From kitchen concept to mass product

By Chris Lightfoot

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Development chefs, Chef

Anticipating and meeting the next generation of consumer needs, while ensuring products offer taste, texture and visual appeal, is vital to stay ahead in this fast-moving industry. Manufacturers need a helping hand to achieve this on a mass scale.

That's where harnessing the expertise of development chefs can pay dividends.

Consumers are increasingly on the lookout for products that satisfy multiple needs. For example, as they seek a return to simpler, more natural foods, the expanding clean-label and healthy trends become influential purchasing factors. Equally, consumers expect mass-produced products to replicate the authentic taste and texture of domestic recipes.

Producing retail products that meet these criteria on an industrial scale requires careful consideration. It's one thing developing a prototype, but to confidently take products to market, you need complete assurance that it will perform once scaled-up and processed.

As chefs, we can blend our culinary flair with technical expertise and an understanding of how ingredients perform in factory conditions. We act as a technical resource when scaling up concepts in the factory.

Texture, for example, is an important dimension for consumer-winning foods. It's difficult to develop perfect textures without understanding ingredient functionality in terms of product performance, processing requirements, shelf-life stability and cost constraints. Culinary experience helps development chefs understand how textures work together, contrast and complement each other, and what the texture of a certain food should be. We can ensure recipes are compatible when scaled-up, by selecting ingredients that withstand complex manufacturing conditions. The result is appealing processed foods that meet consumer needs, processing requirements and business expectations.

Chris Lightfoot​ is consultant innovation chef at National Starch Innovation.

Contact him at: mailto:puevf.yvtugsbbg@afgnepu.pbz

Related topics: NPD