Tips for Improving Your Food and Drink Packaging, Copy and PR
Episode #016 of The Artisan Food & Drink Business Show is the second of a two-part series with Tom Hunt, the former Marketing Manager of the Ludlow Food Centre, a 4,000 square feet farm shop based just outside the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England.
The Ludlow Food Centre has won a hamper of national awards including the FARMA ‘Best Farm Shop 2013’ and ‘Britain’s Best Food Hall 2014’ in the Farm Shop & Deli Awards.
On the show Tom talks about food and drink packaging and food and drink copy. Your food or drink packaging and copy are largely responsible for convincing customers to buy your products, so they have a critically important job to do. Getting them right can work wonders for your sales.
Tom also gives tips on PR for your brand and he reveals the key question — a very simple question — you should ask when putting together your marketing plan for your food or drink business.
Finally, Tom also explains why doing in-store tastings is so beneficial, not just for retail outlets, but for food and drink producers too. The importance of tastings has come up before on the show, in the episode with Nat Walker. You might like to check that out: Episode #001: Tips for Selling to Food and Drink Buyers: Buyer Nat Walker on What Buyers Want From Food and Drink Producers.
Listen Now to the Episode with Tom Hunt
Audio Not Your Thing?
If audio isn’t your thing, you can download a transcript of the show here: Ep #016: Tom Hunt: Food and Drink Packaging, Copy and PR (2). You can also find the full transcript of the show at the end of this post.
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Key Points from the Show
- Think of the words on your product packaging (or label) as falling into one of two categories: legal words and marketing words. Legal words include your nutritional declaration and your quantitative ingredient declaration (QUID). The marketing words (your copy) are a sales tool that could persuade the person who has picked up your product from a retail shelf, or who is browsing in your online store, to buy your product. The first step in getting your copy right is to ask what product features will appeal to your customers; you need to make these crystal clear in your copy.
- Planning to make any of the ‘new-generation’ label claims on your packaging by using words such as ‘artisan’, ‘clean’, ‘pure’, ‘earth-friendly’, ‘local’ or ‘simple’? An American attorney who specialises in the food industry describes a number of legal issues to be aware of.
- Make sure you control your company’s PR messages. SMARTA has written an excellent guide on the basics of PR that includes several useful ideas for getting your brand into the press and public eye generally. SMARTA also has 5 tips for doing your own PR if you can’t afford to hire a PR agency.
- Many retailers operate a tasting calendar. Tastings can boost your sales and increase awareness of your brand. Prioritise your tastings according to the importance of the retail account.
Very Sound Bites from Tom Hunt
Check out the infographic below for some direct quotes from Tom during the show.
Thanks to Tom for generously giving his time to come on the show and talk about marketing artisan food and drink. To connect with Tom on Twitter check out @CreativeDigita1. To connect with the Ludlow Food Centre online and to find out where you can buy its products check out the Links and Resources section next.
Links/Resources Mentioned in the Show and Other Useful Links
- Ludlow Food Centre website
- Ludlow Food Centre on Twitter
- Ludlow Food Centre on Facebook
- Ludlow Food Centre on YouTube
- Ludlow Kitchen website
- Ludlow Pantry website
- FARMA (National Farmers’ Retail & Markets’ Association), a cooperative that is the largest group of independent retailers in Europe
- An overview of ‘wackaging’ (wacky packaging). This article argues convincingly that Innocent, the first brand to use wackaging in its copy, achieved a ‘highly original, completely brand aligned and authentic’ approach to food and drink copywriting, that has many imitators but few, if any, peers.
- Tessa Stuart’s must-read book on packaging: Packed: The Food Entrepreneur’s Guide — How to Get Noticed and How to Be Loved
- National Sausage Week
- Asiri Foods Ltd
- My podcast episode with Asiri Hall: http://myartisanbusiness.com/podcast/asiri-foods-salsa-label-design-food-wholesalers-margins/
- John Stanley, retail consultant and conference speaker. Check out John and Linda Stanley’s book Food Tourism: A Practical Marketing Guide, which will be of interest to anyone who would like to diversify into the culinary tourism market, the fastest growing sector of the tourism market.
