Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The biz behind the food biz: from winning recipe to a winning business

Two-day program designed for those considering a food-based startup

All across kitchens in Western North Carolina and beyond, thousands dream of using grandma’s generations-old recipe to become the next Mrs. Fields or Ben & Jerry’s. Tinkering with food combinations and formulas, they fine-tune the ingredients and proportions to craft a winning recipe. But going from winning recipe to a winning business requires an entirely different set of ingredients:  financing, inventory sourcing and management, production, compliance (FDA), legal issues, packaging and marketing.

Learning the behind-the-scenes basics of building a successful food-based business is the focus of “The Biz behind the Food Biz: from Winning Recipe to a Winning Business,” a two-day program for individuals considering a food-based startup. Co-hosted by Blue Ridge Food Ventures and the Asheville Center for Professional Studies, the program will feature professionals who are working both “in” the business – fellow food-based business owners – as well as experts working “on” the business:  accountants, attorneys, grocery store executives, marketers and financing representatives. 

Scheduled for Nov. 6 and 7, the series will be held at Asheville Center for Professional Studies, 1465 Sand Hill Rd., Candler, N.C., just outside of Asheville. Cost to attend the 16-hour program is $375, and registration is available online at www.AshevilleProfessionalStudies.com.

“The Biz behind the Food Biz” comes at a time when sales of specialty foods are reaching an all-time high. According to the Specialty Food Association, the sector now commands $88.3 billion in annual sales, a 47 percent increase since 2008, with an 18.4 percent growth since 2011. Eighty percent of these sales are at the retail level, and the major driver – 70 percent – for the growth is the demand for locally made products. 

Compounding the challenges for growth is the increased competition for shelf space in grocery stores. Consumer Reports notes that there are now some 47,000 products on grocery stores shelves.

“Grandma’s great tasting recipe is no longer the sole determining factor in whether a business succeeds,” notes Chris Reedy, executive director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures. “While consumers appreciate locally sourced foods, they also now have a level of sophistication and expectation with their food purchases. Our goal is to help educate individuals on all facets of taking their food-based business from the kitchen to the check-out counter.”   

The schedule for “The Biz behind the Food Biz” is listed below. For more information, contact Katherine Morosani at KatherineMorosani@abtech.edu or at (828) 398-7100.

The Biz behind the Food Biz: From Winning Recipe to a Winning Business

November 6 – Day 1

9 – 11 a.m.
Panel discussion of successful food-based business owners
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Compliance (local, state and federal regulations)
1 – 3 p.m.
“Been There, Done That” (Food-based business owners share their steps and mis-steps in building their companies)
3 – 5 p.m.
Tour of the commercial kitchens at Blue Ridge Food Ventures

November 7 – Day 2

9 – 11 a.m.
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Funding & Support (an overview on available financial options)
1 – 3 p.m.
The View - From the other side of the grocery shelf
3 – 4 p.m.
Now it’s YOUR Turn:  Participant Tastings

About Blue Ridge Food Ventures
Blue Ridge Food Ventures is an 11,000 square-foot shared-use kitchen and natural products manufacturing facility that offers support in product development, guidance through the maze of government regulations, equipment for bottling and packaging, advice on marketing and label design, and much more. Since its launch by the nonprofit AdvantageWest Economic Development Group nearly a decade ago, Blue Ridge Food Ventures has helped more than 230 businesses get their start, many with distribution across the U.S. More information is available at www.blueridgefoodventures.org.

About Asheville Center For Professional Studies
The Asheville Center for Professional Studies is the premier career and professional development training site for Western North Carolina. Affiliated with the  Education and Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, the Center specializes in leadership / management, information technology, entrepreneurship, performance improvement, career development training, and professional / technical, Lean/Six-sigma, and CEU/PDH certification. For more information, contact Katherine Morosani at KatherineMorosani@abtech.edu or (828) 398-7100.

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