A Quick Ten Tips On Creating And Growing A Successful Food Brand

And making the world a place full of better foodstuffs

  1. Make sure your product meets a need. The baked potato “log” covered in coconut and chocolate tasted recently when I was judging The UK Great Taste Awards is a product without an obvious eating occasion.
  2. Make sure ENOUGH people will want to buy you regularly. Chilli bacon jam makes a great gift, and could work excellently online in a small way as a “man-food” present for hipsters, but you need people buying you weekly to really build volume.
  3. There are two ways to get big sales — the first is to build an entire new category, as innocent smoothies did in the UK, and the second is to rejuvenate a tired category with something new and exciting and significantly better — think Green & Blacks chocolate encouraging buyers of Cadbury chocolate to “trade up”.
  4. Are there food trend waves that you can surf along with? In the UK, Peter’s Yard Crispbreads are benefitting from their Scandi-chic Nordic-Noir Sarah Lund knitwear associations that make them “the” crispbread to serve alongside your expensive food-hall cheese.
  5. If you can make a decent gluten-free product that the person sans allergy wants to buy because it tastes so darn good, then you tick off two important markets in one. Rude Health in the UK is a master at this.
  6. Everyone focuses on supermarkets. But there are other places you could be stocked. Jimmys Iced Coffee is handily available from BP M&S Simply Food shops in service stations on major UK motorway routes.
  7. Make sure you get listed first where high-spending “early adopters” can find you, rave about you and enjoy recommending you to their friends — in Selfridges and WholeFoods Market Kensington (American bankers).
  8. Relentlessly communicate WHY you are better/different.

Innocent drinks’ rise to a brand worth £210m per annum seems entirely obvious now. But when they started, smoothies were utterly unknown to the British public. Including banana as an ingredient in a thicker “juice” was unfamiliar. Innocent also had to do a massive education job on “not from concentrate”, explaining that their smoothie was made from whole pressed fruit, and not from the tarry dehydrated substance that is concentrate. They communicated this relentlessly on pack for 15 years and they still do.


  1. Make sure that your packaging designer thinks about what you need to communicate on pack to a harried, hurrying shopper with lots on their mind. Design awards are great on an agency’s shelf, but your product needs to jump off a supermarket one and into a shopping cart.
  2. Get out there and give your product away to real people. Sample your butt off, over and over, in stores, on the street, anywhere you can get to people. Word of mouth is what works. If you create a brilliant flavour, people’s tastebuds will tell your tale to others.

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