- The new EU allergy labelling legislation
- BBC Countryfile
Thanks for Listening
Thanks for listening to the show. If you are a food or drink producer, or industry professional who would like to appear on the show (it’s free!), don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by using the Contact Form on this website or by tweeting me @FoodDrinkShow. To hear when each new episode of the show is released simply sign up for my newsletter.
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Transcript of the Show
Catherine: Hello. Welcome to episode #016 of The Artisan Food and Drink Business Show, the show where artisan producers tell their brand story and share the secrets of their success. I’m your host Catherine Moran.
Today’s show is the second of a two-part series with Tom Hunt, the former Marketing Manger of the Ludlow Food Centre, a four thousand square feet artisan food and drink farm shop that’s based just outside the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England.
Tom talks about food and drink packaging and food and drink copy. Copy is the words you use to persuade people to take action, for example, to buy something or to sign up to your newsletter, or to visit your website, which you will want to do if online sales are important to you. So, that means that the copy or the words on your food or drink packaging are the words that persuade customers to buy your product. Taken together, your food or drink packaging and your copy have important work to do. That’s why you need to take time to think carefully about this copy rather than dashing something off in a few minutes.
Tom also gives tips on PR for your brand and he reveals key question — a very simple question — you should ask when putting together your marketing plan for your food or drink business.
Finally, Tom also explains why doing in-store tastings is so beneficial, not just for retail outlets, but for food and drink producers too. The importance of tastings has come up before on the show, in the episode with Nat Walker. You might want to check that out; it’s Episode #001: Tips for Selling to Food and Drink Buyers: Buyer Nat Walker on What Buyers Want From Food and Drink Producers.
Let’s now listen to my conversation with Tom.
Catherine: Can we change tack a little bit now and talk about actual branding of food and drink products. What do you think are the essential elements of good food or drink packaging, in terms of both the visual side of things as well as the copy, the copy being literally the words that appear on the packaging and that are designed to sell?
Tom: I was very lucky. I was given the opportunity to rebrand Ludlow Food Centre and I wanted to change it, but I wanted to change it for some really good reasons. One was to sell more food. Two, was because I felt that our products, the ones that our producers had spent so much time and effort making, were not getting the voice on the shelf that they needed. That was down to their packaging.
We had very basic packaging, and not just basic in the sense we were trying to be an artisan producer and wanted something rustic and with a bit of charm to it, this was just it didn’t have anything about that product on it. There was nothing. They had little on them. There were ingredients; there was a product name; there was price, in some cases.
Catherine: All the legal stuff really.
Tom: Exactly, but there was no marketing. There was no selling. There was no information for the customer. So, the first thing that I really wanted to do with our product was to make the connection between the producer and the product for the customer.
Customers, they need things spelling out to them. They’re in an environment where everything’s new and everything’s amazing and interesting and they’ve got a thousand thoughts in their heads, so when they actually choose to stop, pick up a product and start to take it in … Let’s say it’s a jar of jam. They pick up that jar of jam, they look at it, and they can see the strawberries in it and they want to eat it.
But, for me, I wanted it to be a little bit more than that. I wanted them to understand the brand. I wanted them to understand what it was they were buying into, because, let’s be frank, we’re charging £3.99 for that jam, pretty much double the average you’d expect to pay, so why? Why is it double? The first thing was, let’s call it Shropshire strawberry jam. Let’s be honest about it. We’re using local strawberries, so we may as well tell people they’re Shropshire strawberries, so the name, Shropshire strawberry jam.
Catherine: Provenance in there as well?
Tom: Provenance straight away. You know exactly what’s in that jar, strawberries. Next thing I wanted to do was, every single product … I wanted every product to have a quote from the producer. That’s where we were going to have the point of difference on our packaging.
