going to fly at certain times of the year, but they won’t work all year round.  It depends what kind of food business you want to have.
  7. UNUSUAL OR NOT
    If you go with jams/chutneys you probably won’t be the only stand there with those items, but on the other hand they are easily understood and used by most people.  A more unusual product [eg an apple butter] will be  unique, but may not be as easily understood
  8. STAFFING LEVELS
    Some products will only need one staff member if they can be picked up and sampled by the customer with minimum of intervention [eg crisps] – other items such as tea/coffee and ice-cream will need more staff cover.  You’ll need to consider how many staff you want.
  9. OUTLAY
    Some products will require more outlay than others.  If you are thinking of selling rare Brazilian coffee beans, then there’s probably a minimum quantitiy you need to buy, and replenishing isn’t going to be easy if it really takes off.  Against that other items such as cakes can be baked in the home [subject to getting the right local authority approval] and require a much smaller outlay.
  10. PROFITABILITY
    Consider the profit margin on the products you are thinking of selling.  Doing a quick profit and loss, taking into account the cost of the stand/staff/product etc, against the volume/planned price point, will give you an indication of whether the product is going to work or not.

Before you start,  you would be best doing some research to really test out your idea before you start investing in equipment and product. Research doesn’t need to be expensive and  it will give you some great feedback and direction before you start.

Some quick research could be:

  • A survey of family and friends
  • A paper survey at a Food Festival
  • Doing a trial run at a small event to test consumer reaction
  • Offering to help an existing trader at an event to build up knowledge and see if its something that you want to do in the future

But whatever you decide – I wish you lots of luck and lots of fun x

Posted in: Starting out Tips for running a food business

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