You’ve got a great food product that’s ready for the market.
You’ve tested it at a farmers markets and you’re ready to scale your production.
You’re growing out of your home kitchen and need to find other ways to produce your product.
Congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming the next big thing in food.
Here are some important nuggets to consider as you start to scale your food business.
1. FINAL FORM OF YOUR PRODUCT
Is your product going to be fresh, frozen or shelf stable? How is it going to be delivered to the customer? Direct to consumer or at a grocery store? It is important to know the final form of your product – this will greatly impact what kind of ingredients you source, the process you choose to make your product, and how you determine your shelf life.
Sourcing ingredients that are scalable is one of the most important parts of developing a new food product. Make sure that the ingredients you decide to use in your final recipe are available on a bulk scale from reliable sources and can be sourced in smaller quantities that will be able to fit your needs as you grow.
How are you making your product? Are you hand shaping every bar? What kind of equipment and tools are you using? It’s important to keep scalability in mind when you are making your product. Would this production method be sustainable if you (or someone else) were making thousands or ten thousands of pieces? Finding an efficient way to produce your product will be essential when you’re ready to scale up. If you’re thinking about co-packing, you want to make sure that your process is compatible with the technology and equipment they have on the production line.
There are also key process criteria to ensure your product is safe to consume. For example, pasteurization or other processing might be required to create a safe product that will be shelf stable or refrigerated, especially for beverages. For bars, you must check the moisture of the product, water activity testing is required to reduce the chances of mold and bacteria growth in your product. Working with a food scientist will help ensure that your product will meet general health and safety requirements.
4. SHELF LIFE
How long will your product last before it changes flavor or isn’t safe to eat anymore? Based on this information and how you want the product to be delivered to the end user will determine if this is this long enough. If it is not long enough, you need to troubleshoot ways to extend shelf life by looking at things like your packaging.
Your product has to have attractive packaging that tells a brand story, but it’s also important to think about how you are packaging your product and what kind of materials you are using. Different types of packaging can extend or limit shelf life. Working with a packaging engineer who has a wide breadth of knowledge in what is available can help improve how your product is delivered to your end user.
If you are looking for help in any of these areas, our Product Innovation Lab is at your service.
We work with food companies both large and small to help them develop meaningful products and solutions for our food system.
Get in touch with us today!