Our single most wonderful USP [unique selling point/proposition] is that we have real people making food on our site, and they make more than half the food that we sell. You can see them, and so seeing them is one thing, but actually being able to contact them almost by way of the product, was the one thing that I felt was missing, and so all of our product now has a quotation, and it is footnoted. So, on that strawberry jam, it says, ‘We only use Shropshire strawberries from just down the road, a local farm. We only add a little lemon juice to help it set, and some red currents to add to the flavour. Darren and Tess, Jam and Pickle Makers.
Now, there is no way that anybody who’s bought that product, if they read the packaging, could not know, one, it’s a handmade product, two people have made it; two, it’s made using local ingredients, Shropshire strawberry jam; three, it has no nasties in it. You didn’t even have to look at the ingredients listing. It’s only got strawberries, red currants and lemon juice in it. Finally, it’s all there for you to see. You don’t have to ask any questions. It’s all being presented to you on a plate.
Catherine: So it’s very transparent as well …
Catherine: … because there’s nothing to hide.
Catherine: Like with a lot, really a lot of the big industrial manufacturers are a lot really that they probably wouldn’t be too proud of on their labelling.
Tom: Yeah. People say to me, ‘It must be easy marketing Ludlow Food Centre,’ and in some respects, it is. You don’t have to use all of the marketing trickery to get around all of things that you’re trying to hide. You’ve got an honest product, made by a real human being who can actually stand in front of your customers and talk to them and say, I made this.’ In the instances when that person can’t be with that customer or that that customer’s not actually in our shop … and don’t forget, a lot of things are bought for other people … that message still needs to get out.
And I took the packaging as not just being a piece of information, but also as a sales tool. Think about it. If you can use your packaging to actually sell your product to the person who is the end recipient of, or which there may be multiple recipients, then think that you’ve got an opportunity to contact somebody who’s never even been in the shop, who’s never even heard of the shop.
Let’s say that someone buys a Christmas hamper and it’s got 15 of our products in. Well, if none of those products had any information on them at all, about how they’re made, why they were made that way, what was in them, we’ve missed an opportunity, missed a fantastic marketing opportunity.
Because the recipient of that hamper my live in Scotland, but that one time that they travel through Shropshire, they’re going to want to come to Ludlow Food Centre because they’ve had the product; they enjoyed the product; they saw the packaging; they understood how it was made; they want to go and see that production kitchen where Darren and Tess made that fantastic Shropshire strawberry jam, and why is it that Shropshire strawberries taste so much better than Scottish ones? … I’m sorry Scotland … But, that’s the sort of thing that you want to be able to get out.
Catherine: Its got fantastic reach in that sense, doesn’t it, the copy? Have you ever come across this concept of ‘wackaging’, which is, I think, a hybrid word. I think it’s a cross between wacky and packaging. It is this copy that you see on food products where they’re often personalised. A bag of porridge that says, ‘Eat me. Eat me’. But I was just wondering if you had any thoughts about what good copy and bad copy looks like?
Tom: Yeah, I’ve heard of the concept. I’ve never indulged the Food Centre, and I probably wouldn’t unless we start making some kind of strange fizz banging sweets for kids or something, but, no. Copy for packaging is a very difficult thing. You’ve not got any space to work with. That’s why your wackaging comes about because you’ve got so little space to make an impact. It isn’t the easy way to go about it to do something crazy. Well, it is if you’ve got a brand that merits it.
But as I said, towards the beginning, we have a premium brand. We have a brand that we hope commands a certain amount of respect, that we certainly want to command respect, because of that, the subtlety in the messaging and the reinforcement of just some basic core values is what makes our type of product what it is.
I would say that that goes for most artisans, unless it’s a gimmick product or something that’s very much of the moment. If you want to create a long-standing brand, then you need some really key, basic brand structure to what you’re going to do, and copy, you need to continue that same pillars of your brand through everything that you do.
