Learning where your Product is Valued

With Nom Nom Not Dairy, our original product plan was two-fold – consumer 450g bags for people to make a batch at home, and 1.5kg bags for cafes to make to sell. The consumer bags have been selling well, both D2C online and via stockists such as delis and farm shops. But the 1.5kg bags haven’t sold anywhere near as well to cafes.

Our original thoughts were that a baking mix would save time on making it from scratch themselves, and would save money on buying the brownies pre-made. Turns out that middle ground doesn’t really exist. Even though the mix only took 5 mins to make and, on paper, was cheaper than either making yourself or buying in, we still had a big problem with getting people to try the mix in the first place. The end product was great – the brownies are delicious – but we aren’t selling brownies, we are selling a packet mix, so in this case the product-market match wasn’t perfect.

What we ended up doing was thinking about our original mission – baking that is better for the planet than the norm – and how we could serve that. Through thinking about innovation in packaging, we eventually realised that the best way to minimise waste was to go through a BYO shop – a shop where what they sell is the contents of the packs, not the packs themselves.

We started off by working with a single BYO shop in Cambridge to try and validate the idea. Given the possible margins, and probably the fact that no-one was competing in the market, we quickly validated and pushed sales to other BYO shops, and we now have both repeat sales and inbound sales requests in this region.

But this is about more than just business strategy. For us, this is a journey, learning both where to compete, where we are valued, and how to find out where you are valued.

This kind of learning can be carried across to other areas of life to find where your unique product is valued. Each of us have a unique “product” that we can offer. Although I have been critical of skill stacking in the past, I still think that trying to define your unique product, and being the best at that product, is a valuable

Think about what your core mission is, and be open to alternatives. Thinking about your mission is much easier said than done, but it is something that you can construct and change at any time – your “mission” does not have to be the same throughout time.

In fact, a changing mission over time is incredibly useful for constructing a narrative. As we at Nom Nom Not Dairy realise where we are able to add value and help people the most, this shapes our business’ narrative, and builds a story that people get engaged with.

The message here is don’t be afraid to change. Admitting that you were wrong – whether that is in a product market fit like us, or in trying to find your mission and your unique product – is the way to improve. Progress doesn’t occur without change.

If you want to buy some vegan baking mixes, check out our shop. If you are a deli, farm-shop, or BYO place, check us out here.