You know that everyone in your family loves your jam, and you’ve even started to sell locally to coworkers and friends. You’re ready to jump into a full-fledged business, and likely you’re developing a business plan. But in order to understand the context around that business plan, and the factors affecting your success, you’ll need market research.

Market research is so much more than identifying competitor jam companies or potential jam customers. Understanding the market for food products involves a complex maze of regulations, local and federal policies, branding and marketing trends, sales outlets, and more. It’s imperative that you complete this research in order to anticipate challenges and work towards success, but not many entrepreneurs know how to begin.

The team at Entrepreneur put together this great beginner’s guide to conducting market research in specialty food. They pose a number of great questions as you begin your research, such as:

  • What’s the demographic of the retail population?
  • Will your production space affect the perception of your product?
  • How are competitors utilizing their physical space? Is it retail, production, or both?
Performing a Market Analysis

Once you’re ready to do a full analysis, business consulting firm MNP suggests you go through the following six steps:

  • Identify Your Target Market
  • Assess Your Market’s Spending Habits and Preferences
  • Review Consumption Trends
  • Project Your Target Market
  • Analyze The Competition
  • Outline Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Looking for more step-by-step instructions for conducting market research? This article from MNP provides a great general start.

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