With the Food Centre, from the very, very beginning… from before the beginning, we had four words that essentially described what our food was. It was fresh, local, seasonal and handmade. Now, a lot of those words have been taken on by all sorts of brands and twisted to mean all sorts of different things, but I’ve never, ever, ever seen anybody use all four of them at the same time, and there’s a reason for that. For all of those four things to be fulfilled, you need to be operating at a level which … levels of purity, if you like, in brand terms … that most businesses can’t do and won’t do.
Catherine: I reckon a lot of producers see professional packaging as an unnecessary expense, and yet, others see it as an investment. How do you see it?
Tom: It depends what you’re selling. If you want to become a wholesale brand, packaging is absolutely and totally vital to the survival of your product, to its saleability on a shelf in competition with other products. That’s not just about standing out, it’s not about using day-glo colours on everything just because you want to stand out on a shelf, it’s to actually be the one that people pick up and buy in and amongst all the others, and packaging will be the number one reason for shoppers doing that.
If you don’t get your packaging right, you can advertise all week long, and you won’t necessarily turn people on to buying your product in a retail environment because everything goes out the door when they walk through it. They forget so many things and they’re immediately gripped by something that’s on the shelf just because it’s there and they can see it and it’s shouting to them.
Well, let’s take a product which has got very few ingredients. Theoretically, jam should have very few ingredients. It should basically just be fruit, sugar, and sometimes a setter. What do you do then with the packaging for something which is a very honest product? Well, jam is a massively competitive market, so the first thing you want to be doing is the most amazing packaging in the world ever, but actually half the appeal of jam is being able to see it.
You use glass for a reason, so you can see the product inside. You cover all of that up with giant labels, well, you’ve missed the point. You can’t see the raw ingredient anymore. And so, sometimes, for all you want to give the packaging to an amazing design agency to cover everything in some great big brand message, sometimes people only want the product.
Catherine: Let the product speak for itself, really.
Tom: Quite. Absolutely. Packaging can be the biggest illusion in the world or it can actually be the strongest part of the brand. It very much depends on the product. You’re either using packaging to cover something up or you’re using it to make something more visible.
Catherine: I don’t know if you’ve come across a book … I came across a book recently by Tessa Stuart. She has a book called Packed: The Food Entrepreneur’s Guide – How to Get Noticed and How to Be Loved, which I think is a terrific title. As well as things about setting up an artisan food or drink business, things like margins and pricing and getting into supermarkets, if that’s your cup of tea, she has quite a bit to say about packaging. I must send you a link to that, it’s really interesting and I’ll put some notes in the show notes for this podcast.
As a marketing professional, you’re going to be very experienced in PR. Would you have any tips for artisan producers who are looking to get some good PR for their products?
Tom: Yeah. The best person to do PR for you is you. That’s the simple message. The only people who will ever understand your business the way that you want it to be understood is you, so don’t farm it out to somebody, don’t think that there’s somebody who can come in with a bag of fairy dust or a magic wand and suddenly get your business into every newspaper in the land. They may well be able to actually get your business into that paper, but will they actually be able to convey the message that you want, and that is where writing press releases for yourself, or at least being the contributor into the press release, is the most important thing.
I remember a few years ago we had a PR company, who shall not be named, come to pitch to us for business. They said, ‘Well, we’ve had some ideas; we’ve done a bit of a brainstorm. We thought it might be really interesting if you could come up with ‘the most expensive sausage in the world’. We could get it into all the newspapers for you and they’d love it. It could be part of this and part of that and part the other. We’ve done our research and we heard about Sausage Week and we’ve heard about this and there’s National Pork Day and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’
I just sat there and, ‘Well, I know there’s National Sausage Week. We entered our sausages into it last year, we were very lucky to win an award,’ et cetera. We didn’t win an award for the fact that our sausage was the most expensive. You’ve completely missed our brand. Our brand is about having quality ingredients and creating a best-of-breed product. It’s not about creating something that’s the most expensive.
