Fresh-to-Processed: Adding Value for Specialty Markets
The goal of this project is to educate farmers who are also, or who may wish to become, value-added processors so that they understand the many facets of growing crops or livestock for processing/packaging, how to proceed with processing and how to market their finished product(s) for maximum profitability and economic sustainability.
Research for the grant, a Missouri specialty food marketing Survey, producer case studies and extensive marketing studies, resulted in training sessions throughout the state of Missouri. The trainings were hosted and advertised by Extension Field personnel and served over 150 participants, about one-quarter Extension and three-quarters producers. About three-quarters of the producers are already involved in value-added food processing using their own fresh products. The other quarter are producers interested in adding value through food processing.
The training includes: creating a product idea and product development; finding or building an inspectable kitchen facility; testing for safety and shelf life; creating your product image - a do-it-yourself market survey; package design; creating a distinctive label; labeling regulations - state and federal; pricing the processed product; marketing and advertising; direct sales - point-of-purchase materials and merchandising; wholesale - creating a sales kit, approaching wholesalers; and presentations and trade shows.
Producers and Extension personnel received resource lists of trade associations and publications, Missouri retailers willing to work directly with producers, Missouri business resources, etc.
Kitchen incubator research was also completed, with five shared-use kitchens and one individual kitchen incubator being visited and their directors interviewed. The project coordinator is planning a kitchen incubator facility in conjunction with Columbia Area Food Circle as a result of the opportunity she received through the NCR SARE grant. North Central Region SARE 1997 Annual Report.