The current growth markets of health drinks and other health foods attract a lot of people with product ideas. However, it's not easy to build a new brand in this sector. Using my experience of starting INIU here are some steps to follow to succeed.

How big is your big idea?

Define your ‘what' and more importantly identify your ‘why'. The ‘what' is usually straightforward, but the ‘why' is critical. It will form the basis of your brand story and the passion that drives you.

My "what" is simple - fresh juice. My "why" being healthy, fewer hours shopping, and less kitchen time combining ingredients to make this fresh juice for my family.

I came up with INIU because it avoided choosing between convenience and healthy eating. I located and solved a problem on a small scale.

Ask where and when. How big can your idea get? Keep stretching the idea to discover where it breaks (hypothetically).

Next: are there new markets you can penetrate in the future? For example, with INIU, we can try snacking products. The vision is to begin with juices and then move into other areas. Don't think big - think huge!

With these answers you'll have created your plan.

Research and test the market

You need to test your idea or product on as many different and diverse people as possible. Have your friends try the product and work out what they actually expect from your product or one like it. Listen to and learn from all the feedback

Even with a small test-group, if people want to buy it, you could have a market. Then it's time to widen the net, start testing larger focus groups.

Invest in market research to fine-tuning of your product and filter everything into your marketing plan.

Don't forget to research your competition. You will need to have a crystal-clear picture of what's happening in the market you hope to enter.

Where will your product be made?

Having validated your idea you need to turn it into a product. That means figuring out how and where to produce it.

Getting the recipes right, in our case, required working with professional nutritionists. Experts can help you balance ingredient combinations so they taste great and are good for you.

Based on our research we decided on flash freezing our juices to preserve as much of the original nutritional content as possible. The next step was to find the right facility capable of producing them. Avoid the temptation to try setting up your own production facility. The best bet is to find a reliable production facility, certified to handle food that can scale in production as your demands do.

Your unique brand

You're not just launching another drink or food item, you are launching a new brand with its own identity. It's important to start thinking about this early, and to trademark it so that no copycats can steal the results of your hard work.

Part of developing your brand identity is knowing what makes you different to (and hopefully better than) everything else out there. This differentiation will be vital for targeting your chosen consumers. Your brand, its story and potential are all part of what they're buying into. The way to introduce this story and your brand's personality to consumers is through marketing.

With limited resources you need an effective way to reach your target market. Work with influencers who truly believe in your product.  Treat your loyal customers well and nurture that special relationship so they become brand ambassadors, sharing your message over social media. It's true - there's no better marketing than word of mouth. However, look at options for PR, social media, blogging, YouTube, paid advertising and exhibitions too. Although your budget dictates a lot of what you can and can't do - it's best to consider every option and to understand its benefits, challenges and costs. Then you can make sensible, helpful decisions.


Your packaging is a consumer's first impression of your product and plays a vital role in making your brand recognisable. It needs to stand out from your competitors. Go to a wide variety of shops; study your competitors again. How your design will fit within and stand out once on the shelf? 

I strongly advise against DIY design. Get it done professionally; keep working with the designers until you're happy that it has your voice, style and individuality.

There are practical considerations: how the packaging will handle when delivered by post; and how the product will interact with the packaging?  You don't want packaging that's easily damaged, or quickly looks tatty on the shelf. If you're a health product then anticipate customers expecting the product and the packing to be environmentally conscious.

Can you answer the dragons den questions?

Work on your finances, particularly your pricing and cashflow. Understand all your costs and margins. You won't expect profit immediately, but you need to plan your financials as if your survival depends on it, because it does.

To attract retailers you need a clear USP. Leveraging customer feedback and demonstrating demand will improve your chances of bagging a retail contract. Retailers need to be confident that it will sell - not just take up valuable shelf space.

The retailer route takes resources; time to negotiate these contracts and the facilities to meet their volume demand. There may be other channels, including direct to consumers, which will get your product out there.

Maximise your team

Trying to do everything yourself will means you'll quickly find the struggle tough which can easily turn into overwhelm. The best way to put yourself into a position where you can scale up quickly is to utilise the experience, knowledge and innovation of other people.

Find team members who will be passionate about the brand, are highly skilled, and have the essential prerequisite for a new product: an incredible work ethic. Don't try to find a clone of yourself. You want to fill your skill gaps. For a new health product to succeed you need a strong, healthy team to develop a healthy brand and healthy profits.

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