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Annette's Blog

Using QR Codes for Your Food Business

QR codes have enormous potential to customize your marketing.  It can be a way to connect directly with your customers and keep them engaged - in short, you can use them to build customer loyalty.  QR codes can also be used to connect people with your Facebook page, your web site, and even add them to your e-mail list.

Want to know more about QR codes and how to use them effectively?  See these articles below:

What is a QR Code?

If the term "QR Code" is new to you, take some time to read this article on  It gives a clear explanation of how QR Codes were developed and how they can be used.

Ready to get started?

Take a few minutes to read this blogpost available through Ad Age.  It will give you a good outline of the do's and don'ts of using QR Codes.

How do people use their QR Codes?

If you're wondering exactly how customers may make use of a QR code, read this Ad Age article below to get a sense of their usefulness as a marketing tool.

Want to know more?

Contact Annette Dunlap at

Estimating Sales & Marketing Potential for Your Food Business

If you struggle to figure out what your market and sales potential are, you may want to check out the "Survey of Buying Power," issued by Sales and Marketing Management magazine.  The latest available statistics are from 2009, and you can get them here:

Now what?

So, of course the next question is, what do you do with these numbers? 

Here's one suggestion: We know from NASFT that total sales of specialty foods in 2010 was $70.32 B, of which $55.92B came from direct retail sales.  Since the data on the above web page reports on retail sales, I would match the $55.92 B with the total retail sales for food and beverage for the U.S., which is in excess of $617 B.

Specialty food sales represent 9% of total retail food and beverage sales. So, for example, if I want to know that dollar amount in Raleigh-Cary, I multiply that MSA's total sales of $2.05B by 9% to get $185.7M.  How much of that slice of pie (if your target is Raleigh-Cary) would you like to capture?  What's your strategy to get there?

What about the other $14.4B?

If you do not sell through traditional retail channels, how can you use these stats?  The difference between the $55.92B sold at retail and total specialty food sales of $70.32B is $14.4B, or 79.5% of total specialty food sales.  If we estimate retail specialty food sales in Raleigh-Cary at $185.7M, then the remaining estimated dollar value of the Raleigh-Cary specialty food market is $47.8M(=((185.7M/.795) - 185.7M)).  How much of this would you like to capture?  What's your strategy to get there?

You can work this computation for any other MSA or a combination of MSAs.  The purpose of the exercise is to give you a firm number that you can shoot for.  I have always found that if you fix a dollar amount in your head as target sales, then you can develop strategies and tactics to help you get to that number.

This analysis only begins to scratch the surface, as you need to go deeper into the demographic statistics to get a feel for the total population and how many people are likely to buy your product. (For example, since the typical age group that purchases specialty foods is between 25-34, there are 165,371 in the Raleigh-Cary area according to the 2010 census.  If you even captured 1% of this as a potential market, you would have 1653 customers.  If you want to gross $100,000 annually, each of those 1653 needs to buy an average of $60 of product.)

Again, these numbers are estimates, but I hope they give you a feel for ways to think about strategically marketing your product.

Want to know more?

Contact Annette Dunlap at

Ron Fish - Asst. Director - AgriBusiness Development
919-733-7887 ext. 219 fax: 919-733-0999
e-mail address: