Tips for Food Product Development

A significant number of companies around the globe are not actively developing any new food products. Whereas, many companies those are engaged in new food product development, do not explicitly involve the consumers in their market research. This article lists out some innovations in the field of food product development which can be adopted by various companies to both enrich the food quality and thus increase their business.

The basic segment of manufacturing food products depends on how well you pack your product. Some of the innovations that can be adopted in food packaging are:

  • New packaging that can be used both in microwave and oven and thus increases versatility.
  • New packaging materials to be used to improve product shelf-life, quality and freshness.
  • Different packaging that helps in presenting the food product in different and new ways. This can be done by creating new graphic designs and packaging shapes for your product.
  • Packaging patterns that can increase the ease of use. For instance, milk cartons that are opened easily.

However, whatever be the packaging strategy, the major factor in food product development is the food stuff itself. The same is the case with beverage development. To create development in that area one needs to bring new ethnic concepts and has to start producing organic and health foods. Addition of vitamins, bacterial cultures and minerals, i.e. fortification, will also help. Some other innovations that could help in food product development include:

  • Merging – this refers to the merging of 2 complimentary or similar flavors, for instance, some chocolates where white chocolate and milk are brought together. This can also mean bringing complimentary products together, for instance some of the Lunchable products where, ham, crackers and cheese are brought together in the same packaging.
  • Segmentation – this is where the manufacturer finds simple ways to allow customers to customize products to their personal needs. For instance the ‘salt-n-shake’ potato chips where a separate sachet of salt in provided so that the consumer gets the chance to decide the quantity of salt they want to apply to the chips. Another form of segmentation is the ‘multi-packs’ offer wherein the customer gets to use only a part of the product at one time depending on the number of servings required.
  • Composite materials – this can be interpreted as the concept of combining foods that are different properties into a single structure. This strategy is usually present in cereal bars, multi-vitamins, filled pasta, ‘bubble-and-squeak’ and several other products, especially the ones where the consumers are looking for ease of use.
  • Preliminary action – this is a very commonly applied principle for food product development. Some examples in this case would be de-seeded vegetables and pre-cooked meals.

Almost similar strategies should be adopted in beverage development. For instance, recognizing consumer needs in the market which can be filled by a new innovative beverage brand is one of the first step in the beverage development. Similarly, in order to maximize taste and the functionality of the new beverage brand, beverage formulation, which is a very intricate process should be done thoroughly allow enough time to go through every possible ingredient options.

Food Production Still Depends Too Heavily On Oil

Oil and petroleum products play a major part in every aspect of food production from synthetic fertiliser and pesticide production through processing and packaging right to final delivery in the shops.

The industry is one of the biggest users of fossil fuels and therefore is often at the mercy of fluctuations in oil and petrol prices as well as being both energy inefficient and unsustainable as reserves of oil in the world are gradually being depleted.

It is calculated that it takes more than 400 gallons of oil to feed one person for a year in the USA. Approximately a third of this goes to the manufacture of fertilisers, while another fifth is used in farm machinery. Add in the costs of the machinery that processes and packages the food and the transportation costs to the point of sale and these together explain that figure of 400 gallons per person per year.

In terms of energy conversion this food production system means that it takes three calories of energy for every single calorie of edible food produced on average. The difference when this calculation is applied to grain-fed beef is an astonishing 35 calories of energy for every one calorie of beef. Both these figures exclude the additional cost of energy input involved in food processing and transportation.

Those who advocate sustainable and organic farming point out that it is the industrial system of food production that accounts for what is argued to be such an inefficient use of energy.

The chief culprit, they say, is the amount of energy that goes into producing artificial fertilisers and pesticides, derived from such things as nitrogen or natural gas. It is calculated that as much as 40% of the energy that goes into the food production system goes into this part of the process.

It is also argued that the need for these products is precisely because of the structure of the food production system, both meat and vegetables, which have become increasingly produced in concentrated and specific areas of many countries.

