About 15,000 new food products are introduced each year. The failure rate, however, can be as high as 90 percent. The average time spent on developing new food products is about two years. Larger companies rely on a product development team that includes food scientists, food engineers and marketing experts.
There are four major steps in developing a new product. They are:
Screening will tell you whether to proceed with the next steps, or tell you to stop before spending more time and money on something that probably will not succeed. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Who will use the product?
- How will it be used?
- What preparation is necessary?
- How will the consumer benefit from it?
- Does it have any other uses?
- Who is the competition and what is the price and size available?
- How is the product different from the competition?
- Where will the product be available?
- How will people find out about the product?
- What will the price be?
If you can answer these questions confidently, you can proceed.
At this stage you address regulations, technology and money.
Food manufacturing businesses and commercial kitchens in Kansas are regulated by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. If your product does not cross state lines, it is regulated by state agencies. If you sell in other states, then it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or the United States Department of Agriculture.
Next, identify what equipment, facilities and processes are needed to manufacture your product. Concentrate on ingredients, processing, facilities, packaging, distribution, and shelf life.
Finally, an understanding of all costs of production and marketing the product are required. You should have a detailed cost analysis made before the product is manufactured. This will include all fixed and variable costs used during production.
Now it is time to develop and test market your product! At this stage, try to keep your costs at a minimum. Look for a facility to make test runs of your product. Your main cost should be packaging and labeling materials, promotion, and ingredients. Let the Kansas Value Added Lab help you! We have some equipment to produce many types of products, or we can help locate a facility that best meets your needs.
A test run will address formulation, processing and packaging. Keep a record of all processing steps and controls so they can be referenced during scale up processing.
Also at this step, locate a test market area to sell your product. Keep in touch with store managers and keep good records of all details during this period. You may want to develop a consumer questionnaire to evaluate the quality of your product. This can be helpful to make the best product possible.
After a successful test market, it is time to commercialize your product. The main concern now is where will the product be made. Secure a location, building, equipment, plumbing and personnel. Make necessary changes to the product based on test market results. When moving to large-scale production, quality changes may occur. Focus on quality improvement to fix defects in the formula or processing procedures. Look for ways to improve efficiency, save on labor costs, and find alternate suppliers.