Food Business Accelerator – Can Someone Explain This To Me?

About the Episode

Getting a new product to market takes passion, vision, funding, and answers to lots of questions. Elena Rosenblum shares lessons learned from her work at Union Kitchen, a food business accelerator company that helps set up new companies for long-term success. Topics include using the lean approach in the F&B industry, trends, logistics, creating a scalable product, incremental innovation, and overviews of successful stories from entrepreneurs who have made the leap to regional and national operations.

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In this Episode

1:20 What is a food business accelerator, and how is it different from a venture capitalist or angel investor?
3:00 What is a lean startup, and how does Union Kitchen apply lean development ideas?
6:20 How does Union Kitchen apply lean development in the food and beverage industry?
7:35 Why is the lean approach necessary? What’s an alternative to the lean approach?
12:58 What elements of a business plan need to be designed, and what questions need to be answered?
15:28 What is customer discovery?
17:52 What is the biggest trend in the food and beverage industry? Is it a trend toward more functional products meeting a specific need?
21:44 What’s more difficult to create – something that tastes good or something that’s healthy?
23:07 What are the basics of food science and product formulation that a business owner needs to know to create a scalable product?
28:56 What are the challenges of dealing with cold chain logistics and frozen or refrigerated foods?
31:20 What patterns do people have when shopping in grocery stores? Do consumers make decisions consciously or are they driven by subconscious motivations?
36:13 What are the differences between incremental versus exponential innovation?
39:58 How is customer discovery done in different channels of the food and beverage industry?
41:59 How open are consumers to new products?
44:50 What are the different stages of growth in scaling to a company worth $100 million?
47:28 What are the differences in using shared kitchens rather than co-packers to produce food and beverage products?
50:26 What is a shared kitchen, and how does it work? Why is this important to a lean approach?
51:33 Success Stories: Snacklins by Samy Kobrosly, Compass Coffee by Michael Haft, Caribe Juice by Luis Solis, MasPanadas by Margarita Womack
58:10 Are there any shortcuts in the marketing world for food and beverage products?
1:00:00 Is there a way to measure the volume of repeat customers versus new customers?
1:03:03 What investment mechanisms does Union Kitchen use to invest in new companies?

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Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • MVP – minimum viable product
  • CPG brands – consumer packaged goods

Meet Our Guest

Elena Rosenblum

Elena Rosenblum

Vice President at Union Kitchen

As a member of the senior management team at Union Kitchen, a food business accelerator and investment fund in Washington, DC, Elena Rosenblum oversees strategic initiatives, including the Accelerator program, consulting, and grants, as well as the operations of the company’s multiple shared production sites.

In this capacity, Elena has worked closely with emerging CPG brands on creating products that meet market demand, building sustainable business models, and scaling effectively. She sits on the board of numerous emerging food and beverage brands and serves as a strategic advisor.
In her previous roles, Elena advised private companies, nonprofit agencies, and government entities on how to foster entrepreneurship. She graduated Cum Laude from the College of William & Mary with a BA in Economics.

Location Location: Washington, DC

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