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NOTABLE! Food business/entrepreneurship startup guide

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Scot

Scot

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But consumables and food is still a huge world that interests me from a business perspective.
And that's a key word, Consumables. With most products, you really only expect a customer to buy one, maybe two of them. But with foods, you're constantly repurchasing. I have customers who have bought 15+ units from me to date. Recurring revenue at its finest.


Could you share a little more about what you know about acquisitions in the food / consumables industries?
From doing research on M&A's for my investor pitches, the big ones we see are anywhere from 2x-5x gross yearly revenue. A lot of it depends on the total addressable market. Keep in mind, these acquisitions are being done by the big conglomerates, Kraft, Unilever, J&J, Pepsi, Coke... So they have big pockets. But, for them its about the product/market fit.
 

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Azure

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I can only see this working in a very small subset of products, mostly in alcoholic beverages.

Or maybe if you’re making the next Chex Mix...

Throwing a party with influencers is something you do for a new fashion brand, not launching a plant based cream cheese.
This may not necessarily hold true. I wouldn't use Instagram influencers, but successful food bloggers hold a ton of industry weight.
 

Erika

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Awesome thread. Thanks for the information!
I'm thinking about going into the food industry. The product I have in mind is definitely not the first of its kind but from what I can gather so far my product is definitely different to other products like it. At least in South Africa. I've even started trying out recipes to get the taste right.
I'm going to follow here and come back to this thread for more information as I hopefully make progress with my own product.
Thanks for writing!
 

ambrosinibello

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Awesome, this literally came at the right time.

I'm in the process of working with my relative on an organic food company. He has already the producers, the licenses and we'll be exporting the snacks and distributing them.

Really most of the work in terms of production is done, but how do I (I joined late) start to determine the demand and do a solid market research campaign? I'm really digging in now into the nitty gritty of the industry and competition but it is overwhelming.

What's a good starting point to learn about distribution and e-commerce for organic food companies?
 
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Awesome, this literally came at the right time.

I'm in the process of working with my relative on an organic food company. He has already the producers, the licenses and we'll be exporting the snacks and distributing them.

Really most of the work in terms of production is done, but how do I (I joined late) start to determine the demand and do a solid market research campaign? I'm really digging in now into the nitty gritty of the industry and competition but it is overwhelming.
The most important thing you need to do is figure out your customer avatar. Is your product really niche? Or is it a broad type category, like a snack?

Find out where those people hang out, and sample and talk to them.

Rxbar was created for people doing CrossFit. So the founder spent a lot of time bringing you different samples to his local gym and having his fellow CrossFiters try them and give feedback.

The original grass roots the way of determining demand and doing market research, is to hang out at the local farmers market. Farmers market now really exist to serve the Whole Foods type customer. Find every farmers market within a 50 mile radius, get a table, and spend a few weeks sampling and getting feedback, and trying to sell It.

What's a good starting point to learn about distribution and e-commerce for organic food companies?
Honestly, I got a lot of my knowledge from listening to different podcasts while driving around. The Food Startup Podcast, Food Marketing Nerds, and Brand Builder have all taught me a lot.

Start small. Start selling direct to consumers through your website. Also sell at farmers market. See if you can get into local coffee shops or other vegan type café’s. And then after that, talk to your local Whole Foods.

You really need to learn to crawl before you can walk in that run. Trying to expand to quickly in the food industry Is a quick way to die.
 

BusinessBen

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Do you know about the laws regarding importing a food product to export? I am in Canada and want to import a food product from overseas to export to the USA.

I may need a food import license and export license but just wanted to hear your input regarding this

Would it be possible to bypass getting an import license if i use a freight forwarder?

Thanks for your time.
 

LA_Jau

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Hello Scot, thank you so much for providing this level of accessible value for aspiring food fastlaners.

I am currently testing and getting feedback on two vegan products at the moment, however am finding it really hard to choose which to focus on.

One has a bigger market-share but more direct competitors (5-10), however the other hasn't really been innovated yet for the vegan market (in Australia, but is present in USA) and has a smaller market-share.

Any advice?

Or should I just man up, keep putting time, money and effort into both, get feedback until one beats the other in sales and focus on that one?
 

ambrosinibello

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The most important thing you need to do is figure out your customer avatar. Is your product really niche? Or is it a broad type category, like a snack?

