By Jordan Clark
CuliNex is a clean label product development consultancy located in Seattle, WA. With over 65 years of product development and business experience, they work with a variety of ingredients. Just this past RCA Conference, the CuliNex team-led by Principal Culinologist and RCA Co-Founder Mark Crowell–launched an internship program that provides student members with an outstanding opportunity to truly create the future of food.
Scaling Commercial Process on the Bench
A recent blog post featured a breakdown of the understanding commercial process while working on the bench. Culinologist Webb Girard used a cookie as an example to help explain the questions one must ask. First, he went into the importance of precisely weighing out ingredients, especially with more expensive and greater flavor impactors like vanilla and salt. He then explained the importance of consistency with instructions such as time of mixing times and controlling temperatures when combining ingredients. Processing is another important thing to keep in mind when conducting research on the bench. This includes understanding how kitchen equipment will translate to the commercial production equipment. For example, a Kitchen Aid 5 quart stand mixer is translatable to Hobart 120 quart stand mixer, he mentioned. Webb also noted taking into consideration the size and shape along with the dough weight and target finish weight. The next topic he talked about is the advantages a test kitchen has when it comes to packaging. They are able to seal with heat bars, use oxygen scavengers, vacuums, and nitrogen flushing to replicate packaging in the commercial phase. Storage considerations were mentioned last, noting whether products need to be refrigerated, frozen, or held at room temperature. Overall, Webb did a wonderful job of breaking down the process and providing answers for each product development step using a cookie example with which many are already familiar.