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Developing Successful Value-Added Products

Developing Successful Value-Added Products

From Ideas to Profits

What if you could transform your ideas and agricultural commodities into new, commercially viable products? Learn how and explore opportunities during our free six-week, immersive workshop, From Ideas to Profits: Developing Successful Value-Added Products


Instructors Al and Catherine Renzi, who founded and sold a successful cheesemaking business, will guide you through the entire product development process, with topics ranging from formulating recipes to navigating legal requirements. At the end of the program, you’ll come away with a personalized roadmap for commercialization of your very own value-added product.

Program Overview

Learn how you can start with an idea and a commodity, and turn them into a viable product.

  • Knowing your market. Begin with an overview of the value-added products industry, along with strategies for finding your own niche in the market.
  • Creating a viable commercialization roadmap. Learn the steps involved in bringing a product to store shelves, from developing a strong business plan to determining feasibility with a P&L statement.
  • Navigating red tape with ease. Understand the legal, regulatory, packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements involved in product development, along with product liability and insurance needs.
  • Optimizing sales, maximizing profits. Learn about some of the instructors’ most effective marketing and sales strategies.
  • Getting the funding you need. Explore the landscape of grant and loan opportunities available to support everything from market research to purchasing equipment, and learn proven strategies for working with banks.
  • Building a powerful network. Hear from industry veterans about the essentials of developing a strong value-added product, and learn about the organizations and resources there to support you on your journey to success.

Program schedule

Our first cohort will begin on February 20, 2024. Here’s an overview of the curriculum.

  • Meet your fellow participants, and set goals for your time in the program.
  • Learn the definition of value-added products, get an overview of the market, and explore case studies from successful value-added producers.
  • Propose a value-added product that you’d like to work on during the workshop.
  • Initiate market research by visiting or talking to retail buyers, farmers markets, and farmers marketing similar or related products. This will help you assess the viability of your idea.
  • Learn about the business model that the instructors used at Yellow Springs Farm Artisanal Goat Cheese, and understand how it relates to commercializing a value-added product in general.
  • Define the ingredients required for your value-added product.
  • Determine the production methods you’ll be using, along with your processing and facility needs.
  • Refine your market research plan, and learn about how you can use USDA Value-Added Producer Grants for research funding.
  • Identify and outline the regulatory pathways to commercialization for your value-added product.
  • Review preliminary market research results from Week 2, and present P&L for your product (including cost of ingredients and potential selling price).
  • Introduce and refine label and packaging ideas.
  • Learn from another value-added producer during a guest presentation.
  • Develop an understanding of food safety requirements you’ll need to know to commercialize your product.
  • Review labels, packaging, regulatory flow charts, and other helpful materials.
  • Learn from another value-added producer during a guest presentation.
  • Determine the wholesale/retail selling price for your product.
  • Develop marketing and sales strategies for your value-added product.
  • Review your preliminary food safety plan.
  • Review labels, packaging, regulatory flow charts, and product P&L drafts.
  • Learn from another value-added producer during a guest presentation.
  • Review product plans with timelines for each workshop participant.
  • Learn about some of the organizations and other resources available to assist you with your value-added product.

Who’s Eligible?

Any agricultural producer is eligible to participate in this program; however, priority will be given to those doing business in Maryland, Delaware, D.C., and Virginia.

Program Instructors

Al and Catherine Renzi

 

Al and Catherine Renzi founded Yellow Springs Farm in 2001 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where they purchased a 19th-century dairy farm. They began producing and selling artisanal goat cheese; over the years, their cheeses won a number of awards and enjoyed distribution with Whole Foods Markets, along with numerous specialty stores and fine restaurants. After selling the farm in 2021, the Renzis are excited to use their expertise to support and empower other aspiring value-added producers.

How to Apply

Please fill out and submit the application form.

Participant Commitment

  • During the six-week program, you’ll be expected to attend weekly Zoom workshop sessions (each Tuesday at 12:00 p.m).
  • You’ll also be responsible for completing the weekly homework assignments.

MINI-GRANTs

Mini-Grants up to $5,000 are available for:
– Market Research and Validation of Target Market
– Customer Acquisition
– Product Development Initiatives
– Food Safety Classes
Eligibility
Value-added producers and companies with traction ($20,000 or more in yearly revenue) in Maryland and Delaware are eligible to apply for Mini-Grants. Participants may apply once for each of the categories. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a unique and differentiated product or service that incorporates an aspect of innovation or technology in its production, processing, distribution, or other element of the food supply system.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Award decisions will be made and funds will be available no later than three weeks following the receipt of a completed application.
Application Process
Applicants must submit Mini-Grant proposals by filling out the form at this link. Copy(ies) of quote(s), proposal(s), estimate(s), or any other supporting documents.

ACCESS TO SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (SMES)

CAIC offers access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who can offer authoritative advice based on their deep knowledge and experience in a specific area. See the ADVISORS page of this Web site to learn more about the SMEs who are available to CAIC participants.