Find out where those people hang out, and sample and talk to them.

Rxbar was created for people doing CrossFit. So the founder spent a lot of time bringing you different samples to his local gym and having his fellow CrossFiters try them and give feedback.

The original grass roots the way of determining demand and doing market research, is to hang out at the local farmers market. Farmers market now really exist to serve the Whole Foods type customer. Find every farmers market within a 50 mile radius, get a table, and spend a few weeks sampling and getting feedback, and trying to sell It.



Honestly, I got a lot of my knowledge from listening to different podcasts while driving around. The Food Startup Podcast, Food Marketing Nerds, and Brand Builder have all taught me a lot.

Start small. Start selling direct to consumers through your website. Also sell at farmers market. See if you can get into local coffee shops or other vegan type café’s. And then after that, talk to your local Whole Foods.

You really need to learn to crawl before you can walk in that run. Trying to expand to quickly in the food industry Is a quick way to die.
Really appreciate that.
 
OP
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Scot

Scot

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o you know about the laws regarding importing a food product to export? I am in Canada and want to import a food product from overseas to export to the USA.
Sorry, I do not. I looked into exporting to Canada for FBA, but got lost in all the regulations and import laws, that it wasn't worth it at the time.

It's something I need to revisit, but sadly, don't have any experience with it yet.
 
OP
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Scot

Scot

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Hello Scot, thank you so much for providing this level of accessible value for aspiring food fastlaners.

I am currently testing and getting feedback on two vegan products at the moment, however am finding it really hard to choose which to focus on.

One has a bigger market-share but more direct competitors (5-10), however the other hasn't really been innovated yet for the vegan market (in Australia, but is present in USA) and has a smaller market-share.

Any advice?

Or should I just man up, keep putting time, money and effort into both, get feedback until one beats the other in sales and focus on that one?

Are these complimentary at all? Would they make a cohesive brand?

Also, are these things that have a very technical process to make or can you cook them in your home kitchen?

If they're things you can make at home or in a commercial kitchen, go for both, and see which one has the better response in the market.

If they can be complimentary to each other, then go for both.

Lastly, if you feel as though you can only pursue one effectively, which product represents easier and quicker sales? Go for that one first to fund production of the second.
 

Sego

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So, you want to make a food product?



I've got my insider progress thread here,
https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/progress-creating-specialty-food-products-for-medical-diets.73591/
but wanted to put together a general "how-to" guide on the outside for everyone else.


First step: What's your product?


This is the obvious beginning. What are you making? Do you have a killer recipe for a drink you make home? Or a family recipe for cookies? What about a special sauce you put on everything?

You need to have a solid concept or flavor profile before you start production.

Some things to consider. What makes you special?

Right now, more than ever, you need to stand out in the crowded food market. We are in a food startup boom right now. With the ability to market online and be scrappy and larger grocery stories exploring specialty foods, you're going to be swimming up stream. These are thing you need to have down because a buyer from Whole Foods is going to want an answer.

Are you creating a healthier version of an old product (kale chips)? Are you utilizing an ingredient that's new to your country (all the new super food products)? Do you have a special process to make your food (cold brew coffee)?

What if you don't have a recipe? This was me, skip to step 1.5.


Step 1.5. Get your recipe (or have one created)


My situation was unique, I didn't have a product first, I had a market. So I needed a recipe.

You'll need either a food scientist or a research and development group.

Finding a food science consulting firm is expensive and hard. But no worries, most good copackers have a chef or food scientist on staff. This is the route I went. Often times, if it's the copacker you plan on manufacturing with, you can bundle pricing. Well go over copackers in a later step.

Things you need to have down solid during this phase:

-- Recipe measured out in weights. Things like pinch of salt cannot be used. This is a recipe that needs to be 100% reproducible and scalable.

-- A step by step process to cook/manufacture your product that matches the capabilities of your facility. Again, think consistency and scalability.

-- Food safety signoffs. Depending on the type of food, they will have different regulations on food safety. Things like acidified food, canned food, and most shelf stable foods require specific conditions. These are all things your food scientist should handle for you. You do not want to screw this up.

