Where To Start? How To Start Producing And Selling Your Product!

Where To Start? How To Start Producing And Selling Your Product

Where to start? So you have an incredible product that you want to produce and sell. We would love to help–but before we do, here are some steps to streamline the process:

  1. Know your product–understand the measurements and ingredients needed to make your product. The food products we work often have natural, generally organic ingredients. Understand what your options are for wholesale ingredients and what the most cost-effective way to store and purchase them are. If possible, come prepared with a scheduled process. If you are not able to create one, the OFI provides services to create one for your product.
  2. What equipment will you need? While the Organic Food Incubator has equipment for several needs, you potentially need something we do not currently have. For information about the equipment, we have available check here.
  3. How will you package your product? Depending on the product needs packaging may differ. When picking the packaging think about maintaining flavor, freshness, product shape, and if production will affect the package (i.e. heat or freezing product).
  4. Have a timeline of your production expectations. Is this the first time you are producing this product–do you want to run a trial run? Do you expect to product monthly, weekly, etc? Have an idea of where you see your business going.
  5. Make sure you have the licensing and insurance to produce your product. There are accredited programs that offer training and licensing.

If you do not know this information and your still not sure where to start, OFI provides consulting services to help you make your product. For consulting services, reach out here.

Pretend You Are Bigger Than You Are

Just like meeting a person for the first time, businesses often make judgments on first impressions.

Other businesses are hesitant to give out information to consumers, so it helps if you can seem like your are a larger established businesses, even if you are just starting out.

Have your business formation information ready. EIN number, LLC documents, prepared W9, website and business email addresses prior to contacting vendors, suppliers, potential clients or distributors.

Product producers will often ask for this information prior to giving out bulk pricing for packaging and ingredients. They prefer that the small guy goes through a distributor. However, it is essential for your business planning to know what the bulk direct from distributor pricing will be…even if you will most likely not order from them for 6 months to 3 years.

Supply the necessary information and maybe even create an account. Get the information you need. Price per pallet, price per truckload, and lastly ask what the minimum order is.

This research will help you greatly in determining if your great hobby will also make a great business.




Filing A Scheduled Process

For most shelf-stable fluid products it is necessary to obtain a Scheduled Process prior to processing.

A scheduled process is your recipe and procedure, which has been review and edited by a recognized process authority. With very few exceptions, if you are making a product that is fluid and shelf-stable, you will be required to have a scheduled process.

The FDA regulates the production of food and requires that the scheduled process be registered with the FDA.

The links below will take you to some recognized process authorities:

Food Science New England – – Fred Jewett – fred.fsne@gmail.com

NorthEast Labs 

Cornell University

University of Maine

North Carolina State University   or NCSU Filing Page 

To obtain a scheduled process, you will submit:

  1. Your recipe. Each ingredient must be measured by weight (pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms). Choose one unit of measure stick with it.
  2. Your method. This is the production steps.

The scheduled process is formal document and must be followed exactly, by you or by your co-packer.

You can expect to pay between $95 and $175 per process at the time of this post (February 2016).

It is to your advantage to streamline the process and allow for as many variables as possible.  For example, if you make 5 fl oz bottles, but you think maybe in the future, you want to make half gallons, ask the process authority to write it for “4 fl oz up to 128 fl oz”

You may also ask them to write statements such as “Water maybe added to thin the product to the correct consistency” or “Vinegar maybe added to adjust pH”

If it is not on the document, you are prohibited from making adjustments without permission.

It is also important for you to know how many gallons of product (this is a unit of volume) or unit of product produced by this quantity.

The process authority will make adjustments to your recipe and procedure to insure that it can be safely held at room temperature. This may include the addition of acid, salt, sugar or other additives to create the correct pH or water activity.

Do not be afraid to question the additions if you think that it will change the flavor or texture of the product. There may be other options.

Once you have your scheduled process, you are ready to go into production and can safely make a shelf stable product.

Organic Certification

Organic certification is a complicated process for many of our clients. At its simplest explanation, it is a method of tracking organic ingredients from the farm to the consumer. If you can visualize that journey for your ingredients and think about every stop along the way, from the farm to the distributor, manufacturer, through to the customer, it makes it easier to think about your organic plan and organic integrity.

There of course are many other details. Organic certification is the only way to show that there is regulation and documentation concerning the types chemicals applied in the field, and in the processing facility that adhere to the National Organic Standards.

For manufacturers, the key to a successful organic plan is good documentation.

For the consumer, the USDA Organic logo is a clear sign that the product and the manufacturer has been reviewed, complies with the NOP standards which include the prohibition of GMOs.

Here is a link to the USDA Organic bog for more information.

Visit from Children’s Village

The Children’s Village mission is to work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.

We hosted a small group last night. They took a tour of the OFI facility and met with some of the community members. Everyone was very interested and had great questions. Each person had the opportunity to ‘work’ in the BAO kitchen and pack  and label a jar of Raw Slaw to take home.

Thanks to Karen from Free Bread, Jim from the OFI and Giuseppe from Alchemy Creamery for taking time to speak with the group. Thanks also to Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. for providing samples.

 

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Commercial Kitchen Rental For Daily And Monthly Use

Commercial Kitchen Rental For Daily And Monthly Use

There is a new food economy emerging today where it isn’t just about the products we consume; it is also about the culture and community we are creating.  We welcome mindful food and drink entrepreneurs to come to the Organic Food Incubator to bring your dream to life.  Our commercial kitchen rental has everytthing you need to get you started. Join forces with other entrepreneurs that are working to change the way our food system works.