The Various Food Product Development Stages

by Liliana Mills

Development of foods is done in several stages. The foods have to undergo testing and evaluation in these stages so as to make sure they satisfy the set down standards. The brief is the first stage in food product development, involving figuring out the problem to be sorted. For example, the development of pizza for health conscious customers.

That stage is then followed by doing market research. This research involves gathering information about what customers want in particular products. What is done in this stage is the study of market trends and shopping habits. This is achieved through distributing questionnaires to be filled, telephone interviews and conducting surveys. Going back to the pizza example, the research can find out if consumers can but one that is low fat.

Design arrangement is the next stage, and it is the first attempt at listing what the products needs. It includes shape, size, weight, shelf life, costs, equipment, ingredients and sensory characteristics such as texture, taste, and appearance. Preliminary ideas are come up with after each design arrangement. They are then short-listed on a basis of screening of concept, where several ideas are selected based on which ones meet every design specifications best.

It is of importance to test qualities of the sense. The test results are analyzed to enable either the improvement or altering of the products. This is called sensory analysis. Afterwards, similar products undergo testing for a specified characteristic the likes of saltiness, the test being referred to as ranking test. Using random code names, testers code the samples and then arrange them on a basis of their saltiness level.

In rating test, products are examined for a certain characteristic to figure out if the two products have any noticeable difference. For instance, manufacturers can examine an upcoming low fat product version to find out if there are similarities with the original. In one test type, the judges are presented with a couple of twin products and a different one, where they are requested to find out the different products.

The next stage is the profile test, in which the profile for the product is recorded in the form of a star shaped diagram. The testers give rating to the characteristics of the products on a scale of one to five. Prior to the final specification being made, any alterations to the design requirements have to be accounted for. For example, once sensory testing is finished, it may be found out that the products contain too many spices, therefore necessitating an ingredients modification.

A manufacturers specification lists all the information required by the manufacturer so as to produce that particular food product. This specification records all the stages the production process goes through. It also includes particulars of all the characteristics needed in the final product, such as size, flavor, texture, and shape. Additionally, the specification list areas where is it possible to utilize standard components. Standard components are pre-prepared ingredients for producing certain foods products.

Quality control is the last stage in food product development. Quality assurance makes sure that the food product consistently adheres to a clear standards set. In every major production stage, there should be quality control checks so that should a problem occur the manufacturer will be informed.

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