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Innovation in Food Is Different Than Tech

Innovation in Food Is Different Than Tech

Big food companies realize that they need to innovate. Rather than innovating only in-house, many have been acquiring or strategically investing in new brands at a rapid pace. Innovation in food needs to be matched with an emotional and cultural connection to the consumer through relentless communication about food companies’ brand promise.

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Considering In-House Food Manufacturing? Waste Can Be A Resource That Improves Your Bottom Line

Considering In-House Food Manufacturing? Waste Can Be A Resource That Improves Your Bottom Line

Zero Waste Facility Certification can improve food businesses’ bottom lines while helping them meet existing standards for building design, construction and operations. LEED and Zero Waste Facility Certification also give them a framework to exceed standards where it makes business sense. For example, when Tera Johnson (the Edible-Alpha™ podcast host) built a whey protein processing plant for teraswhey®, capturing waste heat from the boiler to preheat the drier made both environmental and business sense because it saved money and because those practices resonated with teraswhey®’s target consumer.

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Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Disrupts Distribution And Presents Opportunities

Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Disrupts Distribution And Presents Opportunities

There are many reasons why selling food online is difficult. When cognitive neuroscience folks track our brain activity as it relates to food, they find something that is intuitively obvious: the pleasure centers of our brains light up when we eat and even when we shop. This acquisition opens the possibility that consumers can benefit without degrading their shopping experience or taking it out of the hide of food makers. Optimistic, but at least possible.

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How Much Is My Food Company Worth? Valuations With LBW Wealth

How Much Is My Food Company Worth? Valuations With LBW Wealth

Company valuations should be done based on a rational justification of the future growth rate and future earnings of the company, as well as the fundamentals of the business model. For example, whether the company is defensibly unique and how long its competitive advantage can be sustained are both key drivers of a company’s value.

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Advisors and Feedback Are Essential to Food Business Success

Advisors and Feedback Are Essential to Food Business Success

Most successful entrepreneurs have a network of support behind them, like an advisory team, board of directors and funders. These individuals provide mentorship and guidance that is invaluable for that company’s success, augmenting what the entrepreneur and management team bring to the fold. The company’s customers, whether individuals or wholesale buyers, can also provide invaluable feedback and partnerships that yield fruit.

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SBA 504 Loans with Diane Byler of WBD

SBA 504 Loans with Diane Byler of WBD

An SBA 504 loan is a special product that can only be offered by a Certified Development Company (CDC) like WBD in partnership with a local lender. The 504 loan is designed to help small businesses grow and create jobs by financing fixed assets like real estate and equipment. Qualified borrowers receive long terms (20 years for real estate, 10 years for equipment); low, fixed rates and lower down payments (10%). The 504 cannot be used to do working capital but can be used in refinancing other loans under certain circumstances as well as for the “soft costs” associated with the project like appraisal, contingency, attorney fees, engineering, title, bank fees and inspection.

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True “Disruption” of Food Is Difficult

True “Disruption” of Food Is Difficult

Consumer tastes, preferences and expectations around food are changing. People are demanding more healthy food while also sometimes making the foray into purchasing food items online, mostly non-perishable, potentially hollowing out the center of grocery stores. While there is a place for technology to enhance customers’ relationships with food, true “disruption” of the fundamental dynamics of the customer relationship is likely a difficult goal to realize.

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Food Hubs with Tara Roberts-Turner of the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative

Food Hubs with Tara Roberts-Turner of the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative

This Hub realized it needed to reach at least $3.3 million in sales to break even, and the Hub broke even on a net income basis in 2016 despite the poor prices for produce. To maintain their margins, they built the Hub’s capacity through adequate staffing while also only spending on essentials and taking advantage of their uniquely cheap warehouse space of $800 per month for a 10,000 square foot facility. They also maintain their margins by having their warehouse serve only cooling and aggregation/distribution functions, rather than other forms of value-added processing that would require them to sell millions more dollars of produce every year to cover the added staff, warehouse and quality assurance capacity needed.

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Farm Credit With Paul Dietmann of Badgerland Financial (Now Compeer)

Farm Credit With Paul Dietmann of Badgerland Financial (Now Compeer)

The Farm Credit system consists of a farmer owned, farmer led co-ops which primarily lend to farmers and any agriculture producers anywhere in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, including manufacturing companies if majority owned by farmers. The book Fearless Farm Finances is a a farmer-friendly reference guide for all things financial relating to farming enterprises.

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