At the end of February, the team were coming to the end of the time we’d been given by our organisations to develop a business case for The Good Food Bag. We wanted to do one final experiment which brought us as close to trading as possible, so we decided to set up a market stall for the day in Ashton Market. We were testing whether people would buy The Good Food Bag, their perceptions of the product, and test packing the bags in a production environment.
In the run up to the day we had to plan the stall and the logistics for the day. We had to order the food and packaging and come up with a plan to get our bags to the market including storage to ensure the quality of the product was maintained and met all food safety standards.
The day before the market it was all hands to deck to set up a production environment. Once the food had been collected the team got to packing. I think we all underestimated the time it would take to pack the bags but learnt some valuable lessons along the way which would help to ensure we offer the best quality product to customers. At the end of a long day we had all bags packed and safely stored for the night, the refrigerated van was ready for pick up in the morning and the fridge company called to say the fridge was delivered to the market.
There was a slight hitch when we arrived at the market in the morning with our fresh bags as the fridge was nowhere to be seen. A few frantic calls and chats with the market manager uncovered it had gone to the wrong venue! However, we worked with the brilliant Ashton Market staff to quickly come up with a temporary solution until the fridge arrived and we could set the stall up. Phew, panic over – but doesn’t the stall look great:
We engaged with 25 customers on the day selling 10 bags with the surplus being donated to That Bread and Butter Thing so there was no waste.
There was some great learning about how we present the product – some customers thought it was a take away bag with the food already cooked and weren’t interested until they spoke to us and found out it was a meal kit – this means we need to be better at presenting what the product is quickly, so we don’t lose customers. A few customers mentioned the product was expensive – placed in the market where customers can access cheap vegetables, meat and fish this was true, so any future experiments need to be focused around the benefits of convenience and comparisons where customers’ only alternatives are expensive local shops or takeaways. Finally, the other comments we got were around food preferences – we learnt some of the ways we can make sure the product is as flexible as possible, advising customers how they can amend the recipe to meet their tastes e.g. leaving out spices to make the curry milder.
All in all it was a great learning day, with a conversion rate of 40% we think it was a success and we got some positive feedback from customers after they had taken the meal home, showing we are still on to a winning idea.
Feedback from customers:
‘The recipe for the Cottage Pie was gorgeous and my mum and I really enjoyed cooking and eating it.’
‘keep doing what you’re doing because you’re onto, and executing, a cracking idea and I can’t wait to see what you can do.’
So what happens next?
We’ve done tonnes of testing, tweaking the model along the way based on the results and customer feedback, and we still feel The Good Food Bag is a great idea. So; the next step is taking the leap of faith and launching a pilot. Based on the relationships we’ve built along the way, and the characteristics of the area, we’ve decided to do this in Greater Manchester. We are coming up with a plan right now which we can’t wait to share with you and we are looking to raise funding for the pilot, so any organisations interested in supporting us please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org