-- Next, you'll need your nutritional panel, serving size, known allergens, ingredients list, net weight statement, and any lab tests required by your category. Again, a good food scientist should have this bundled into their services and pricing. For most foods, your nutritional panel will be based on the FDA's food database and not an actual lab test. If the food label is extremely sensitive for any reason, you can always opt into doing a lab test, but it will cost more money.



Who's going to make your food?



Let's start first with, probably not you. Cottage food laws vary by state, so check yours first. I know in my state if you plan on making more than $10,000 per year, cottage food laws say nope. Also, where you plan on selling makes a difference too. If you only plan on selling at farmers markets, then you may get away with cottage food laws.

You'll either need one if two options.

Copacker or Commercial Kitchen.

If this is a product you believe you can reasonably make consistently yourself, a commercial kitchen mat be an affordable way to start.

Things like snack bars, granola, baked goods can all be made yourself in a kitchen. However, always check your local and state regulations on this. There specific licenses and certifications your facility will need to be able to create and distribute food. Check with your local Dept of Agriculture to find out more. Most kitchens require you get food safety certified. This is pretty easy to get. It's usually $100 ish and most restaurant managers get this, so they're easy to find and get.

A lot of food products however will need a commercial packers or copacker to create your product. This website is a great directory to find copackers. The Directory

I recommend starting with copackers local to you. Being able to show up in person means you can get quicker turn around times on tasks and benchmarks and ensure quality.


Things to consider with a copacker.


Did they have you sign an NDA or confidentiality agreement? If not, red flag. Make sure the NDA covers both your and them, not just them. Also, beware if they offer a private label. I have heard horror stories of copackers using proprietary equipment and processes for other clients they did not have permission to use.

Find out how they charge for production. Do they do a percentage or do they charge an hourly rate? Find out at which level they offer price breaks. Do they sourced ingredients for you? Do they charge a sourcing fee? When you have actually get your pricing sheet, you want them to be transparent about every single charge and where it comes from. Because when you get to scale and you are selling into retail, $0.10 multiplied by 100,000 units adds up.

What is their timeline? Do they have a two week lead time? This is important if you are dealing with retailers that are notorious for short notice purchase order. You want to make sure your copacker can handle a rush order without charging an arm and a leg for it. Seasonality is important here too. Ask them if their lead time changes throughout the year.

Other things to consider are, do they have a logistics department? This is important because trying to coordinate shipment to distributors, warehouses, and vendors is a lot to handle when you're a start up. It's a plus if they can coordinate this for you.

Communication is key. This is one thing that's burned me already. In the early phases, make sure they are punctual with getting back to you. For example, one error in communication has already cost me one month of my time. If they throw up warning signs of being difficult to get a hold of or slow to respond, it may be time to find a different copacker.

Shop around. Don't fit on the first copacker you find. Visit as many as you can.

If you are developing a recipe in conjunction with the copacker, make sure that you own the formula. Any formulations you create, make sure you have copies in your possession and make sure you have in writing that you own all rights to the formula. They should own nothing of yours


How to sell my food?


I'm not gonna teach you how to market your food, that's on you. But I will tell you what you need in order to be able to sell.

Most states require that you have a food distribution permit which is typically a change to your local department of agriculture. You may also need additional licenses and permits depending on your state. It's a good idea to call your local department at a culture, department of business relations, and the FDA. Typically, To obtain a few distribution permit you need it to have a physical location. In some states this can be as simple as having a storage unit in a commercial storage facility. Again, check the local regulations.

Obviously, hustle your a$$ off to sell your product. Find a list of all your local flea markets and farmers markets. Be out there every day you can and sell. Build a local following. Build an online following.

Also, there may be a point when you are looking to get in the grocery stores. If you're going to local independently owned stores, typically you can going to the store, ask to speak to a manager or ask for the buyer.

This is a simple sales pitch where you'll need to sell your product to them. If you are brand new, they may offer you a consignment deal. The best deal is to actually sell bulk of your product to the store. Keep in mind, re-orders are where you make your money. So don't assume you can just sell them a case of your product wash her hands and walk away. You need to market and get people in the store to buy your product. If it's not moving on their shelves, they will not keep you on the shelf.