Over time, such concentrated activity has depleted the nutrition of the soil, damaged ecosystems and polluted water supplies. There have also been increasing concerns about the long-term effects on human health of the residues of such chemicals in food.

Systems such as integrated pest management, organic farming and the use of more natural, low-chemical agricultural products are part of moving to more sustainable farming methods.

Using natural sources for biopesticides, yield enhancers and biofungicides can protect the land and crops and increase crop yields while leaving little or no residue in the food produced and this is the focus of the research and products being developed by biopesticides developers.

Such low-chem agricultural products are gradually replacing the older generation of artificial fertilisers and pesticides which are being withdrawn or phased out by many governments around the world. However, the process of getting this new, healthier generation of products tested, registered and licensed is both costly and lengthy. The process has also not so far been harmonised across the world and the need to do so is becoming increasingly urgent.

Other measures to reduce the energy inefficiency in food production include buying locally and organically produced food as well as reducing the amount of packaging used. While plainly consumers can take action about what they buy for themselves, they can also pressure the bigger food store chains to source more locally as well as to cut back on packaging.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Some Tips to Labeling Food Products

Food products are different with other products. You will find that labeling these products is also different with others. When it comes to labeling food products, there are many things that you should do. You should gather and present the information related to regulations the agencies in labeling needs. You should also design and print the label that you have.

Label on food products should provide the information that customers need so that they will know whether they want to buy the products or not. You will find that label can be functioned as a marketing tool for your products. Thus, you should make your label perfect. The following tips will help you to make label for your food products with correct equipment and software.

Firstly, you should get the information about food labels form the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this case, you should fulfill all the requirements that FDA requires. In the requirements, you will find that there are some things that you should include to your label such as the name of the food product, its quantity, its nutritional information and he expiration date for the food.

Secondly, you should create the label that you want. Make sure that you include all the requirements that you got from the FDA. Make sure that create the label as attractive as possible. You should include your company logo so that the customers will recognize your better.

Thirdly, you can print the label that you have designed. For this, you can print by yourself or bring to the specialist in printing food products. If you want to print the label by yourself, you have to make sure that you have the equipment. But, you should choose the correct label stock for your products for example waterproof label for food that will be frozen or refrigerated.

Understanding The Role Of Packaging In The Food Industry

For businesses involved in the manufacturing and retail of food products, the packaging is more than just a pretty container to attract the attention of buyers. It is a vital part of the product and as such, it could make or break any product launch. Unfortunately, this fact is lost on many retailers and manufacturers. The result: domestic food and beverage recalls have tripled since 1999. That is a staggering fact that should make any food-related business think more of their product’s packaging.

It is not a secret that the packaging of food and beverage greatly influences the experience of consumers with your product. For instance, does it take plenty of struggling for the consumer just to get to the product? One might think that it could be a minor hassle for consumers but this little inconvenience could turn them off from your product. It is therefore important that you understand the role of packaging in the food industry.

First of all, it’s most important job is to protect the product. You want your product to reach your clientele in one piece. This means that the container should stand the common stresses the package is subjected to during handling and transport of the products from the point of production to retail shelves.

Aside from protecting the product, it is important that food containers be safe. This means that it should be designed to avoid product recalls due to contamination and other health hazards. The materials used for the container should therefore be safe. Rigorous testing should be done to make sure that it would not contaminate or jeopardize the safety of the products for human consumption.

Another thing that a product container should achieve is to keep products fresh. Some food products are meant to be consumed in their freshest state. The package should keep products’ appearance in the best possible way. The quality of the food product should also be maintained.

The fourth role is for branding purposes. The packaging should be designed with a concrete plan behind it. This means that you should have clear identity for your brand that you want to project. Would you go for convenience? What about appeal? The things is, no matter what you choose, you have to make sure that the packaging should be true to all its other roles.

The food industry is a competitive one especially today when products meant to be consumed on the go are becoming very popular and any business should make it a priority to maximize the branding potential of product packaging.