An early stage Illinois biotechnology company was in the process of developing a portable, point-of-use pathogen detection device to enhance food safety throughout all facets of the food processing and production industries. However, different segments of the food processing industry placed variable emphasis on the importance of food safety monitoring. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the needs, willingness to pay, and current solutions available to the specific customer segments, the client contracted Ground Floor Partners to conduct primary market research to gain greater insight into these various groups in order to better position the pathogen detection device upon its entrance into the marketplace.
We first designed and conducted an in-depth survey with respondents that worked in meat packing (beef, pork, etc.) plants, poultry farmers, dairy processors, vegetable growers and processors, fisheries, grain and seed millers, organic foods and the canned and frozen food industries. In addition, we also set out to personally interview experts that included: USDA food safety personnel, FDA food safety personnel, Department of Homeland Security, food import specialists, food processing plants that handle substantial amounts of imported food stuffs, food transportation companies, large scale (corporate owned) farmers, and meat packing plants. This work was reinforced with secondary market research that addressed trends in food safety management. In order to better propose an ideal market positioning for the client, we also assessed the competitive environment with regard to current and on-the-horizon food safety solutions.
We interviewed approximately twenty food safety experts and were able to attract a strong number of respondents across all food processing industries within our survey. Thanks to the surveys, interviews and secondary research, Ground Floor Partners was able to deliver a report that addressed the current food safety measures and needs within seven separate processing industries. Based upon this analysis, we were able to rank each food industry segment based on their willingness to adopt greater safety, regulatory oversight, current needs and existing competitors. This report suggested that the client’s best market opportunities existed within meat processors, vegetable/ fruit processors, poultry, fish/ seafood and organic growers. A final 30-page report was delivered to the client that outlined our recommendations and provided next steps for the client to pursue. The client has continued down the regulatory approval path and has been in talks with a food operations management software company to integrate their device into the software so as to enable continuous monitoring within food processing plants.