Are you a food or beverage start-up with a great product but no market – yet? Then consider your local Farmers’ Market as your living lab.
Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market General Manager Elaine Ratcliffe says South Australian farmers and gourmet food producers are recognising the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market as a good testing ground to start up a new business or launch new products.
The Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market at Wayville attracts around 6,000 customers every Sunday, which gives stallholders wide exposure when testing new offerings.
Stallholders who have been planning to launch a new business arm or introduce new products have benefitted greatly from gaining instant access to thousands of customers, and being able to monitor and learn from them.
“Over the past 12 years, we have seen many of our stallholders use the market as a testing ground for their products and build on their offering over time as they become more confident with understanding consumer demand,” Elaine says.
“More people are recognising the benefits of starting out at the market. Becoming a stallholder is a small financial commitment so it offers a low risk pathway to launching a product. Stallholders also have instant access to engaged customers and can see firsthand how people are interacting and responding to their products.”
Award-winning Najobe Beef and Zara Grace Lamb started at the market in 2010 as a fifth generation family farm, ready to enter the retail world.
Business owner Bob Heath said thanks to their success at the market, within just five years they were able to lease more land and increase the number of livestock, as well as open a butcher shop in Strathalbyn and upgrade their website to now take online orders.
“The market was our gateway to the retail world and gave us exposure to a broad consumer base, both individuals and the hospitality industry such as restaurants,” he said.
Gut Feeling – pro-biotic rich fermented foods – shared a similar ethos to the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market around food production, provenance and sustainability, so decided to join the market in 2015 to test their products.
Gut Feeling business owner (and MasterChef constant, 2017) Sam Whitehead said the market was the ideal environment to start the business, connect with new customers and trial new products. “Having face to face feedback from customers helped us understand what was working and where we needed to refine our offering,” he said.
“We now sell our products in more than 35 health food stores and cafes throughout South Australia. We’re hoping to continue to expand our wholesale market locally and will use the Farmers’ Market to introduce new, seasonal products and gauge consumer feedback.”
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