You may also want to consider targeting larger chains. This could be done in a number of different ways. You can attend food tradeshows and attempt to connect with buyers there. Also, you can attempt to get in front of buyer for larger change. When it comes to places like whole foods, they typically have regional buyers at local stores that you can get in touch with to pitch your product.

You may also look into working with a food broker. A broker is essentially a salesman who has connections with buyers. Typically for a commission they will facilitate deals. The problem is, many brokers are very picky. There is in an abundance of the new food start ups, and they can afford to choose who they want to work with. So, you'll have to sell them on the idea before they sell it for you.

There is a lot more that goes into distribution and sales of food products. I can't give you too much of ice here, because I am not that deep into this stage yet.


--

There aren't many food guys here on the forum, but I hope people who are interested in a food start up can get some use out of this guide.
Thank you @Scot for this valuable insight about how to get started in the food business.

I'm starting something in the candy business and do not want to manufacture the product myself so I think it's quite different from all the cases I've seen in the thread. My biggest challenge now is to find a copacker that would be willing to make and package my product. I guess I am so particular (which is what makes my product unique) that I am struggling to find one. I feel like I am almost begging copackers to work with me. I still want to make sure I find a reliable one and not the only one willing to work with me.

Has anyone encountered a similar situation?
 

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Sprocket

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Thank you @Scot for this valuable insight about how to get started in the food business.

I'm starting something in the candy business and do not want to manufacture the product myself so I think it's quite different from all the cases I've seen in the thread. My biggest challenge now is to find a copacker that would be willing to make and package my product. I guess I am so particular (which is what makes my product unique) that I am struggling to find one. I feel like I am almost begging copackers to work with me. I still want to make sure I find a reliable one and not the only one willing to work with me.

Has anyone encountered a similar situation?
It can be find getting the right co-packer (especially at the right cost!) You want one that has the capability to pack your product to the spec you want and is the right “fit for your business. This might mean they need specific packing machinery / processes. If they are fully automated then they’re built for scale and may want bigger jobs that they can bash through quickly and so prefer bigger customers... It’s just a case of talking to as many as you can until you find the right fit. A bit like dating ;)

Different industry but have a read of the Innocent smoothies book - tells the story of finding co-packers, their struggles and how they overcame them. It’s an interesting read.

Make sure you have your requirements set out clearly and perhaps be open and flexible on the packaging specification if you can..?

When you say make the product, are you looking for a candy manufacturer & packer?
 
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foodiepersecond

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This is exactly why I joined the forum. I got some fun snack food ideas and had no clue on where to start and what mistakes not to make. Thank you so much for the advice.
 

Azure

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Do you know about the laws regarding importing a food product to export? I am in Canada and want to import a food product from overseas to export to the USA.

I may need a food import license and export license but just wanted to hear your input regarding this

Would it be possible to bypass getting an import license if i use a freight forwarder?

Thanks for your time.
Yes, you would need to carry the Canadian license as you are the one responsible as far as the government is concerned.

The licensing process is not difficult at all, it costs only about $250 and lasts 2 years.

The best thing to do is taking a few minutes to browse the Gov website here:




It will be able to answer most if not all of your questions.
 

Brian Suh

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Is it possible to sellnto
So, you want to make a food product?



I've got my insider progress thread here,
https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/progress-creating-specialty-food-products-for-medical-diets.73591/
but wanted to put together a general "how-to" guide on the outside for everyone else.


First step: What's your product?


This is the obvious beginning. What are you making? Do you have a killer recipe for a drink you make home? Or a family recipe for cookies? What about a special sauce you put on everything?

You need to have a solid concept or flavor profile before you start production.

Some things to consider. What makes you special?

Right now, more than ever, you need to stand out in the crowded food market. We are in a food startup boom right now. With the ability to market online and be scrappy and larger grocery stories exploring specialty foods, you're going to be swimming up stream. These are thing you need to have down because a buyer from Whole Foods is going to want an answer.

Are you creating a healthier version of an old product (kale chips)? Are you utilizing an ingredient that's new to your country (all the new super food products)? Do you have a special process to make your food (cold brew coffee)?

What if you don't have a recipe? This was me, skip to step 1.5.


Step 1.5. Get your recipe (or have one created)


My situation was unique, I didn't have a product first, I had a market. So I needed a recipe.

