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Can You Handle the Food Scale Up?

The Pressure Test is about to begin. Can you handle the food scale up?

Masterchef’s Gary, Matt and George have given you 60 minutes to cook their Signature Dish.
Your palms are sweaty, heart is racing, knees weak, arms wobbly. You don’t want to fail.
“All we want is delicious food” they say. “Ready …………………GO!!!”

Yep. Easy Peasy. Got it!

You feel the pressure. The dish has 50 steps.
You collect all ingredients assembled on the shelf and follow the recipe provided.
One recipe repeated 3 times. One dish for each judge. Each ingredient is to be prepared to perfection, each portion cooked to perfection, each plate needs to be presented to perfection.

Food scale up, now make 1 million Signature dishes…… Exit stage left. We just left Masterchef and entered the reality of Food Manufacturing.

While the desired outcome of serving delicious food in a specified timeline is similar to that of Masterchef – the reality of the tasks and the magnitude of what is required to produce for many people is vastly different.

A variety of factors need to come together to create and produce a quality food item.

It all starts with an idea. A recipe is created from that idea and prototypes are made to test the recipe. Taste testing the samples (yum!) and then deciding on the best one. And this is when the fun starts – organizing to scale up the production of the product.

Unlike Masterchef, ingredients do not magically appear on shelves for our convenience. Each ingredient needs to be sourced (preferably locally) and if processed, they need to meet Australian standards. Lu Ann Williams, Co-Founder and Director of innovation at Innova Market Insights explains that supply chains play a big role in how quickly an ingredient is supplied to food manufacturers and in the large quantities required.

There are companies that have been created like Corteva to learn about food systems and help bridge the gap between farmers and food companies. They understand that the types and quantities of crops grown is driven by consumer behavior and aims to ensure that enough crops are grown to meet supply demand. Fresh produce can be particularly tricky to source as seasons and weather affect the outcome of supply (“Tell those zucchinis to grow, Farmer Joe!”)

Food safety in the production and manufacture of goods is of paramount importance. Staff need to be properly educated and trained to handle food, operate machines and have a sound knowledge of workplace safety. Australia has an excellent framework of regulations to ensure that food produced and sold is safe, suitable and correctly labelled.

Food distributors market and sell products made by manufacturers and deliver to other food services. Distributors are responsible for the logistics of delivering across the country. Environmental factors like natural disasters, floods, poor weather, and road conditions can impact the successful delivery of products on time across the nation.

Marketing plays a significant role in encouraging a customer to buy a product. Food marketing is a highly competitive industry. We have a tasty product but we need to create taste in all the food senses in order to sell it. Consumers look for specific foods that have a certain value attached to them. Our senses are sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The first sense used in a store by a customer is visual. A product must be visually appealing not only served on a plate, but also in its packaging, while outlining its values in identity and nutrition. Graphic designers and packaging companies come together to create packaging that envelops the tasty morsels of goodness before the food leaves the Food Manufacturing facility. These companies must also keep up with the demand of supply and deliver in a timely fashion.

It seems like a simple process but many challenges surface if the small details are unattended. A lot of research, time and effort go into the details of developing a quality food item and executing the scheduling, production, packaging and delivery to customers on time.

The same attention to detail that a chef uses to create, prepare, cook with well executed timing to serve up a signature dish is a requirement a Food Manufacturer faces in food scale up.

After all, the customer will judge what is served on their plate. It’s up to us to deliver and impress. We’ve had over 20 years of experience in the food industry. Our strength is our ability to scale up from bench to menu fast. Call us with your ideas. We’d love to hear from you.