New Venture Advisors launched the MarketSizer® and HubSizer® Toolsite earlier this year to enable anyone to conduct preliminary assessments of various types of food system infrastructure. The results allow users to refine their food business concepts and due diligence plans.

The Toolsite has been used by more than 1,000 visitors since March 2018. We surveyed a few dozen users to understand how well the tools are working to inform their strategies for potential food system innovations like food hubs, commercial kitchens, rural grocery food hubs, and other enterprises. The majority found the Toolsite helpful in clarifying their envisioned food business, and that their planning efforts will have a measurably stronger work plan for determining feasibility as a result. We are so excited about this feedback and are happy that these free tools are being put to good use by our fellow #foodsystemwarriors!

Some also found the tools challenging. For this reason we published a six-part microblog series, the Toolsite Spotlight, using fictional examples to illustrate how to use each tool. You can find them using the links below.

  • Local Food MarketSizer® estimates unmet demand for locally produced food in a chosen geographic area.
  • Local Produce HubSizer® estimates breakeven sales, acreage and capacity thresholds for various types of food hubs, and provides success indicators related to supply, demand and competition based on geography.
  • Frozen Processing HubSizer® estimates facility size and breakeven throughput, revenue and utilization for blast and cryogenic IQF freezing processes.
  • Rural Grocery HubSizer® estimates potential throughput, sales and profit contribution of a food hub operating out of a rural grocery store.
  • Kitchen Facility HubSizer® estimates the capacity and breakeven utilization for a commercial kitchen or kitchen incubator built out in an existing facility.
  • Produce Facility HubSizer® estimates the throughput (cases, pounds, acres) and revenue at break even and at full capacity for a produce aggregation and distribution hub built out in an existing facility.

In the future we hope to share actual case studies from users to demonstrate how the tools helped their food system plans and small businesses become even more successful.

We want to give a shout out to our awesome team members at New Venture Advisors who came up with the concept and carefully guided each phase of implementation, all the beta testers for debugging each widget, the users for even more great feedback, and last, but not least, the good people at the USDA who administer the Local Food Promotion Program grant that provided much of the funding to make it all possible.