Flip Presents: Chris Cage of Greenbelly Meals

Flip Presents: Chris Cage of Greenbelly Meals

Food Business Success Tips

In the food business, there's a lot of prep work to be done before your business is ready to serve. For example, you've got equipment, food handlers permits, business licensing and insurance, food costs, as well as designing the perfect menus and product packaging. To help make running your business easier, we asked a few of our seasoned FLIP customers to share some of their challenges and food business success tips.

This story is about one man's dream to backpack around the world and his innovative solution to the lack of variety for on-the-go meals.

Greenbelly Meals: A Food Business Success Story

Chris Cage, owner and founder of Greenbelly Meals, decided he was done with corporate America. He spent years working as an accountant, but he preferred spending his time traveling and biking around the world.

“I quit my job, shipped my bike to New Zealand and biked across it,” Cage said. “I backpacked 10,000 miles through Asia, taught English in Thailand, and volunteered at an orphanage in Cambodia.”

“I came back to the states and spent 6 months hiking the 2,185 miles of the Appalachian trail,” he said.

Problem Identified

Cage continued on his treks around the globe and one day, during a bike ride, he realized that he was burning around 5,000 calories per day.

“That’s when I thought about food. I wanted a lightweight, ready to eat, high caloric backpacking meal,” he said. “Most of these types of meals are dehydrated and freeze dried, which means they require boiling water and bulky equipment to prepare.”

Hard Work Pays Off

Cage developed Greenbelly Meals in 2015. He ran a Kickstarter campaign to see if there was a market for his product. Lucky for him, there was, and Greenbelly Meals officially launched later that year.

“I launched Greenbelly out of my mom's kitchen as a non-cook backpacking meal. We have grown fast, been featured in everything from Fast Company to Backpacker Magazine, and have operated from 7 different countries—I work from my laptop,” he said.

Tips on Food Business Success

For those who are interested in starting up a food business, Cage offers a few of his tips for success:

  • Understand food production laws & regulations, or partner with someone who is already established in the industry and has extensive knowledge
  • Invest in marketing
  • Focus on shelf life
  • Invest in packaging
  • Purchase food business liability insurance

“If you [your product] look like crap, people are going to think you are [your product is] crap.” –Chris Cage, Founder, Greenbelly Meals.  

Visit Greenbelly’s website for more.

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