Who is your customer?
Fine Vines™ Ketchup will expand the market sales by increasing usage occasions for the consumer through increased choices of flavors, thus adding new users to the market. The consumer market for Fine Vines™ Ketchup is focused on adults who are food conscious, i.e. “foodies”. These consumers understand the value of quality products and are willing to pay extra for gourmet flavor variety. Fine Vines™ Ketchup satisfies more usage occasions than current products. It has a pronounced tomato flavor profile, with distinctive seasonings and spices that compliment foods. The brand will be promoted as “pairing with food like a fine wine”. Current consumers find few applications for ketchup other than hamburgers and French fries. People are dining more at home due to the current economy and are looking for ways to expand their repertoire of meal preparation and enjoyment. The target consumer will be sophisticated, desire healthy foods for their family and friends, and appreciate the product as a new “tool” in their repertoire. The product will be something that will be “cool” and have some “showy” appeal for them to serve to their friends.
Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup will be sold primarily through retail stores to reach consumers. The retail channels will consist of both grocery stores and specialty food stores (e.g. Dean & Deluca). These two channels comprise 69% of the retail channel for food manufacturers with products similar to Fine Vines™ Epicurean Condiments.
Ketchup is a mature product category, with an established purchasing process at retail. Product placement is dependent on the store’s management of the category. Promotional fees are likely to be required for category re-positioning to add product SKU’s to the shelf. However, the unique value proposition of Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup will enable the retailer to broaden the variety offered in the category, and increase purchases of the category at a higher price point, thus enhancing profits per square foot allocated to the category. The desired position for the Fine Vines™ brand is placement between the mustards and the other ketchups, since the flavor variety of the brand will replicate the mustard category, and the positioning will help consumers assimilate the concept.
What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?
Ketchup is the one of the top selling condiments in the U.S. Most stores sock a limited selection of products in the category. The selection often consists of one or two national brands and a house brand. The flavor variation among products is limited. Most ketchup products are formulated to emulate the flavor of Heinz Tomato Ketchup, the market leader. Consumers do not have a perception that flavor varieties can exist within the ketchup category. They assume that ketchup has a standardized flavor profile. Consumers have little opportunity for choice, and therefore the product category gets little attention during the consumer buying process.
Many consumers limit their usage of ketchup to specific usage occasions. The primary uses for ketchup are as a condiment for French fries, hamburgers and hot dogs, and as a topping for meat loaf. The perception is that ketchup is not a gourmet product to be used on a wider selection of foods. Ketchup is considered to be a commodity that competes on brand loyalty or price rather than flavor variety like many other condiments. Many consumers think, “Ketchup is ketchup”.
The ketchup market contrasts with other condiments. Store shelves are often stocked with dozens of mustards. These products offer a wide range of flavor choices. Consumers, who choose these products based on their flavor profile, and their flavor pairing with foods, accept the range of flavor for mustard. Many people stock several varieties of mustard in their home, and use them to enhance the flavor of foods, choosing particular mustard to be used with a specific food. Mustard has a wide range of price points, and consumers will pay higher prices for mustard than for ketchup. Some mustard varieties are perceived as gourmet, such as Grey Poupon. Grey Poupon is marketed as “one of life’s finer pleasures”. Market researchers attribute the public’s acceptance of the wide range of mustard flavor choices with the promotional campaign of Grey Poupon and its significantly different flavor profile from the previous market leader, French’s Yellow Mustard. The difference between these products created a space for others to enter, and thus create the increasingly large range of mustard products available today. Other condiments provide a range of flavor profile accepted by consumers. Mayonnaise stocked in the home may include brands such as Hellman’s and Miracle Whip, and the aioli market is one of the fastest growing food product categories.
While ketchup is purchased in 97% of households, the ketchup market sales trajectory has been flat in recent years. A significant percentage of these households purchase three or more mustard products regularly. Market movement for ketchup has primarily been based on the increased sales of house brands encroaching on the market share of brand leaders. Sales of salsa and barbecue sauce have increased, in part, due to consumers seeking variety in flavor that is not currently offered by ketchup products.
What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?
Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup was created to offer new flavor variety to the epicurean condiment category. The varieties of flavor provide choices to the consumer that will enhance their experience with foods that they consume. Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup is made in small batches from high quality all natural ingredients and makes everyday foods taste delicious. It is perfect for sandwiches, excellent for dipping, grilling and cooking. Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup is a ketchup for grownups and kids alike, and is available in five gourmet flavors.
The flavor of each one has a rich tomato flavor, with carefully selected spices and seasonings to enhance a wide range of foods. The products are low sodium, low carbohydrate, and preservative and gluten free.
The Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup product line consists of several products. Each one was developed to offer a flavor that pairs with specific foods. The generic descriptor for the brand is Epicurean Condiments. The flavors will be based on category designation, such as red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, potatoes, etc. The category designations are based on usage occasions, which are meals, snacks, entertaining, etc. Each flavor will be designed to enhance the consumer dining experience by creating flavors specific to types of foods consumed during the usage occasion. The unique flavor pairing will position make everyday foods more gourmet.
The usage occasions, to be targeted by the Fine Vines™ brand include consumption of:
1. French fries – Original Flavor
2. Hamburgers – Smoked Serrano Flavor
3. Poultry – Apple Wood Smoke Flavor
4. Red meats – Black Truffle Flavor
5. Pork – Bonfire Flavor
6. Eggs – Original Flavor
7. Sausage – Habanero Flavor
8. Fish – Wasabi or Lime Fresco
B2B customers will benefit, as grocery and specialty food stores will have more choices to offer consumers. Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup will expand utilization in the ketchup category. It will be sold at a higher price point, increasing revenue per square foot of shelf space in the ketchup category, and creating more profit for the store. Currently ketchup is sold as a commodity with little or no profit margin. There will also be increased cross category promotional opportunity since Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup will be used as a condiment with a wide range of foods.
Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?
The Founder has over a twenty-rear a track record of analyzing market opportunities and developing and implementing successful outcomes for regional and national accounts while working for a multinational corporation. Mr. Steinberg has achieved national recognition from external and internal customers for creating value for products and consumers. He has developed award winning teams that thrive on long-term win-win relationships.
Fine Vines™ Artisanal Ketchup is supported through a strong team of mentors, advisors and business partners. This team evolved through participation in the Kaufmann FastTrac New Venture Program and the UMKC Entrepreneurship Scholars Program, where the venture won a Finalist Award with High Distinction. Product development has been achieved in collaboration and contract with the Kansas State University Value Added Laboratory, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Food Processing Center and the Ennovation Center (a food business incubator in Independence, MO). The mentors and advisors have significant experience in marketing, operations, finance and food products. The company is a client of the Kansas Small Business Development Center (JCCC), and the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center (UMKC). The Founder has participated in numerous educational programs including the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program, and earned a certificate from the University of California – Davis, Better Process Control School.
The company has conducted and obtained market research to validate the concept with consumers and customers. The company and its products are fully licensed, insured and health department approved. Production and operations are established, and a team is in place for operational support. The brand has one trademark approved by the USPTO, and another pending approval. Package design is contracted to a nationally recognized organization with a track record of food product sales success.
Distribution channels are established for the local and regional markets. National distribution is planned for the future, and a network has been developed. The marketing plan addresses low-cost promotional and public relations campaigns. Marketing partnerships are in final stages of negotiation.