Chapter 4: The First Step
Purpose, check. Idea, check.
The hard work was done - right? Not. Even. Close. I needed a product first!
It was a cold January in Minnesota as I started to make cereal recipe #72 in my kitchen as my wife rolled her eyes. I am by no means culinary gifted and the highest praise most critics can offer my cooking is "edible". As a one person, self-funded startup; I wanted to test different grain-free flours and ingredients and look at other products to save time and money with a co-manufacturing partner.
After a month of trial, error, and research in a kitchen covered in Cassava and Coconut flour; I finally found the recipe! My wife did a silent fist pump as I vacated our kitchen and headed to the professionals. I reached out to many different co-manufacturers to get time to test it. It turns out that there are only a handful of options and none of them were returning my calls. I didn't have packaging design, a website, or even a business email at the point. All I had was an idea. Finally, I looked into who makes the equipment that makes cereal - Buhler Group was "best-in-class", had a pilot plant to test recipes, they were located 25 minutes from house, and could make introductions to co-manufacturers! BINGO!
Meet my cereal making wizard and now friend, Eugene Dust! He has a lifetime of experience making cereal and is a fantastic person. We worked together to talk through the two different recipes I wanted to test and scheduled my first product trial. Feeling fairly confident that one of the recipes was going to work, I started thinking about branding.