During my last post, I listed several types of farming ventures, so you can start exploring niche markets for your farm. I want to go through that list and flesh out out some of those sections to give you a better idea of the possibilities. I want to start with value added products because the options are limitless and can work for almost any farm in some way or another.
Direct marketing and value-added products are two of the best strategies farmers can employ to improve net profitability. Value-added products can open new markets, enhance the public’s appreciation for the farm, and extend the marketing season. Also, value added products have extra benefits, especially fruits and vegetables, is that you can use the “ugly” produce that customers might not necessarily want. This way you reduce waste and still make more profits.
Added Value Definition
Value-added products are defined by USDA as having:
- A change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam).
- The production of a product in a manner that enhances its value (such as organically produced products).
- The physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product (such as an identity preserved marketing system).
Value Added Examples
That can seem a little vague but basically value added products includes everything from using herbs to make soaps and lotions, salad mixes with different lettuce varieties, jams and preserves, bread, canned goods, and frozen meals. This could require a bit of research to know what laws are in your area for kitchen and labeling requirements, but are a great way to use extra garden produce or set your products apart in the market place.
- Dried for tea packages
- Soaps, shampoos, lotions lip balms
- Catnip toys
- Dried wreaths (Can also do this with flowers)
- Zucchini noodles
- Black Garlic
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Garlic scape pesto
- Pickles / Fermented Vegetables
- Salad Mixes
- Dryer Balls made with Sheep Fleece
- Milk-based soaps
- Milk based products such as butter, cream, yogurts
While looking into these ideas I found a 395 page study on ALL kinds of medicinal benefits of honey and bee products. They also go into great detail for many ways of using these products. Here’s just a few ideas:
- Beeswax Molds
- Propalis Tincture
- Beeswax Candles
- Beeswax Lipbalm
- Bee Pollen
Value Added Pricing
Pricing can always be a touchy subject. This step is critical to make sure you don’t lose money. There are times, that we price things lower than we should to bring in customers, but ultimately that’s a balancing act. We need to keep these factors in mind:
- The cost of your product.
- The existing market/competition.
- The value of your product.
- Your business goals.
- The market segment.
Determining the Cost of Your Product
Ultimately, this is the number one factor you’ll need to look at. This includes factors such as transportation cost, labor cost, supplies, booth fees and most importantly, any licenses or certificates you need to process these food items. Compare that to what you’re able to sell it for in your market. No market or customer base will be the same. As I mentioned, there are some products that get customers in the door but don’t always make a profit. If you’re not making profits here, then you’ll need to make sure that you’re making it somewhere else in your production.
Value Added Selling
Ultimately, farming is a business. As business people, adding value to the lives of our clients or customers is something we should always strive to do. It means being proactive delivering more, always looking for ways to exceed the customer’s expectations. There will always be customers complaining about prices, but adding more value on the front end will help reduce this on the back end. In short, value added selling isn’t about selling a product, but selling a solution, making a difference. Listen your customers, find out what their needs are and create products that will make a difference in their life.
There are so many ideas and really the only limit is your creativity when it comes to value added products. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below or tell us what has worked for your farm!