Commercializing a Food Product Can be Easy, With the Right Help.
More than ever before, we’re being asked through email and social media, how to develop a food product. This is likely because more people are home, with free time, playing with food. And you know what we think about that?
We LOVE IT!
Why? Because some of the best food products on the market have their origin in someone’s home kitchen. The idea usually comes right after saying something like, “I wish I could just buy this…”
However, there are many steps to go from idea to grocery store shelf. Where do I get my ingredients? Who’s going to package it? Is it food safe? Moreover, how do I make a nutrition facts label that’s compliant with current standards? These can be hard questions to find the answers to.
Luckily, that’s why folks like us at Culinary Culture are here. We take your idea and passion and use our skills and resources to get you to the goal. We love what we do, and we want you, more than anything, to love what we make.
So, let’s take a look at how you can develop a new food product with Culinary Culture.
How to Develop a Food Product
No one person’s product development journey is exactly the same. Some of these steps change, move, or are unnecessary. Sometimes other steps, like shelf-life studies need to be included. Therefore, it’s always important to create a customized plan for every product. Plug and play simply does not work.
Step 1: Have an Idea!
The first step is, of course, to have an idea. This is where everything begins. That “aha!” moment where you realize you’re onto something no one else has seen.
This is where we want to meet you. We’ll have a discussion to see what you’re hoping for, what’s plausible, what the current trends predict, and what our next steps might be. This is also where we define points in the process that might be an issue and how we expect to overcome them.
The conversational manner of our first meeting is essential to truly getting a feel for you and your product. We certainly want our work to reflect your personality and be an expression of who you are.
Step 2: Proposal
After our initial conversation, we’ll sit down and review the information and create a road map of the following steps. We’ll cover all the point gleaned from our discussion and align them in an easy-to-follow document.
It’s in this step that we’ll also discuss costs. We work on a “Project-Based” or “Retainer” rate. Simply put, if your product in likely to be a one-off event, great! The project rate is for you. If you expect to need ongoing assistance long-term (marketing, line extensions, trade show representation, etc.), perfect, then we should discuss a retainer.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Proposal is just that, a proposal. This is a flexible document we’ll discuss, re-arrange, and adjust as needed so that it accurately reflects your expectations and your budget.
Step 3: Research
Not the most exciting step, but definitely one of the most important. Here we’ll dive into to all the things we need to know about your potential product, like:
- Who’s your target audience?
- Where do we need to source ingredients?
- Who are the potential co-packers?
- What type of shelf-life can we achieve?
- What types of packaging make sense?
- How will this product be distributed?
- What is the cost target?
- Are there any limitations of the label, like gluten-free, organic, etc?
You get the idea. Lots to know. But, finding out this info up front is essentially. It will steer our future decisions and could even simplify the process.
For example, some co-packers have existing partnerships with ingredient suppliers or in-house graphics teams. These types of assets help save us time and money, thereby saving you time and money.
Step 4: Concepts
To develop a new food product, we first create paper concepts. Creating paper concepts begins with developing a list of innovative ideas. This may include different forms, flavors, ingredients, different methods for manufacturing, etc.
Once you have had time to review the list, you’ll select an agreed upon number of concepts for us to move forward with.
Step 5: Development
The part we’ve all been waiting for! After all the research and discussion, we finally get to make some food.
The Development stage consists of developing “Gold Standard” recipes based on the concepts we agreed upon. These will be made in our test kitchen mocking similar procedures as would be used by the co-packer, and ingredients provided by potential suppliers.
Above all, it’s important to ensure the Gold Standard recipes are amazing, as the commercialization process can change the final flavors, functionality, appearance, etc. This is where our expertise comes in to play to make a great Gold Standard that will closely align with the final manufactured product.
We know how to keep your product at its peak so that when it is all done, the final result will still knock your socks off. And of course, this step concludes with a tasting and adjustments, as needed.
We can also run market research and tasting panels here to ensure the public loves your idea!
Step 6: Plant Trial
Alright! Here we are with our delicious new product that was born in your brain only a short time ago. How exciting!
The next essential step is to process the recipe as if it were ready to hit the shelves nationwide. To do this, we need to initiate a plant trial run at the co-packer. Working closely with the co-packer ensures the final product is the best it can be, and as close to the Gold Standard as possible.
Likewise, we’ll again test the product together and see if any adjustments need to be made to the recipe. These final tweaks are what will really make it an all-star!
Step 7: Finalizing
Your recipe is 100% done. You know it tastes great after processing and that people love it, too. So, what’s next?
You’ll need to finalize your branding. Package design, color scheme, language, graphics, etc. We’ll help you decide how your product should look so it catches everyone’s eyes.
We’ll need to develop your nutrition facts label, something we can do in-house using the industry standard Genesis R&D Food Formulation & Labeling software.
In addition, we need to decide who’s buying/selling your product at the wholesale level. What markets are interested, what suppliers fit, and where does your product belong in the mix of things? Also, how do you plan to get your product to the customers?
And finally, any additional changes to the price will need to be decided on before going full steam ahead.
Step 8: Production!
Finally, it’s now time for your full plant run. Watch your newly developed food product be made, wrapped, packed, and shipped to markets all over the country.
Congratulations, you did it!
See You on the Shelves!
Finally, there you have it! It may seem like a lot, but it isn’t insurmountable, so don’t worry. We’ve got your back. And remember, the process is different for everyone. So, don’t hesitate, reach out and let’s discuss that idea you have and see how we can make it a reality. What are you waiting for?
As always, we’d love to get your feedback. Leave us a suggestion or question in the comments box below.