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:email@example.com