You'll need either a food scientist or a research and development group.

Finding a food science consulting firm is expensive and hard. But no worries, most good copackers have a chef or food scientist on staff. This is the route I went. Often times, if it's the copacker you plan on manufacturing with, you can bundle pricing. Well go over copackers in a later step.

Things you need to have down solid during this phase:

-- Recipe measured out in weights. Things like pinch of salt cannot be used. This is a recipe that needs to be 100% reproducible and scalable.

-- A step by step process to cook/manufacture your product that matches the capabilities of your facility. Again, think consistency and scalability.

-- Food safety signoffs. Depending on the type of food, they will have different regulations on food safety. Things like acidified food, canned food, and most shelf stable foods require specific conditions. These are all things your food scientist should handle for you. You do not want to screw this up.

-- Next, you'll need your nutritional panel, serving size, known allergens, ingredients list, net weight statement, and any lab tests required by your category. Again, a good food scientist should have this bundled into their services and pricing. For most foods, your nutritional panel will be based on the FDA's food database and not an actual lab test. If the food label is extremely sensitive for any reason, you can always opt into doing a lab test, but it will cost more money.



Who's going to make your food?



Let's start first with, probably not you. Cottage food laws vary by state, so check yours first. I know in my state if you plan on making more than $10,000 per year, cottage food laws say nope. Also, where you plan on selling makes a difference too. If you only plan on selling at farmers markets, then you may get away with cottage food laws.

You'll either need one if two options.

Copacker or Commercial Kitchen.

If this is a product you believe you can reasonably make consistently yourself, a commercial kitchen mat be an affordable way to start.

Things like snack bars, granola, baked goods can all be made yourself in a kitchen. However, always check your local and state regulations on this. There specific licenses and certifications your facility will need to be able to create and distribute food. Check with your local Dept of Agriculture to find out more. Most kitchens require you get food safety certified. This is pretty easy to get. It's usually $100 ish and most restaurant managers get this, so they're easy to find and get.

A lot of food products however will need a commercial packers or copacker to create your product. This website is a great directory to find copackers. The Directory

I recommend starting with copackers local to you. Being able to show up in person means you can get quicker turn around times on tasks and benchmarks and ensure quality.


Things to consider with a copacker.


Did they have you sign an NDA or confidentiality agreement? If not, red flag. Make sure the NDA covers both your and them, not just them. Also, beware if they offer a private label. I have heard horror stories of copackers using proprietary equipment and processes for other clients they did not have permission to use.

Find out how they charge for production. Do they do a percentage or do they charge an hourly rate? Find out at which level they offer price breaks. Do they sourced ingredients for you? Do they charge a sourcing fee? When you have actually get your pricing sheet, you want them to be transparent about every single charge and where it comes from. Because when you get to scale and you are selling into retail, $0.10 multiplied by 100,000 units adds up.

What is their timeline? Do they have a two week lead time? This is important if you are dealing with retailers that are notorious for short notice purchase order. You want to make sure your copacker can handle a rush order without charging an arm and a leg for it. Seasonality is important here too. Ask them if their lead time changes throughout the year.

Other things to consider are, do they have a logistics department? This is important because trying to coordinate shipment to distributors, warehouses, and vendors is a lot to handle when you're a start up. It's a plus if they can coordinate this for you.

Communication is key. This is one thing that's burned me already. In the early phases, make sure they are punctual with getting back to you. For example, one error in communication has already cost me one month of my time. If they throw up warning signs of being difficult to get a hold of or slow to respond, it may be time to find a different copacker.

Shop around. Don't fit on the first copacker you find. Visit as many as you can.

If you are developing a recipe in conjunction with the copacker, make sure that you own the formula. Any formulations you create, make sure you have copies in your possession and make sure you have in writing that you own all rights to the formula. They should own nothing of yours


How to sell my food?


I'm not gonna teach you how to market your food, that's on you. But I will tell you what you need in order to be able to sell.

Most states require that you have a food distribution permit which is typically a change to your local department of agriculture. You may also need additional licenses and permits depending on your state. It's a good idea to call your local department at a culture, department of business relations, and the FDA. Typically, To obtain a few distribution permit you need it to have a physical location. In some states this can be as simple as having a storage unit in a commercial storage facility. Again, check the local regulations.

