Product Development

Product Development

Now that you have a clear IDEA for your product and have done your MARKET RESEARCH, it’s time to dive into product development.

This is where the fun (and tasty) part begins - creating and testing your recipe. Start in your kitchen with ingredients from the food store. Either start with a recipe you find online, or from scratch. Either way, track everything - measurements, times, temperatures, etc. The more you can perfect your recipe and process now, the easier it will be when you start to scale up.

Use an excel sheet to record each recipe, tracking ingredients, step by step instructions, and pictures of the final result. Record your observations, and what you should change for next time. Try to limit your changes to each recipe by only changing one thing at a time, so you know exactly what effect the change had.

We’ve created a formulation template for you to use when iterating your recipe!


A few pieces of advice:

  1. Measure your ingredients by WEIGHT, not volume. A commercial formulation requires ingredients measured by weight for consistency, so start off like that and it will be easier in the long run.
  2. Record exactly what ingredients you are using - this will make switching to commercially available ingredients much easier. “Flour” could mean dozens of different kinds of flour, so details are important.
  3. Once you have a recipe, begin converting it into a formula. The sooner you can start the easier it will be in the long run. Your process should be a very detailed itemized list of what you need and what your result should look like. Your ingredient should be based on weight, and out of 100%. You should also be very specific about the type of ingredients you are buying - rolled oats will create a very different product from steel cut ones. Eventually, you want to switch to commercially available ingredients with spec sheets.

If you have a recipe and need help converting it, Food Scientist Rachel Ziegler walks us through how to convert your recipe into a formulation.

Once you’ve done your sensory analysis (next article), you likely will return to the bench for some additional product refinement. This may be small tweaks if your product is performing well, or you might need a product overhaul if you’re not getting the results you were hoping for. Come back to the bench and continue your refinement. Here are some things to consider.

  1. Recipe/Formulation
    • Ingredients: Assess the quality, source, and proportions of ingredients. Experiment with different varieties or grades to enhance flavor, texture, and nutritional profile.
    • Balance: Ensure a harmonious balance of flavors, textures, and nutritional components. Adjust ratios to achieve the desired taste and mouthfeel.
  2. Flavor Profile:
    • Seasoning: Fine-tune the seasoning to achieve the perfect balance. Consider the preferences of your target audience and adjust salt, sweet, sour, and umami levels accordingly.
    • Enhancers: Explore natural flavor enhancers or extracts to elevate the overall taste without compromising on product integrity.
  3. Texture and Mouthfeel:
    • Processing Techniques: Experiment with different processing methods to achieve the desired texture. Consider factors such as cooking time, temperature, and pressure.
    • Texture Modifiers: Introduce or modify texturizing agents to enhance or adjust the mouthfeel. This could involve the use of thickeners, gelling agents, or emulsifiers

Summary actions

Create a formulation, with your ingredients based on weight, a detailed process of making the product, and a description and images of what the final product looks like.

Next up:

Sensory Analysis