General Environmental and demographic trends
Virginia is an excellent location for business firms. Its central position on the Atlantic coast provides excellent transport facilities in the region. There are 470 Food Processing firms existing in Virginia. The largest sectors are Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing firms. Beverage Manufacturing is also getting a major position in the industry. (Food processing in Virginia, 2008).
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The location and infrastructural facilities of Virginia provide an excellent business environment. Two-thirds of the U.S. population have reachability in the region. Availability of an efficient labor force with low costs and a good regulatory environment adds further advantages in the region.
National food industry trends
Investment in the food processing industry of Virginia since 1998 is counted as $1.92 billion along with 6100 new job opportunities. The processed food industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Virginia. Hispanic foods are also popular in the US food industry. The mainstream of Americans is very interested in traditional dishes. (Food processing in Virginia, 2008).
Ethnic food items get more acceptance in the Virginian food market. Ethnic frozen food of firms is capable of attracting customers on a large scale.
Local environmental and demographic trends
The Food Processing industry occupies 12% of Virginia’s total manufacturing employment and is the third largest sector in the economy. Virginia is considered as having higher economic growth with low business costs and standard quality of life. “Business costs are 15% lower and the cost of living is 29% lower, Business costs in Virginia are very low, particularly tax and energy costs, which are the seventh and ninth-lowest in the country. Overall, business costs in Virginia are 9% below the national average.” (Badenhausen, 2008).
Local food industry trends
The retail market of health food products is highly developed in West Virginia. The main reason is the changing attitude of the people towards their health concept. Foods and products helpful for improving health are more accepted by the customers. The retail business of health food products is highly developed by the differentiating strategy followed by firms. ((n.d), Food and Beverages West Virginia: Newest Articles).
Ethnic frozen food sales are showing a booming trend in the Virginia market. Italian cuisine is the most popular ethnic food in the region. Hispanic frozen items are also getting more acceptance in the market. Asian food of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Southern India is also getting more popularity in the country. African-American foods items also have a market share in the industry. In the ethnic Asian frozen food products, there is seeing a healthy food trend. Today’s consumers are looking for bolder flavors and more adventurous snack products.
Local competition; strengths and weaknesses
Major competitors in the West Virginia food industry market include Ariake, MillerCoors, Hershey, Lipton, Massimo Zanetti, Maple Leaf Bakery, Interbake Foods, Gatorade, Nestle, Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee, Prime Choice Foods, and Pepsi Bottling Group. These create a strong competitive environment in the industry. The value-added food industry is highly developed in Virginia with an investment of approximately $10 billion dollars. Industries such as dairy, poultry processing, seafood, muscle foods, fruits and vegetables, wines, beverages, etc are included in this category. (Virginia Food Processor Technical Assistance Program: Value-added product development, 2006).
In order to get existence with profitable growth in the industrial firms has to maintain diversity in their food products. By way of introducing exotic food products with having a variety of tastes and flavors, firms can get into existence in the market. Firms are also required to change their product ingredient favorable for meeting the health needs of society.
The objective of the business is to enter the market with a variety of food products. The supply of various exotic food in the region with accurate distribution channels is the basic objective of the business. It objects to get a market share of 25% within two years of the business with better profitability and growth rate.
The most competitive product for the exotic food industry in Virginia is fatless food products. From the research, it is found that Asian foods are highly accepted by customers and it becomes a core contributor to the profitable growth of the snacks food business. Companies engaged in the supply of Asian cuisine recorded double-digit growth for the year 2007. It is expected that the trend of Asian cuisine will remain constant for the long term. The demographic trend of Virginia is characterized by increasing ethnic diversity. These demographic trends will affect their purchasing trends, and thus there is a bright future for ethnic foods in the market. ((n.d), Food and Beverages West Virginia: Newest Articles).
Thus the firm can start their business with ethnic gourmet, which provides double-digit sales growth for firms in the Asian category.
The suitable location for starting the new business is West Virginians in which there is a high need for healthy food. Total investment in the food industry is approximately $ 6.8 billion in the year 2007. Virginia is considered America’s fattest and unhealthiest city. Increasing health problems in the region impose a lot of economic challenges in Virginia. The officials of West Virginia took much care in the people’s health problems and aiming to implement health reform legislation. Thus there is a high chance for fatless healthy products in the region. By introducing tasty and fatless Asian cuisine products, firms can get acceptance in the region. (W. Virginia: Town Shrugs off Poorest Health Ranking, 2008).
The product can be effectively introduced in the market through retailers. Retailers are highly effective for the profitable distribution process. Retailers are capable of promoting the product though aware the consumers of the specific features of the product and its availability in the market. By bypassing ingredient information to the customers, retailers can encourage the sale. It is considered an admirable intermediary for distributing the products to a wide geographical range of consumers with customer acceptance. (Distribution Channels: Introduction, 2008).
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The business and economic environment of Virginia is considered suitable for new business firms. The firm can start their new business in the food industry with delicious Asian cuisine which is considered as more healthy and tasty among the exotic food items. The location for the business is West Virginia where the need for healthy and fatless food products is highly increasing. Thus healthy and fatless Asian cuisine can be distributed all over the region through retailers and this will be effective for getting market share with profitable growth.
- Badenhausen, Kurt. (2008). Virginia: The Best State for Business. RAMW: Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
- Distribution Channels: Introduction. (2008). Bizhelp: Info Advice Finance.
- Food and Beverages West Virginia: Newest Articles. (n.d.). Directory M Articles.
- Food processing in Virginia. (2008). Virginia YesVirginia.org: Best State for Business.
- Virginia Food Processor Technical Assistance Program: Value added product development. (2006). Virginia Tech: Food Science and Technology.
- W. Virginia: Town Shrugs off Poorest Health Ranking. (2008). Fox News. com.