Expert Opinion: Additional factors for commercial recipe development

By Lee Attwood, Managing Director, Fabric-Food

Putting a recipe together in a domestic kitchen is pretty straight forward. Throw in a bit of garlic and add fresh herbs. Reduce the sauce until it tastes amazing. It’s all down to personal taste, and if it tastes good to you, then that’s all that matters.

Developing a recipe in a commercial sense is very different, with a lot of additional factors being involved to bring a product to market. It must deliver on taste but also have mass appeal and scalability whilst being commercially viable.

When I made the transition from restaurants to food development it took time to adjust. That pinch of extra salt in a development kitchen can be the difference between a product that tastes good in a small batch, to suddenly becoming too salty once scaled up to 500kg in a factory. Exactly the same applies for spices. A touch more turmeric might tip the recipe from well-balanced to bitter and overpowering.

Everything you put into the recipe when developing needs to be justified, not only in weight but also as to why you are using that ingredient?

Ask yourself exactly why is it needed, and does it actually add value to the end consumer?

Making your ingredients work hard is really important. Your recipe needs to hit a price point, deliver on margin and taste good at the same time.

You need to question everything you do when developing commercially. It is very easy to use an ingredient that is on trend, but the chances are it’s bumped up your cost. If that trendy ingredient enhances the product, then yes, I would say definitely use it. If it doesn’t, what else can you use instead?

Developing a commercial food and drink product is still guided a lot by personal taste, but far from that alone.

At Fabric-Food we work with businesses to develop great tasting commercially viable recipes, supporting businesses from concept to launch. We would love to talk to you about your next exciting product.

Lee Attwood is the Managing Director of Fabric-Food Ltd, the Product Development Partner of FDMB North West