Development of foods takes place in a number of stages. The foods need to be evaluated and tested throughout the stages in order to ensure that they meet the required standards. The earliest stage of food product development is the brief, which involves the problem to be solved. For instance, the development of pizza for consumers who are conscious of their health.
Market research is what follows the brief stage. This research means finding out the consumers preferences in certain products. The buying habits of the consumers together with market trends are studied. The study is carried out in form of filling questionnaires, conduction of surveys and phone interviews. Recalling the pizza example, the market research can study if consumers would prefer a low fat pizza.
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.
To test sensory qualities is vital. The results undergo analysis in a way that products are either changed or improved. This is referred to as sensory analysis. Then, products that are similar undergo testing for a certain characteristic like saltiness, in a process called ranking tests. With the use of random names, samples are coded by testers who sort them from the most salty to the least salty.
A rating test involves testing products for a particular characteristic to figure out whether two of them have any apparent difference. For example, testers can do a rating test on a new version of low fat products to see if it is the same as the original. In the course of the test, the judges are given a couple of identical samples and a dissimilar one, where they are required to single out the odd one product.
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 manufacturing specification is a list of the information needed by the manufacturer in order to produce the food products. The specification is a record of the stages followed in the production process, including details of all the characteristics such as flavor, size, shape and texture that are required in the final produce. In addition, the specification lists where standard components can be utilized. A standard component is an ingredient prepared in advance and used in producing food products such as ready-made sauces or pizza bases.
When finishing up food product development, the final step involves quality control. The food product is ensured that it meets all the standards through quality assurance. Quality control checks exist at significant stages of production, to alert the manufacturer should an error occur.
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