Make your AFH brand stand out

Brand is important – it differentiates – leverage your Brand to drive AFH growth

Vying for success in the highly competitive Away from Home (AFH) market means your business has to differentiate its products and services from those of your competitors.

The AFH channel environment has been disrupted, with shifting demographics, life styles, and purchasing dynamics changed increasing the need to differentiate to be relevant -your brand will be a critical factor for success

The value of brands in the AFH market is limitless; foodservice operators rely on brands they know, trust and who can deliver consistent quality products to meet their needs.

But how can you make your AFH offer stand out?

Developing your brand strategy from both a corporate and product perspective is the key. Take a look at the list of differentiators below and assess what your business’ point of difference should be to secure a sustainable, competitive advantage. 

    • Product or service differentiators 

Brand – product, service and corporate
Quality – product, service
Packaging – format, sustainability, eco-friendly, environmentally friendly
Value-added properties – nutrition, good for you, free from, safety, fit for purpose
Operators – serving and cooking methodology
E-commerce – on-line ordering, EDI, delivery platforms
Communications – digital & social media engagement
ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance practices
Service – DIFOT, CRM, other than product what else do you offer
Technology – Digital transformation and adoption of new technology
People – Upskilling of personnel to reflect commercial sophistication

A strong brand means a strong business

It’s inevitable; branded players are more likely to achieve long term success.  In essence, a strong brand will help your business to:

✓ Sustain price premiums over competitors
✓ Drive sales by attracting new customers
✓ Create barriers to entry
✓ Expand businesses into new categories and segments


Secrets of a successful AFH brand strategy 

Creating a credible AFH brand is no easy feat. It takes time, energy and attention to detail. The target audience is different; not the consumer but usually the operator of outlets where prepared food or beverages are served for consumption.

If you’re looking to build a brand strategy, these starter tips will put you on the right track:

1. Define your point of difference. Understand the players within and their requirements. After all, if you don’t know who you’re servicing, how can you determine the most welcomed point of difference for your product or service?
2. Know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Knowing who you’re competing against helps you to differentiate your offer.
3. Understand your customers. The AFH channel is information-poor so to understand customer needs, get closer to them and focus on what they want rather than what your product does.
4. Concentrate on quality. Remember, it’s not always about price; focus on product quality with a unique point of difference.
5. Invest in innovation. Differentiate your product or service by thinking more laterally – what new markets could you diversify into? And what new technologies could your product or service be enhanced with?

 Commercial success 

 Companies have successfully established their AFH brand platform and have had huge success by refining their product and service offerings.

Thinking laterally, understanding their customers’ needs and adapting has seen their AFH businesses and brand awareness flourish. Some examples include:

Unilever Food Solution – UFS Academy Online business tools and culinary videos

✓ Free on-line tools and information around trends, planning templates, recipes and cooking applications


5 Ways Foodservice Distributor – Corporate, Service Mantra and Product Brand Hierarchy

✓ Positioned as a family business supporting customers with an extensive product range, reliable service, competitive prices, and “…that little bit more.”


Compass Group Australia – Corporate, Service Mantra and Segment Brand Hierarchy

✓ Compass provides branded food and support services across multiple customer segments

The AFH channel has changed. If your business stands still, you’ll only be left behind. You need to question how you can leverage your Brand to ensure your product or services stand out, and how you can add value for your customers.

Constantly review and test your Brand proposition from a customer perspective and not your own. FoodServeX can help with this and offer other expert advice on the out of home market.

Want to know more visit and feel free to contact us for an initial no obligation chat.