My family is very interested in bottling and selling a sauce that we feel will be very successful in the Asian/Filipino market. However, we are not sure how to begin our business. Our plan is to bottle our sauce and give to local Filipino restaurant owners in order to get a feel of how popular our sauce will be before going through the entire processes of bottling & selling. Of course, we know that customers will love our sauce over the others but is this legal or wise? Any tips or book suggestions that can help us in starting out will be very appreciated
–Sharon, San Diego
Producing a successful hot sauce is 10 percent development and making the product and 90 percent marketing that product to consumers. Step one would be finding a contract packer (copacker) to make your sauce–do not attempt to make it in your own kitchen. Yes, you can make small batches and test it with restaurant owners, but that process has some problems. First, many restaurant owners and chefs feel that their own sauces are the best in the world and would not welcome those made by others. Second, they may not trust a sauce they would consider homemade. Third, restaurants are not places to sell sauces, so why even bother with them? If you want opinions about your sauces, go to local flea markets, set up a stand, and give away small samples served over plain white rice. Try to get feedback from Asian Americans. If you decide to manufacture the sauce through a copacker, canvass Asian market owners and try to find a distributor that will sell the sauce to these markets. You have picked a niche that is not easy to market to, as the Asian sauce market is very competitive. You will need to have a unique selling proposition and a label that appeals to Asian Americans. Good luck!