They just didn’t get it. They just saw it as the gimmick, the hook they could hang the story on to get them in front of and be listened to by the media, and that’s their job. They were doing their job really well, but they missed what our business was all about, and that’s why I say, if you’re going to do PR and you want to do it properly, then utilise some of these agencies and some of these people for what they’re able to do, which is get that little black book out and ring the person who’s in the know, but don’t let them run away with your brand.
You could find yourself actually getting … They say there’s no such thing as bad PR, there is. There is certainly such a thing as good PR and keeping momentum on PR and making people aware of what it is that you do on a regular basis. That is where the value can be. It’s not in gimmicks and it’s certainly not in great tales that will last for five minutes and be forgotten in just a short time.
Catherine: That does sound very gimmicky. Obviously, one thing you don’t want to do is damage your brand and that would have been I’m sure very damaging despite the publicity …
Tom: Yeah, agreed.
Catherine: … it would have garnered. We’re always told that we need a marketing plan as part of the overall business plan for a business. What do you think artisan producers should include in their marketing plan?
Tom: I think what you really need to do is to just get back to basics and put together what it is you want to achieve. What is the number one aim for the following year? Is it that if you make sausages that you want to sell another 100 packs of sausages every month and if so, work back from that. Work back from the end goal. If it’s the case that you’re going to set yourselves really lofty ambitions, then you may well have to set yourself a lofty marketing plan to go with it and put together a suitable budget.
If it’s that you’re happy with steady incremental growth and that you want to grow and, obviously, not shrink, then it’s a case of looking at the things that will keep that wheel going round. Marketing is such a broad spectrum. There are so many things out there and some will work for some people and some won’t. Some are free, some cost a lot of money.
The thing is to try to find the right mix and you ain’t going to do it in the first year and you’re probably ain’t going to do in the second or third, but eventually by trying certain things and trying them with some foresight, you’ll get to a mix of things that work for the business, and you’ll see the things that work well. Some of them won’t work so well, but you’ll still have to keep them because they still work for some people.
Some of your customers will only ever be able to interact with you on one level and so if you stop writing press releases for the local rag, then that little market of people who read the local newspaper won’t hear your message anymore. Just the same as if you stop doing the tweets out to the folks all over the world, suddenly you’ll lose that as well. It’s incrementally just adding new things each year. Finding things that work, finding things that don’t work quite so well, and obviously they will be things that really aren’t worth your time at all, but start small.
If it’s your business, then that’s great. You know what it’s all about, you just need to find a way to tell people. Some are free, some cost money. Figure out which ones you want to do.
Catherine: Yeah. It’s the whole marketing mix and I guess experimenting with the various elements in the marketing mix is really important.
Tom: But in small ways. Experiment small, do little things and see if they work, then make it bigger. We do events. We go to events and we’ll sell products. Over the years, we’ve changed the products that we sell and every time we go, we go with something a little bit different just to experiment to see what’s going to work best at that show on that weekend, come rain or sun or whatever else.
Events are a great way of actually experimenting with marketing, because they’re isolated, it’s easy to measure. If you go to one event for a weekend and you get 10,000 people through the gate, 20,000 people through the gate, they’re your test sample and you can experiment on them. You can play and do all sorts of things. You can give them freebies, you can test them, you can do customer surveys with them, you can do data captures with them, you can do competitions, you can do all sorts of different things, and they’re just there for a good time, so they’ll do anything.
Catherine: Yeah, you’ve got that captive audience there in front of you.
Tom: They’re interested in your product. They’ve paid to come in. They paid to be there, they’re interested, they want to know things. They are the ultimate guinea pigs.
Catherine: What can artisan producers do to help you to market their products?
Tom: When you look at the Food Centre as a retailer, and obviously we have suppliers, the one thing that I would always say to suppliers when they’re supplying a business is, if that’s their business model, ‘I’m going to make food and someone else is going to sell it for me, I’m not going to make and sell my food myself,’ so if that’s their business model, then I’m afraid we’re not going to let them off that easy. We want them to sell their food, and the most important thing they can do is actually come and do tastings.
