The first stage of food development is the brief, which identifies the problem that needs to be solved.
Next is Market Research. This is finding out what people want from a product and may be carried out by using questionnaires, surveys or telephone interviews.
After this, the company creates a Design Specification. This is the attempt at listing the needs of the product. A Design Specification may include:
- Shelf Life
- Sensory Characteristics
Shortlisitng and Development
Initial ideas are generated following the design specification. These are then shortlisted based on concept screening, where five or six ideas are chosen based on the design specification. These products then go through a range of tests, which can either change or improve the product. These tests can include:
- Ranking tests- similar products are tested for a specific characteristics.
- Rating tests- products are tested for a specific characteristic to find out if there is a noticeable difference between two or more products.
- Profile Test- in which the profile of a product can be recorded using a star diagram
Once these tests are over, the results are analysed and any changes are made to the product.
The manufacturing specification lists information a manufacturer needs to produce the product. The specification records the stages of the process, with details of all of the characteristics that are required in the final product.
It also lists where standard components can be used. A standard component is a pre-made or pre-bought ingredient that is used in the manufacturing process.
Quality Assurance gurantees that food meets a consistent, clear set of standards. Quality Control Checks are used to make sure of this. These checks include:
- Weight checks- Make sure the product is the required weight
- Visual checks- Make sure it looks the way it should
- Temperature checks- Make sure the temperature is correct
- PH checks- Make sure the food has the correct acidity/alkalinity
- Microbiological checks- Make sure there is no harmful bacteria
- Chemical checks- guard against chemical contamination
- Metal checks- guard against contamination from metals
- Organoleptic checks- checks flavour, texture and aroma