We All Need to Eat, But…

The great thing about the food and beverage industry is that we all need to eat and drink to live. The bad thing about the food and beverage industry that we have so much variety at our fingertips that we can afford to be picky about what we eat and drink. This is where your differentiator comes in.

When it comes time to decide what to eat, whether we’re picking a restaurant or planning a grocery shopping trip, we all have different criteria behind our purchasing decisions. Some of us are focused on healthy choices, some on sticking to a budget, and some of us just want to eat the most delicious foods we can.

Chances are, when you started your business, you didn’t say to yourself “I want to sell food.” You said “I want to sell…” Healthy food. Unique food. Authentic Ethiopian food. Comfort food. That’s your differentiator right there, and all of your decisions, from what products you make to how you market them and where you sell them should be informed by that initial decision.

Once you know what your differentiator is, you know a lot about your target market, too. If you’re selling healthy food, you know you’re going to be marketing to people who care about health and fitness. They probably exercise or otherwise lead an active lifestyle, they might have an existing health condition they’re trying to manage, they may be looking to provide their whole family with wholesome nutrition.

On the other hand, if you’re selling authentic Ethiopian cuisine, you’re likely to attract two markets: those who have eaten Ethiopian food in the past (whether they’re ex-pats or travelers), or adventurous foodies who want to try something new. Either way, you want to provide an eating experience that is authentic in every way, from the flavors to the presentation (packaging if you’re selling pre-made, ambiance if you’re a restaurant or food truck).

Keeping this target market in mind will help you guide your food business through the development of branding, marketing strategy and more. No matter what you’re promoting, whether it’s a new product or an event you’re participating it in, you should be tying it back to your differentiator. Over time, this will cause people to build a strong association between your brand and the values you uphold, so they can’t think of one without thinking of the other.

The end goal of this is to help make sure that you reach an audience who is hungry for what you’re cooking!


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