Obviously, hustle your a$$ off to sell your product. Find a list of all your local flea markets and farmers markets. Be out there every day you can and sell. Build a local following. Build an online following.

Also, there may be a point when you are looking to get in the grocery stores. If you're going to local independently owned stores, typically you can going to the store, ask to speak to a manager or ask for the buyer.

This is a simple sales pitch where you'll need to sell your product to them. If you are brand new, they may offer you a consignment deal. The best deal is to actually sell bulk of your product to the store. Keep in mind, re-orders are where you make your money. So don't assume you can just sell them a case of your product wash her hands and walk away. You need to market and get people in the store to buy your product. If it's not moving on their shelves, they will not keep you on the shelf.

You may also want to consider targeting larger chains. This could be done in a number of different ways. You can attend food tradeshows and attempt to connect with buyers there. Also, you can attempt to get in front of buyer for larger change. When it comes to places like whole foods, they typically have regional buyers at local stores that you can get in touch with to pitch your product.

You may also look into working with a food broker. A broker is essentially a salesman who has connections with buyers. Typically for a commission they will facilitate deals. The problem is, many brokers are very picky. There is in an abundance of the new food start ups, and they can afford to choose who they want to work with. So, you'll have to sell them on the idea before they sell it for you.

There is a lot more that goes into distribution and sales of food products. I can't give you too much of ice here, because I am not that deep into this stage yet.


--

There aren't many food guys here on the forum, but I hope people who are interested in a food start up can get some use out of this guide.
Is it possible to sell food without bullshit preservatives and weird chemicals to make it stay fresh or are they mandatory?
 
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Scot

Scot

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Is it possible to sellnto

Is it possible to sell food without bullshit preservatives and weird chemicals to make it stay fresh or are they mandatory?
My products don’t use preservatives. And a lot don’t. It really depends on what you’re making. Lots of sauces or liquid products are hot filled and preserved that way, think a jar of spaghetti sauce. My products, salad dressings, are what’s called acidified Foods. The pH level of the products are what ensure it stays safe to eat.

Rx Bar didn’t use preservatives either.

That being said safe does not equal quality. I need to use stabilizers to keep my oils from spoiling. If they spoil, they’re still safe, but taste horrible.

Ideally, you’d want to work with a good scientist to determine the best way to naturally preserve your products.


Lastly, don’t fall into the buzzword pit. Many “chemicals” used in foods are perfectly safe and well tested. Just because it has a fancy name doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.
 
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Scot

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This is exactly why I joined the forum. I got some fun snack food ideas and had no clue on where to start and what mistakes not to make. Thank you so much for the advice.
Glad you found the forum. I’m one of the very few food guys here, so feel free to post questions here on this thread and I’ll answer them as I can.
 

Brian Suh

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My products don’t use preservatives. And a lot don’t. It really depends on what you’re making. Lots of sauces or liquid products are hot filled and preserved that way, think a jar of spaghetti sauce. My products, salad dressings, are what’s called acidified Foods. The pH level of the products are what ensure it stays safe to eat.

Rx Bar didn’t use preservatives either.

That being said safe does not equal quality. I need to use stabilizers to keep my oils from spoiling. If they spoil, they’re still safe, but taste horrible.

Ideally, you’d want to work with a good scientist to determine the best way to naturally preserve your products.


Lastly, don’t fall into the buzzword pit. Many “chemicals” used in foods are perfectly safe and well tested. Just because it has a fancy name doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.
Yeah rx bars are great and the only bars i really trust but the carbs are too high and protein is too low for people into building muscle. It would be awesome if the bar was 30 grams of protein.
 

foodiepersecond

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I have a snack food product that doesn't exist on the market yet. I have my list of ingredients, but I haven't gotten the ratios down yet or the mass production plan of it. Is this something I should keep spending time on or introduce to a co-packer/food scientist and have them figure the logistics?

Also I live in the metro Atlanta area. Any suggestions on savory snack food co-packers? I have only found baking companies and liquids, but no salty or savory snack co-packers.
 
