NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap offers resources that agribusiness owners and food entrepreneurs can use to grow and manage their business. Annette is available for free one-on-one consultations and can assist business owners with financial and market planning through the agribusiness development section. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers several free and low-cost services that your food business can use to grow in the coming year. From marketing advice to food-safety inspections, I encourage you to take advantage of the help the department can provide. In the video above, I outline 13 of those services:
1. Goodness Grows in North Carolina: The Goodness Grows in North Carolina program is the official marketing program of the department. Take advantage of this free program to reach buyers and customers for your products. Membership in this program gives you access to many of the department’s outreach opportunities.
2. Retail Marketing: The Marketing Division offers retail assistance to help you get your products on the shelves of specialty foods and grocery stores.
3. Restaurant Marketing: Through special events such as the Best Dish in N.C., Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series and others, the department helps promote local food and food products in restaurants.
4. Specialty Foods: Trade shows are a great way to get your product in front of buyers and consumers. Consider joining the N.C. Specialty Food Association. The association plans several large events across the state annually, including regional Flavors of Carolina shows.
5. International Marketing: North Carolina exports more than $3 billion in agricultural products each year. Why not have your food business be a part of those international markets? The International Trade Office can assist you in promoting your products globally and help you understand and comply with food regulations in other countries.
6. Agribusiness Development: Brush up on your business skills and network with other food business owners. The department offers several free and low-cost food business workshops and conferences throughout the year.
7. Agritourism: If you’re a farmer looking for new ideas to cushion your bottom line, consider opening your farm to agritourism. From hosting weddings to pick-your-own produce, there are plenty of opportunities to share your farm with the public.
8. Meat-Based Products: Maybe you’ve considered opening a meat or processing facility. Our Meat and Poultry Inspection Division provides information on what you need to know about opening a meat or poultry processing business.
9. Property and Construction: Did you know the department’s Property and Construction Division can assist you in drawing up blueprints for a new food processing kitchen or meat processing facility?
10. Food and Drug Protection: Processed foods, seafood and dairy businesses each have their own food safety regulations. The Food and Drug Protection Division can help you determine if your product can be produced in a home kitchen, and also provides home kitchen inspection.
11. Agricultural Review: Stay in touch with N.C. agricultural news, upcoming workshops and other free or low-cost events designed to help boost your food business by subscribing to the department’s publication, Agricultural Review, and signing up for email notifications.
12. Agricultural Statistics: Keep up-to-date with current information about N.C. agricultural production, and learn more about sourcing local N.C. products.