Catering businesses are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the rapid growth of the ready-meal market. While social distancing and restrictions on gatherings have devastated many catering businesses, now is the time to pivot. Here’s how:
1. Design some simple, low cost ready meals. It is important to stick with the classics and be price competitive (TIP: Get some ideas from the well-known ready-meal providers, you could also include a mixed box of fresh fruit and veg).
2. Set up an online store (check out Shopify, Wix or Square for a quick, easy and cheap option). Take some beautiful photos of your meals, add a mouth-watering description and post them on your store. Offer pick up or delivery.
3. Marketing. This is the most important step. You will need to differentiate your product from your competitors but don’t solely rely on your food or flavour combinations to achieve this. Your brand should stand for something as this will help to create a connection with your potential customers.
Also, keep up-to-date and use all the trends and buzz words (e.g. prebiotic, probiotic, high protein, low fodmap, no additives or preservatives, etc.). You must offer gluten free, vegan and dairy free options (Note: Of course, you need to base your nutrition and health claims on what is acceptable according to the Food Standards Code).
4. Keep it local. Providing ready-meals to the masses is big business and requires huge capital investment. Your advantage is focusing on and knowing your local market. You can tailor your products, better understand your customers, and be much more flexible than the larger ready-meal companies. Plus, people like supporting local, particularly since the advent of the Covid crisis, so give them a reason to switch away from the bigger companies.
To cost, order and produce your new ready-meal range, get a FREE trial with Prepit.