Whether you are diabetic, on a healthy diet or just picky about what you eat, speciality foods are fast becoming a way of life for many consumers and are big business for the right kind of investor.
Speciality foods come in many shapes and sizes, from diabetic food stores and vegetarian-only shops to gourmet food palaces. But it is the increasing demand for niche foods and healthy alternatives which is driving sales of speciality foods in the UK & Ireland.
From 1996 to 2004 the number of people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes increased from 1.4 million to 1.8 million, with experts predicting this number to top three million by the end of the decade. This means that the market for diabetes-related products, such as specialist food stores, is also growing sharply.
Potential franchisees can therefore aim to capitalise on this burgeoning sector by taking on a franchise in a diabetic food store chain, specialising in sugar-free foods, pills, remedies, diabetic books and gifts. Such stores are, of course, highly niche, but the steady increase not only in people suffering from the condition but also the surge in the popularity of healthy, sugar-free foods, means a franchise in this area is well worth considering.
However, franchisees looking to branch out into the health food area, gourmet food sector or even niche areas such as diabetic food stores will obviously need good business acumen to succeed in what can be a tough industry. Start up costs for certain stores, such as a gourmet food outlet, will undoubtedly be high. Franchisees will often have to commit themselves fully to their new franchise, coming up with innovative ideas to keep the tills ringing and shoppers coming in. Yet there is also a big market for speciality foods, so a hard-working businessperson with the right franchise can open up doors to a highly successful money-making scheme.
Nevertheless, there are certain factors which need to be taken into consideration when considering a speciality food franchise, such as location.
One of the most important aspects of the franchisee's decision-making process, the location of your store or outlet can determine instantly how successful or unsuccessful your venture might be. Open up a diabetic shop in an area with a large elderly population and you increase you target consumer base instantly. However, open up a gourmet food franchise in an area already populated with cut price takeaways and supermarkets and you may not do quite so well.
One of the most important skills facing anyone thinking of starting a specialist food franchise is the ability to keep sales high and customers coming in. With a niche market this can often be tricky, but with demand for specialist food increasing year-on-year as health and diet become evermore important in modern culture, hardworking franchisees with a good business head will certainly be able to benefit.