Is Your Food Business a Social Enterprise?

If you run a profit-making organisation, you probably assume you don’t fit the criteria of a social enterprise. However, generating profits doesn’t necessarily prevent you from being categorised as a social enterprise. While a strict definition may require you to reinvest your profits into your organisation or into specific causes, many profit-making firms have social aspects to their operations. 

Providing your business incorporates an environmental or social mission into its operations, it can be classed as a socially motivated and advertised as such. 

The role of social enterprises in business has grown in recent years. Many start-ups and SMBs have been launched solely due to the founders’ desire to enact some form of societal change. Perhaps more cynically, some larger brands have incorporated social responsibilities into their operations in a bid to appeal to their target audience. 

Regardless of their motivations, it’s clear that businesses with a social aspect are capable of ‘doing good’. In fact, millions of pounds are generated for environmental, societal and financial causes each year in the UK alone. 

The food industry is particularly well-placed when it comes to implementing change. With various campaigns designed to eliminate food poverty and increase the accessibility of food, food companies can enact change by incorporating social campaigns into their business. Of course, partnering with a top food marketing agency to promote your social enterprise is a great way to publicise your company, increase brand awareness and gain customer loyalty too. 

Give Your Brand a Purpose

A brand purpose is a key part of your company’s persona and an element that could substantially increase your commercial success. Studies show that brands with a purpose are expected to grow significantly faster than those without. As consumers are becoming more aware of environmental societal and financial issues, they are actively seeking out brands that are committed to helping these causes. 

As a food company, there are a variety of options when it comes to incorporating a brand purpose into your company’s ethos. You may want to choose a cause that relates directly to your business, such as donating a percentage of your products to food banks or a portion of your profits to charities that provide food to the homeless. 

Alternatively, you may decide to support a cause which isn’t directly related to the industry in which you operate. The issue of climate change has become particularly mainstream this year, so many brands are committing to reducing their use of plastic. Although this may not directly relate to the food industry, this could be an effective way for your brand to become more socially-focussed, while making an authentic contribution to an important environmental issue. 

Choosing a cause that’s close to your heart can give you the motivation to grow your business more quickly than you originally intended. However, it’s important to think carefully about which social causes align with your brand. Before announcing your intention to support a particular endeavour, consider whether it will strike a chord with your target audience, how you can monitor your contributions and the potential for positive PR. 

Launching your own charitable enterprise

Some companies choose to launch their own charitable organisations in a bid to become more socially motivated. Indeed, this can be a great way of showcasing your commitment to a particular issue. Furthermore, establishing a charitable organisation that’s linked to your business could be a savvy way to structure your organisation.

However, launching and managing this type of endeavour requires a considerable number of resources. With different regulations and legislation applicable to companies and charities, you’ll need to be sure you can facilitate the day-to-day operational requirements of these two distinct entities. 

For more companies, supporting established charities is the fastest and easiest way to incorporate a brand purpose into their business. When you partner with a reputable non-profit organisation, you can contribute to their efforts and enact meaningful change without taking on the burden of managing or running their operations. With more flexibility to support a range of organisations, you can even vary the causes you support when you choose to partner with established non-profits, rather than launching your own charity. 

Launching a Brand with Purpose

If you’re in the start-up phase of your operations, now is an ideal time to establish your brand purpose. Branding should always take place prior to a company launch, so identifying your social motivations before you start trading will give you the momentum you need to hit the ground running. With the potential to contribute to outstanding causes and grow your business, having a brand purpose isn’t just beneficial; in today’s climate, it’s essential. 

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