Final Marketing Plan for Natural Machines' Foodini D Food Printer
Today, professional kitchen users are searching for innovative solutions to the challenges that are inherent in the food service industry, including most especially ways to prepare foods that are tasty and nutritious in an efficient fashion. In response to this growing demand, a number of manufacturers are promoting three dimensional (3D) food printers as a viable solution to these needs. The purpose of this paper is to present a final marketing plan for Natural Machines 3D food printing device, the Foodini Pro. To this end, the paper first provides a brief but comprehensive description of this product followed by a SWOT analysis and discussion concerning the current and future target market for the Foodini Pro. In addition, a competitive analysis and positioning assessment, a summary of the secondary research as well as the findings that emerged from primary research concerning this product. Finally, an analysis of the Foodini Pros optimal price, place and promotion is followed by a composition plan presentation.
Three-dimensional food printers use the same basic technologies that are used to create other tangible articles, including the layered manner in which materials are deposited, but they substitute different types of food products for the thermoplastic materials that are used in other applications. Although many 3D food printers that are currently on the market are limited to producing foods that consist only of paste-like ingredients such as chocolate and batters (Lansard, 2021), there are some other models that are available such as Spain-based Natural Machines (hereinafter alternatively the company) Foodini Pro 3D food printing meal assembly device that provide a far wider range of possibilities by using real food ingredients (Karidis, 2020). For instance, according to the companys co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO), Lynette Kucsma, the Foodini Pro is an innovative tool that enables chefs to create unique dishes from food scraps that otherwise would be tossed [which] also aids in minimizing scraps even before they are produced (as cited in Karidis, 2020, p. 37).
As noted above, unlike its competitors 3D food printers that rely solely on paste-based foods, the Foodini Pro is capable of transforming fresh foods into precisely portioned, shaped and formed meals that provide kitchen professionals with the ability to create unique dishes that can be easily duplicated or customized as the need arises. In this regard, Karidis (2020) emphasizes that, The whole point is to be able to customize manufacturing, even down to the ingredients. You print the precise amount of food you need and no more (p. 37). The sleek but expensive Foodini Pro is depicted in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1. Representative Foodini Pro
Although the market for 3D food printers in general and Foodini Pros in particular has been growing rapidly in recent years, there are some significant challenges that are involved in expanding the existing target market and making these devices more affordable and these issues are discussed further below.
SWOT Analysis and Target Market
A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of Natural Machines Foodini Pro is presented below; strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company while opportunities and threats are external.
Strengths: Ease of use; precise portioning; customizable ingredients; wide range of functionalities; ready availability; first-mover.
Weaknesses: Comparatively high price between $4,000 and $6,900 per unit; in addition, there is potential consumer reluctance to embrace new food-based technologies that require an inordinate amount of time to learn.
Opportunities: Rapidly aging population that will need assistance in meal preparation and additional easy-to-chew foods; increased interest in health foods by mainstream consumers.
Threats: Downturns in the global economy; increased competition.
At present, Natural Machines target market for the Foodini Pro is professional kitchen users, but the company has plans to expand this market over the next several years to include ordinary consumers who are looking for a better approach to food preparation at home. For example, according to Natural Machines co-founder and CMO:
We believe that in 10 to 15 years, 3D food printers will become a common kitchen appliance in both home and professional kitchens, similar to how an oven or a microwave are common appliances in kitchens today. So, we will target both professional kitchen users and home kitchen users. Currently, we are focused on professional kitchen users. (as cited in About Foodini, 2021, para. 2)
In fact, the marketing professionals at Natural Machines may not have to wait another decade or so to reach this new target market, and the company has already made significant progress in identifying other food-related markets, including increased sales to food manufacturers, restaurant chains, research organizations and educational institutes for its Foodini Pro product (Karidis, 2020). Taken together, it is clear that Natural Machines has a world-class food service product…Journal (Silver, 2021).
All of the above-listed publications would be an appropriate venue for advertising the companys Foodini Pro, but there are some other cost-effective avenues available including social media platforms that should be considered as well as discussed further below.
It is reasonable to suggest that, like microwave ovens, most average consumers would like to purchase a Foodini Pro based on its numerous cost-saving and convenient features with the comparatively high price of the model representing the primary constraint. Although economies of scale will gradually reduce the current price just as with the microwave oven, it is vitally important for the company to promote its current offering in the most cost-effective fashions possible. At virtually any other time in modern American history, in-person demonstrations of the Foodini Pro at venues such as state fairs and food service conventions would be highly effective given that the device essentially sells itself once consumers witness it in action, but this strategy will likely be less effective unless and until the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is controlled. In the interim, the company should heavily invest in global social media platform promotions using Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram and others. A full-time employee should be assigned to answer consumer questions and monitor feedback in the event problems are identified. In addition, pilot testing of television commercials that target specific ZIP codes could also help raise consumer awareness of and demand for the Foodini Pro. If this promotion strategy is successful, it can then be expanded to other regional markets.
The growing demand for things that make life easier is likely due in part to the multiple existential threats that are currently arrayed against humankind which has motivated many consumers to make their lives as good as possible while the getting is good. The research showed that one such device that holds significant promise for the future is Natural Machines Foodini Pro which was predicted by the 1960s cartoon, The Jetsons, but which is now a commercial reality. The research also showed that the company enjoys a number of strengths and marketing opportunities for this product but these were countered by several weaknesses and threats. The secondary and primary research showed that the constraints to increasing sales of this product were shown to be consumer reluctance to embrace high-tech kitchen appliances and, most especially, the current high price of the product. These constraints, however,…
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