Artisanal Foods

October 23, 2013: Artisanal Foods

America’s (actually, the world’s) fascination with artisanal foods is certainly not new. I remember years ago meeting someone who was giving up her career to move to Vermont to create an artisanal cheese business. What is new is how wholeheartedly consumers have embraced the concept. According to a Packaged Facts survey, nearly half of American adults “like to eat food or beverage products with artisan appeal.” Given the fact that this survey is a few years old, those numbers are very likely higher.

Artisanal foods run the gamut from healthy (or healthier) products like veggie chips or organic juices to ridiculously fattening (but delicious) eats like exotically flavored ice creams. Numerous entrepreneurs have “reinvented” food staples such as bacon, bread, mayonnaise, flavored oil and vinegars, salad dressings, syrups, sparkling waters, ketchup and alcoholic beverages.

For consumers, the word “artisanal” equals quality. Entrepreneurs can jump on this still-growing trend by producing artisanal products and selling them to local restaurants or by distributing them at food and wine festivals, farmer’s markets or special events like local restaurant weeks. Don’t want to produce the products yourself? Then you can build a business centered around artisanal food products made by others. In recent years we’ve seen the successful launch of businesses like gastropubs, food trucks, butcher shops, bars and ice cream parlors all offering artisanal food and beverages.

Two things to remember when it comes to selling artisanal goods: Consumers expect your food to be flavorful and fresh, and your packaging to be green and eco-friendly.