Be there. Be there to meet the customer. Be there to introduce the food to the customer. Be there to inspire the customer. As I said, when you’re doing PR, the most inspirational people to do with the brand are the people who actually created the brand in the first place, and so the same with the food product. If you’re there and you make lasagne, then there’s no point just sending it to somebody to stick in a freezer. That’s not going to sell your product. You standing there, getting someone to try it is going to sell the product.
Now, you can’t be in a thousand places all at the same time, so it’s just a case of … from our point of view, we have a tasting calendar. We expect our suppliers to come at least once a year, if not more if they can, and some of them will come, three, four, five, six times. It’s really important and you see the difference.
We’ve got a wonderful supplier who does Indian sauces. She comes and she does tastings on the short floor, and she’s got the most fantastic personality, and she is her brand. Through and through, she is her product. When she comes, she can literally shift hundreds of jars of sauce in a day. She has a little cooking pot, the type you can buy for next to nothing, and she just stands in the shop with her cooking pot, giving people samples of her food from dawn until dusk. And the sales just skyrocket.
Catherine: Are you talking about Asiri Hall [founder of Asiri Foods Ltd], by any chance?
Tom: I am, indeed, talking about Asiri Hall.
Catherine: My God, that is such a coincidence because I interviewed her recently. She was saying how important it is to do tastings, and that her favourite place to do tastings is the Ludlow Food Centre. That’s just amazing.
Tom: Well, there you go. She’s one of our favourite people to come and do tastings as well. She is infamous for her tastings. She does a fantastic job and she has a very good product, but that product will not jump out of the shelf on its own, and that’s when it gets to packaging. We’ve discussed packaging already, but if a supplier sends us something which looks like a dog’s breakfast, then there’s only so much artisan charm that customers will accept.
I’ve been to a few things over the years, and one of the really interesting conference talks that I heard was from a guy called John Stanley, who is a farm retail guru. He was talking about the value of packaging from consumer confidence point of view. We live in an age now where people are constantly being scared about things that might hurt them. There are allergies and well, we’re just going through all this new legislation now with all the new allergen legislation.
The big guys have got a fantastic advantage in that they invest a heck of a lot of money into making a product look buyable. And the artisans have got a fantastic edge in being the opposite to that, and having an honest product which doesn’t need all of that wrapping to make it look good. The happy medium is where you get the buy-in from everybody because you’ve got consumer confidence, good quality packaging, good messaging, honesty, and that you are actually there saying, ‘This was produced in a safe environment. This was produced with really good ingredients,’ et cetera, et cetera.
That’s what packaging is there to do. It’s there to inform customers and to enthuse them to buy a product. We have to sometimes say to people who come to us with a product, and they say, ‘I just made this. It’s absolutely fantastic. You’ve got to try it.’ We try it and we go, ‘Yeah, it’s absolutely fantastic, but we can’t sell it.’ They look at you and they say, ‘Well, why?’ You say, ‘Well, look at it. Look at the people who you’re competing with on our shelf. This is what you need to do in order to be competitive. You can’t just stick a red sticker on it that says, “Best Hot Sauce in the World” or something. It’s got to be better than that when you’re competing with a market that’s a lot exaggerated.’
Catherine: Sounds like therefore you’re saying that really you need to not only get the product right in terms of taste from the outset, but also you need to have a … to put it a little bit grandiosely … a packaging strategy in place. In other words, is you need to have decent, professional packaging from the off.
Tom: There are a lot of foodies who are quite naïve. Just because they can make a good food product, it doesn’t mean it’s going to sell. Some of the best foods in the world don’t sell because they never make it to the shelves or to the fridges or whatever else.
At home, my wife could make something that tastes absolutely sublime. I’m never going to suddenly turn around and ask her to make a million of it so that I can sell it in a shop. It doesn’t work like that. A lot of food businesses start exactly in that way. For whatever reason, somebody’s jam tastes fantastic and all of their friends coo about it, so they make another 50 jars and they start selling it at the local market, and then people start thinking it’s the most wonderful thing in the world and then they keep selling it. Then they get to the stage where they have to be commercial about it. That’s where the dividing line is. If you’re going to make it a business, then you have to treat it like a business and it’s not just a cottage industry.
