Developing a food prototype

Prototyping is a key process for both start-ups and established businesses. Creating new products is exciting but, if you need to deliver within specific nutrition, health, shelf life or cost parameters, you need a structured approach. That’s where Froghop can help.

New product development can also be a distraction from the day-to-day running of your business. Whether it’s your first product, an extension of your existing range or a move into a new market, getting the right help can make all the difference.

Froghop helps its clients to develop a robust food prototype and samples. We take your ideas and requirements and help to develop the taste and experience of your product while factoring in the practicalities.

Issues like the ingredients and their sourcing, stability and shelf-life, compliance and claims are all key consideration. It can be costly to get too far along the process without making sure the key requirements are met. That’s why prototyping a food product is a service that many of our clients find indispensable.

Step 1: Discussion

We meet we clients – either face-to-face or virtually – and discuss the fundamental requirements. What do you want or need to achieve? What market(s) are you targeting? Which aspects of the product are mandatory and which are nice-to-have?

Getting these clear and documented will help to make sure your product delivers what you need it to. Froghop can help you to explore the options, techniques and ingredients that are available.

Step 2: Recommendations

Using our knowledge, experience and research, we begin to make recommendations about the product and how it will work. We outline how it will deliver the claims and benefits you need and how it will balance those with factors like taste, shelf-life and nutrition. We usually provide clients with details of additional claims or benefits you could build into the recipe.

At this stage, we’re building an outline specification and narrowing down the possibilities – but keeping your options open.

Step 3: Specification

Now it’s time to document what we’ve recommended and agreed in order to create a specification. We define the product, its ingredients and the processing to be used as well as defining what it will deliver. You get a break down of the ingredients and the composition, nutritional data and confirmation of the claims that the recipe will sustain.

We can tell you the shelf-life that it is likely to achieve and confirm whether we recommend chilled, ambient, fresh or frozen distribution. We will also have done some patent and claim searches.

Step 4: Proof of concept

It’s likely that we will have made and tried some prototypes to get to this stage but now it’s time to test and iterate the recipe. We can often do this to include a ‘development day’ with the client present, making up small samples and variants. We consider the taste, colour and texture of the product, take feedback and make adjustments.

Step 5: Batch testing for market research (optional)

Clients sometimes want to test a batch of products with consumers. This can be a valuable step in moving from prototype to final, production-ready product. You might be attending a show or a customer event. If so, we can provide product for you to offer at tastings.

Next steps

Typically, the product now moves into a regular production process. Of course, Froghop can help you source ingredients, find and engage an appropriate manufacturer and provide the on-pack information that you need.

Need help creating your food prototype? Contact Froghop today.