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Is this something I should keep spending time on or introduce to a co-packer/food scientist and have them figure the logistics?
This depends honestly.. Is this something you could make at home, or a commercial kitchen? Or is this something that needs to be made by a professional facility?

For example, my products need industrial grade emulsification, its not something I can just whip up in my kitchen. Do your products need the same?

If its something you can make in your kitchen, like a granola or snack bar, then I would do as much as you can to perfect the recipe and get some valuable feedback at farmers markets.

But, yes you'll want a food scientist at a copacker to design the final recipe. They're going to be the masters of making things shelf stable and sustainable.

Any suggestions on savory snack food co-packers?
I do not, all of my products are liquid. @G-Man was working on a project previously in the snack food space, maybe he has some contacts.

Best bet is to look for manufacturers of competitive type products and see if they do copacking.
 

foodiepersecond

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This depends honestly.. Is this something you could make at home, or a commercial kitchen? Or is this something that needs to be made by a professional facility?

For example, my products need industrial grade emulsification, its not something I can just whip up in my kitchen. Do your products need the same?

If its something you can make in your kitchen, like a granola or snack bar, then I would do as much as you can to perfect the recipe and get some valuable feedback at farmers markets.

But, yes you'll want a food scientist at a copacker to design the final recipe. They're going to be the masters of making things shelf stable and sustainable.



I do not, all of my products are liquid. @G-Man was working on a project previously in the snack food space, maybe he has some contacts.

Best bet is to look for manufacturers of competitive type products and see if they do copacking.
The final product is fried, so I guess I can do it at home. The trouble is preparing the item. Its basically a powder or thick liquid filling inside a triangular floury shell. I don't know of an efficient way to have the base flour, put the filling, and then put another flour base on top, sealing the sides with water.
 

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Probably the strategy is to make it in a commercial kitchen on your own as long as possible. Little portable nitrogen flushers/sealers can be had relatively inexpensively. Make sure to do some research on cottage food laws as well.

Sounds like some sort of pastry.... is there a way to inject the filling rather than trying to play a game of operation to get the top on there?
 

foodiepersecond

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Probably the strategy is to make it in a commercial kitchen on your own as long as possible. Little portable nitrogen flushers/sealers can be had relatively inexpensively. Make sure to do some research on cottage food laws as well.

Sounds like some sort of pastry.... is there a way to inject the filling rather than trying to play a game of operation to get the top on there?
Georgia cottage law doesn't have a dollar limit, but I could only sell within the state. Its supposed to be a filled chip but I can see how it is pastry-like. I can inject the filling but its the shell that I am having trouble with. As it stands, I get shell base in sheets. I guess I can try to learn how to make the shell and make hollow shells kinda like mini popovers.
 

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Georgia cottage law doesn't have a dollar limit, but I could only sell within the state. Its supposed to be a filled chip but I can see how it is pastry-like. I can inject the filling but its the shell that I am having trouble with. As it stands, I get shell base in sheets. I guess I can try to learn how to make the shell and make hollow shells kinda like mini popovers.
Or make a jig to press the pieces together
 
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Georgia cottage law doesn't have a dollar limit, but I could only sell within the state. Its supposed to be a filled chip but I can see how it is pastry-like. I can inject the filling but its the shell that I am having trouble with. As it stands, I get shell base in sheets. I guess I can try to learn how to make the shell and make hollow shells kinda like mini popovers.
Freeze the filling into little pucks. Put it between the sheets. The frying process will melt it to the correct consistency.
 

Aix-Geneve

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Where can I find food scientists? For example, I know a fair bit about making speciality chocolates BUT I need to learn how to make them into a product that will last on the shelf 6 or 12 months, not just 3 weeks. Any ideas where I can find these guys/any other info on a similar topic? Thanks
 

foodiepersecond

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Freeze the filling into little pucks. Put it between the sheets. The frying process will melt it to the correct consistency.
Great ideas. I may abandon my idea of having triangular chips to having square for the sake of simplicity. Unless I can cut them in half and simultaneously seal them.
 

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Where can I find food scientists? For example, I know a fair bit about making speciality chocolates BUT I need to learn how to make them into a product that will last on the shelf 6 or 12 months, not just 3 weeks. Any ideas where I can find these guys/any other info on a similar topic? Thanks

Dig around local food tech trade associations.
 

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