Catherine: Yeah, or a hobby, something like that.
Catherine: Finally, Tom, I’m wondering if you have any predictions for the future of food and drink marketing.
Tom: I’m not one for prophesising really, but I think there’s one thing that’s really coming into food at the moment and that’s intervention. Food is being regulated far more, the recent bouts of changes to packaging, the nanny state approach to food and certainly the way food is sold is certainly something, which I think is going to stifle creativity in the future. It’s certainly going to be a very difficult thing for the artisan to deal with.
We’re in the middle of dealing with it at the moment with a decent amount of resources and yet it’s a hellish task to try and make everything compliant. I don’t disagree with the fact that we need to be careful when it comes to things like food packaging, certainly allergens. There needs to be a way for people to get that information across. But regulating things to the extent that we may well be in in the next few years, it’s going to make things very difficult for small food producers.
The other thing is that advertising … We’re already being told now that we’re not allowed to advertise unhealthy foods to people at certain times of day. Certainly the child thing has come in quite a lot with regard to advertising sweets and fatty foods to kids at those peak times when they’ve just got home from school and they’re desperate for some food and they see images of lovely fatty, sweet, whatever food and of course that’s it. They want mum to go and buy it or have it in the house for them.
I think we’re going down the same route that we went down with the cigarette advertising, whereby eventually food advertising is going to be so clinical that people won’t want to do it anymore. Eventually, when you can’t really get across the benefits of something, and all you can advertise is ‘the healthy’. How on earth would you start putting an advertising campaign together for the best chocolate brownie? It’s going to get pretty difficult. We know what the ingredients are and there’s not going to be a healthy option, but it’s still a food product and it’s still a nice food product.
We are seeing this fantastic resurgence in artisan food. You and I wouldn’t be here having this conversation if we weren’t, and certainly, I don’t think, we would have been here in the mid-1980s. That’s when commercial food was really taking off and all of the big American brands were seeing their hay days and that’s when I grew up, so I remember it. Very much the last ten years has been all about the farm and you’ve got all the TV celebrities behind it. So we’re doing the Jimmys and the Jamies and the Adams on Countryfile. Everybody’s getting that little flavour of what it is to be an artisan food producer and a foodie and everything else.
But I also don’t think that it could be quite as nice as we’re having it today, forever. I think that’s what we all have to plan for. How do you look at the big, big picture, not just your three-year plan, your five-year plan, but much further into the distance than that.
We made a £2.2 million investment into the Food Centre, we certainly don’t want it to be a flash in the pan. We’re looking at the years to come where a seven and a half-year-old business and the future for us, regardless of whether artisan food is in the public eye or not, we’re still going to have to sell it and make it. That for us is where the future is extremely important, but also we can do nothing to predict it.
Catherine: Indeed, nobody can. That’s pretty much it, Tom. I’ve asked all the questions I was wanting to ask you. I would like to thank you very much for all of your time and your generosity and sharing all those tips. Thank you very much.
Tom: Thank you, Catherine. I really enjoyed it.
Thank you, Tom, for coming on the show and for sharing your marketing insights with us.
You can visit the Ludlow Food Centre website at www.ludlowfoodcentre.co.uk. The Food Centre is on Twitter as @ludlowfoodcentr.
If you’d like to get a free transcript of this episode with Tom, just go to www.myartisanbusiness.com. You’ll also find the show notes for this episode there and can check out some useful resources on food and drink packaging and copy.
To get in touch with me you can use the contact form on myartisanbusiness.com. Alternatively, you can find me on Twitter. I’m on there as @FoodDrinkShow, so please follow me there.
That’s it for this episode. I’m Catherine Moran from the Artisan Food and Drink Business Show. Until next time, happy cooking, happy fermenting, happy brewing, and thanks for listening.
You can listen to the podcast episode Tom at myartisanbusiness.com/podcast.