From the Expert: Launching a Food and Beverage Brand

From the Expert: Launching a Food and Beverage Brand

Industry expert Lauren Pradhan offers three things to consider before taking your CPG brand to store shelves.

In her dozen years at General Mills, Lauren Pradhan rose through the ranks to senior marketing manager and then served as founding executive director of Minneapolis-based food and ag accelerator Grow North, before leaving in 2020 to start her own consultancy helping founders build food and beverage brands. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) are some of the most challenging startups to grow, she says. Pradhan shares three factors that entrepreneurs should know before they jump into the CPG world: 

  1. Account for costs. A lot of CPG products start at the farmers market, and the founders often don’t take into account discounting, waste, distribution, and manufacturing, resulting in a price that is too low to scale. 
  2. Get out of the kitchen. A food entrepreneur needs to literally get out of the kitchen and make time to sell and build the business. This can mean hiring staff or moving to a co-manufacturer. 
  3. Go beyond social media. In this day and age, consumers expect companies to take positions on social issues, but if one of your customers asks you face-to-face why you are taking a position, do you have a genuine answer?

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