cream. But once you multiply it several hundred times, a process known as product formulation must take place to develop it into something manufacturable. “You just don’t double up on the butter and double up on the cream,” says Hoskins. “You have to use ingredients that are going to actually blend well and be preserved.” Working with a food chemist or recipe development specialist is crucial to creating a quality product that is both safe and appealing. Hoskins admits to having wasted time and money trying to produce the product herself. “Before I really even talked to anyone, I would make it up on the stove. I had a long bottle, some handmade graphics and I called myself Supreme Food Products,” says Hoskins. She left the product at an area restaurant, and like many people, thought she would make millions. But it’s not that simple. “The next day, the owner called me and said, ‘Come get this stuff, it’s separating, it’s rancid, it’s spoiled because you can’t leave it out,”‘ she explains.
There are many things to consider when formulating a home recipe. Everything from the ingredients and packaging to your marketing method affects the process. For example, butter contains a lot of fat and does not cook well when used in large quantities. While you may use it in your recipe at home, when mass producing your product, you might have to find a substitute, an ingredient that will yield the same taste. Also, keep in mind that not every recipe is the same and each–depending on whether it is a dry, liquid or meat-packing product–has a different manufacturing process.
A food chemist can formulate your recipe and distinguish from a chemical and technical standpoint what needs to be added or omitted to ensure that it maintains its original taste once it hits the market. Food chemists also determine your product’s shelf life–the time it takes for your product to deteriorate. H
aving a good shelf life is an important selling point of your product.
Food chemists work in the test kitchens of major food chains such as Nestle and Beatrice Foods, but rarely are they in a position to work one- on-one with you to develop your product. You should be able to find an independent food chemist in the Yellow Pages or within the food science department of a major university. These experts have backgrounds in food science and engineering. Hoskins spent $3,500 to have a food chemist formulate her product. However, this cost did not include production, packaging or labeling.
A more cost-effective way of formulating your recipe plus having the resources and equipment for its total manufacture is by working with a co-packer. These nationwide food processing and manufacturing firms can formulate, manufacture, package and label your product, all for a set price. Some may even provide distribution. All you would need to do yourself is to come up with a design for your label, which can be outsourced to a graphic artist.
When looking for a co-packer, consider the