How to start a baby food manufacturing business

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Most families with young children buy prepared baby food. They select items to purchase by price, appearance, availability, taste or brand. Your start-up business may begin with products made in a home kitchen, purchased from a wholesale food distributor or manufactured in a food processing plant. You can compete at a local level successfully with a well-researched business plan, an effective marketing strategy and sufficient funding.

Develop a business plan based on the business you intend to operate. You probably will not need much financing if your goal is to make small batches of baby food items you can sell at fairs and farmers markets, How much your products sell for depends on whether you are selling directly to families or are selling through stores that mark up the items. Buying the food you process from inexpensive sources and in the right quantities is an important condition for making a profit. Your business plan should describe how you expect to accomplish this.

If your goal is to sell in larger quantities through food markets and multi-product and speciality stores, you may want to pay people to make your items in their own kitchens. You may decide to buy from one or more distributors who can supply you with as much product as you need, labelled with your company name. You need start-up funding of an amount determined by your business plan's financial estimates.

If your goal is to manufacture baby food in large quantities, finding buyers who agree to distribute or sell the products you make is an important first step. Manufacturing requires considerably more planning and funding than making and selling small quantities. You need a facility and equipment that meets food safety inspection requirements, employees to oversee the food processing, bottling and packaging, office employees to handle orders, accounting and billing and a sales force. You may decide sales can be handled by your own personnel or you may find it better to outsource to firms that specialise in sales.

Create a realistic marketing strategy that serves as a guide for operating your business and shows your potential funding sources how you intend to make a profit. You need a plan that allows you to compete successfully in a market of your choosing, since large corporations sell well-known brands of baby food in food stores nearly everywhere. You may decide you can sell a good product for less money than your competitors. You may be able to convince buyers your product is better, though not cheaper. Your marketing should distinguish your products from others.

Selling through stores makes them your primary customers. Your strategy should convince them they can make a profit by selling your products.

Prepare financial data that can convince investors to provide money to start your business. You may want to seek bank financing if you decide not to seek investors, Consider trying to arrange a Small Business Administration-guaranteed loan or joining a manufacturing incubator.

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