Food Industry MVPs (No, Not That Kind)
If you have an idea or burgeoning food brand, you’re likely full of big ideas of what your product could be. You’re imagining vast distribution channels, ultramodern yet timeless branding, and 50 SKUs. And that’s great – you should be! But to get your product on the market, you may need to release what’s called the MVP – minimum viable product. This is the bare-bones but usable version of your product, one that introduces your brand to the consumer and allows you to test the market. Ideally, the MVP is a version you can work from, iterating constantly as you discover new insights and capitalize on economies of scale.
How do I know where the minimum is?
Finding your MVP is a guessing game, and involves evaluating your product in multiple categories to find where you can accept imperfection and where you can’t. This list, from the UpCycle, provides great examples of where your brand might want to draw the line in each category. It also provides examples of successful CPG brands and their initial MVP products. (If you need a pick-me-up, check out some of the early branding from enormous companies like Rx Bar and Koia – not so hot, huh?)
Conduct an MVP experiment
Familiar with the scientific method? Use your MVP as a hypothesis, and test it through a product cycle. This Globe and Mail article outlines the steps of the cycle. Some of the suggestions are a little bit unrealistic (MVP for your restaurant concept? Just “convert your car into a food truck”!), but the theory is solid. One important step they include: talking to customers. Getting feedback on your MVP allows you to redevelop and rerelease based on what your audience needs. Without the feedback, you may not improve to the next iteration.
You can’t be perfect on Day 1 – you didn’t invent pizza. But using this concept, you can bring your product from its early inception (one that might eventually embarrass you, like that old Rx Bar packaging) to something truly great. If you’re always improving, you’re always succeeding!