Some suppliers simply fill orders, while others work together as partners to discover innovative formulations that maximize a product’s flavor, texture, nutrition and its appeal to consumers...and even to reduce ingredient costs. This type of collaborative relationship can be the differentiator that ultimately contributes to your product’s success in the marketplace.
There are indicators to look for when determining whether an ingredient solution partner is a fit, and making sure the following bases are covered will help ensure a successful application and, most importantly, provide results that your customers will rave about.
Clearly, the #1 factor determining the appeal of products found on grocery shelves is flavor, and higher quality ingredients will provide the best results; that’s a given. But there’s more to consider. Does your partner offer ingredients that can only be used for limited applications, or are they versatile enough to be used across multiple formulations? Can your formulation partner come through when it comes to reducing ingredient costs while still meeting consumer demands for cleaner labels with all-natural, protein-packed, lower-fat ingredients? If your formulation partner can’t offer solutions and doesn’t actively pursue these types of emerging and evolving trends in the food industry, it may be time to explore other options.
Food safety is critical, and a major contributor to making sure your product meets strict compliance standards is the facility in which it’s manufactured. Are you familiar with the overall quality of your supplier’s facilities? What protocols and safety measures do they have in place to ensure cleanliness and to prevent contamination? Do they have the latest technology that can consistently produce the same results and quality standards you expect every time? How about their product testing capabilities? All these factors play an important role in protecting your customers’ well being – and your reputation.
When considering a formulation partner, ask for references to determine if they have similar application experience. Whether you’re providing consumers with savory sauces and creamy beverages, or delicious snacks and frozen treats, look for assurances that your partner has experience in your area of focus. Ask about the types of projects your ingredient supplier has worked on in the past, and consider if their qualifications are sufficient to warrant the risks of using an inexperienced provider.
A company is only as good as its people, and how you’re treated plays a major role in developing a true partnership. If a company is too big, you can feel like just a number; too small, and you’ll likely develop concerns about a company’s ability to meet your demanding specifications and deadlines. Look for a partner that’s eager to develop those important personal relationships, yet big enough to have developed efficiencies and draw the best talent, including food scientists and formulation experts. These experts can help you improve your product’s nutrition, reduce fat or even help you find ways to extend shelf life.
5. Proactive Approach
A key to any partnership is collaboration. Look beyond your current needs and consider future product development and how your ingredient supplier can accommodate your needs long term. A true partner will also stay engaged with you and share insights about emerging food trends and ways in which they can help your company maintain a competitive advantage over others in similar markets. They’ll help you think ahead to what’s next.
Making sure your ingredient supplier is able to deliver on each of these five areas will lead to greater efficiencies and increased profitability. The experts at Grande Custom Ingredients Group are eager to demonstrate what a partnership can look like and will help you solve even your toughest formulation challenge. For example, they’ll work with you to reduce or replace your high-fat, high-cost ingredients while maintaining, or enhancing, your product’s intended mouthfeel and flavor. To see for yourself how Grande Custom Ingredients Group’s solutions impacted various applications, simply click the graphic below. Then, reach out to us with any questions.