The Catapult Kitchen Incubator launched a brand new program to help food entrepreneurs launch or excel in their consumer package goods businesses. Over the course of five weeks, thirteen of our product-based businesses met together weekly via Zoom for a series entitled, Consumer Packaged Goods: A Recipe for Revenue. Each week, we discussed the world of consumer package goods, and its intersection with the world of eCommerce.
Many of the businesses engaged in the series had experienced direct impacts from COVID-19 on their business, as typical sales channels, such as farmers markets, festivals, and events, were canceled due to public health concerns. The purpose of this class was to provide knowledge, resources, and next steps to launch a consumer packaged good product online and to grow sales, both in the current environment and in the future.
Week One: Intro to CPG
During this week, we discussed how consumer packaged goods are purchased by customers to solve a problem they are experiencing. These brands have the ability to start small and grow into nationally recognized brands. By adapting throughout their journey to meet changing needs, CPG brands gain both customers and retail clients. We had a special guest, Angie Ruff, founder of Compass Blending, offer her insight on working with a co-manufacturer.
Week Two: Costing a CPG
For our second week, Chris McArthur, founder of Patriot Coffee Roasters, joined the series to share about his experience in stocking his small-batch coffee at Publix and the lessons he learned around costing his product. We discussed the necessity understanding of product cost, as it is the foundation of a successful CPG company. While price and cost are related, they are two distinct topics. Participants left the session equipped with a spreadsheet to help them break out their ingredients, packaging, and labor costs.
Week Three: eCommerce for CPGAccount
At the halfway point, Grant Nieddu, founder of Spark Sites joined us to share about important infrastructure to consider for an online store. We discussed key considerations when selecting an eCommerce platform and the pro’s and con’s of popular platforms. Designing around a customer user experience is key, and best practices for managing an online store were explored. Following this week, participants were able to request website audits from the Catapult team as we suggested key changes to improve website performance.
Week Four: Marketing a CPG
This week was all about marketing and branding as we discussed how excellent brands are built around a customer’s problem. These companies have a clear brand promise and consistently deliver on that promise. Additionally, ways to leverage social media, email marketing, SEO, and affiliate marketing to reach target audience was explored. After our marketing week, participants had the opportunity to engage in a photo session in the brand-new media room at Catapult, where a professional photographer captured images of their products.
Week Five: CPG Feedback Sessions
This week included a showcase that involved expert feedback from operators in the CPG space. Sam Davidson, CEO of Batch USA and Leila Blacking and Jennifer Carey, Strategists at Publix Supermarkets, volunteered personal time to offer insights to members who mailed products for critique. Each member who completed several requirements gave a short pitch followed by helpful comments from our expert panels.
Below are the businesses that participated in our feedback sessions:
Liamuiga Tinctures and Teas offers tea blends and scratch-made baked goods inspired by the island of St. Kitts. Carol Stanley hand blends teas, such as a Rosie Hips, a blend of rose hips, ginger, allspice, and apples, and offers them at the Farmers Markets and online.
Omusubee offers nori-wrapped rice cakes with various fillings from smoked pork belly to pickled plum, known as omusubi or onigiri. Ana Hosfede produces in a kitchen in South Florida but is expanding her business into the Central Florida area and the eCommerce market.
Vegetation Plant Foods offers prepared plant-based meals, free of dairy, gluten, meat products, and added oils, to customers on a rotating weekly basis. Rima Schillinger crafts each meal with organic produce and ingredients to give her customers a wide range of flavors and preparations.
The Very Interesting Game is a card game, comprised of five distinct sections, designed to aid players in hosting interesting conversations. Deedre Daniel has taken her signature seminar, “How to Be More Interesting Than a Cell Phone” and transformed its principles into a rockling card game.
We Jammin’ produces artisan jams in quirky flavors – like Strawberry Habanero or Carrot Cake – to help customers think outside the PB&J. Teresa Adinolfi works with Plant City area farmers to source local fruit and preserves its flavor in fun and funky ways.
In summary, these five Zoom sessions were hosted to support the product-based businesses during the tumultuous season brought on by COVID-19. At Catapult Kitchen Incubator, it is our goal to not only be a space that our members use to produce their items but to be a resource to them as they grow their businesses in the Lakeland area. Join the community of talented food entrepreneurs and gain access to our education programs. Apply now for Kitchen Membership and be among the first to access the space when we are open. It is going to happen VERY SOON!
Graduate Kitchen Member, Jennifer Smurr, comments on Born and Bread’s journey as a startup to her recent feature on Forbes Next 1000!
After hurricanes, pandemics and construction, Catapult is ready to bring Lakeland to next-level innovation- NEWS
Check out Tampa Bay Business Journal’s feature on Catapult in their most recent issue highlighting the city of Lakeland and its growth.