Food Business Almanac: Developing your first batch

By on December 11, 2015

NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap offers resources that agribusiness owners and food entrepreneurs can use to grow and manage their business. Annette is available for free one-on-one consultations and can assist business owners with financial and market planning through the agribusiness development section. She can be reached at annette.dunlap@ncagr.gov.

More than likely, you have a relative who is the “cook” of the family – the go-to person for making the holiday favorites and creating new culinary delights each year. Perhaps, you’re that person for your family.

If you are that person, you probably hear this phrase at least once this holiday season: “You know, you should really think about selling this.”

Whether it’s a barbecue sauce, relish, peanut butter or jam, if you’re considering bottling your product in the future it’s important to know the steps before you start.

Jack Pyritz with Bobbees Bottling in Louisburg is one of several co-packers in the state who help food businesses of all sizes bottle products. In the video above, Jack walks Annette through the steps of making a 75-gallon first-run of a new product.

Jack stresses that there are major differences between creating a small batch of your product at home and creating a consistent and replicable recipe that is both economical and shelf stable. He offers the following advice to those new to the process:

  • Weigh your ingredients – If your recipe calls for three medium onions, you need to determine the weight of the onions needed. This will allow for consistent replication of your recipe.
  • Scaling a recipe is complicated – If your recipe makes one gallon of sauce and you want to make five gallons, you just multiply the quantity of each ingredient by five, right? Wrong. Some ingredients scale linearly, other ingredients like garlic, vinegar or hot sauce scale exponentially.
  • Consider two lines of your product – In order to create a shelf-stable and cost-effective product, your recipe may have to change slightly from the original. If you are determined to have the recipe taste exactly like your original family recipe, it may be wise to create two versions of the product – one that is slightly different but more affordable, and a gourmet version that’s a higher price point but closer to the original.

If you’d like to learn more about co-packing, check out Annette’s interview with Jack from October where he discusses the eight steps involved in getting your product bottled.

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