Bringing a product to market:  Phase one

You know when you have an “ah ha” moment?  Maybe you’ve been wanting to do something for a long time, but just didn’t know where to start.  That was me, back in early spring of this year.  Since becoming a chef, I have always thought it would be kind of neat to have a food product on the market, but I just had no idea of where to start.  In the shower one day, I came up with the very raw concept of Wild Sea Salt.  As my husband says, the bathroom is where we all do our best thinking.  

I had this concept and went to the computer to try and research it.  Being an avid (professional) grocery shopper, I knew I needed a product that would not compete for space in the freezer or refrigeration isles, so it needed to be shelf stable.  It also needed to be something the general public would want to use everyday and, lastly, it needed to fulfill a need in the economy.  Walla!  Salt!

I don’t know if you have noticed, but in the stores these days, the salt shelf is becoming filled more and more with imported, high end products.  Upscale food shops are selling famous chef lines of flavored sea salts infused with wine, coffee, herbs, some smoked and some brined.  Did I come into the sea salt market a bit too late?  I started to get concerned about all the competition I had to face.  Then, it occurred to me.  My salt concept was very different.  I was making a salt seasoning for health, not really for flavor.  I was fullfilling a need in the economy because no one else was doing this kind of thing.  Naural sea salts are being labeled as healthy, but in a side by side comparison to my product, they just don’t stand up.

Now, how do I package it?  I needed to coral my vendors.  I have always felt strongly about buying american made products whenever possible.  So I started to research what states in our country made salt.  I was quite surprised to find that quite a few do!  After weeding through the choices, I settled in with alaea sea salt from Hawaii.  The problem I had was that true Hawaiian sea salt is very expensive.  To remedy this, the salt is sourced from Cargill Corp. in San Fransisco, CA and only the alaea clay is sourced from Hawaii.  The two are then blended together. This was much more cost effective for a tiny little start-up like mine.  Now I needed the seaweed.  That to me was a no-brainer because I already know about Maine Coast Seaweed Company and went directly to them.  As it turns out, there are many different companies in Maine harvesting seaweed so I did some shopping around and found that VitaminSea was the best choice.  They take their seaweed in Maine very seriously.  It is all hand harvested (very sustainably) and air dried.  Next to lobsters and wild blueberries, it’s the next highest grossing crop for the state.  I’m glad I can support the cause!  Finally, I needed the wild edibles.  I searched around and, knowing that Mountain Rose was highly respected in the herbalist community, I was delighted to find wild edibles among their manifest of goods.  My vendors were sourced and the materials were ordered.  But what about packaging??  

On the edge of your seat?  Keep reading this article in Phase Two.

© Wild Sea Salt established August 2015