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Food Manufacturing Advice--lowcarb variety
January 12, 2013 12:14 PM   Subscribe

So--IRL I am a busy psychologist with a busy practice and not a lot of time. In internet circles--of the lowcarb eating community variety, I have a lovely rep as the creator of a really nice low carb flour substitute for baking. Although I have made my recipe available online (requires some specialty ingredients), folks are enthusiastic enough about this concoction that they are encouraging me to go into production and to sell it. I haven't a clue what that would involve, and would likely be more interested in remaining the creative end who partners with someone who can execute the production stuff. What are the things I should be thinking about here? My questions are:

1--how do I find an entity that would be interested in this.
2--how do I maintain some proprietary rights--recipes, I know, are not copyrightable, yes?
3--what am I not considering? Is this foolish to think of doing?

Any and all advice sincerely welcomed.
posted by chaoscutie to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
IAAL, IANYL. I do some trade secret and trademark work.

You don't have any intellectual property rights in the recipe. Recipes are not copyrightable but are protectable as trade secret e.g. Coca-Cola. However, you can't have a trade secret because you have made the recipe public. Someone could start up a factory right now with your recipe and you would have nothing to say about it.

If you have a special name you like to call this flour substitute, you could try trademarking it and then selling it. Trademarks are for things used in commerce, so you can't just trademark the name and do nothing with it.

Since you have no IP interest in the property, what you would be shopping around would be a recipe you found on the internet. Yes, you thought of the recipe, but it's the same thing since you made it public. The only possible reason for a consumer to buy the mix instead of making it themselves is if you could sell it more cheaply that a person could make themselves at home.

So, there really isn't anything in it for you to shop this recipe around to producers. If you want to be the creative person regarding recipes for someone else to sell, you need to make your next recipe idea a secret.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:34 PM on January 12, 2013


Ok--thanks so much-that answers the proprietary rights part--which is fine with me--however, people would like to buy my mix already assembled rather than have to order all the specialty ingredients themselves. I would like to provide that-- So anyone who has info on food production, come on in!
posted by chaoscutie at 12:53 PM on January 12, 2013


Watch episodes of shark tank / dragons den that have people doing food pitches and the follow ups to successfull ones. Production seems to be the easy part, as there's plenty of manufacturers who can do it. Marketing and distribution is the hard part. By hard we mean able to get it into the consumer's hands at a profit. Also when you finish proving the viability of the market, another larger company can come in and crush you.
posted by Sophont at 3:10 PM on January 12, 2013


I suggest you try to talk to a food company that is doing something similar but not in the same category to see if they can give you some advice. The best example I can think of is Soo Foo. They mix various types of rice, beans, and grains together into a delicious mix. As far as I know they are still a single product company (but with more flavors coming soon). Almost certainly their role is marketing and they have a 3rd party do the mixing and packaging. I presume they might manage the supply chain themselves. They seem to have had some good success getting into a number of healthy food grocers (I would guess that maybe they did some in-store demos and/or farmers markets to get started).
posted by Dansaman at 8:26 PM on January 12, 2013


Can all of the specialty ingredients be ordered from the same supplier? If so, maybe you could work something out with that supplier. Or maybe getting touch with the folks at Bob's Red Mill?
posted by dizziest at 8:21 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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