So, you’ve decided to dive into food manufacturing. Are you pushing forward with that secret sauce recipe that’s been in your family for years? Or perhaps you’re a bakery or a small restaurant who’s pushing the limits and crossing over into food retail? In either case, let us be among the first to welcome you to this exciting industry and congratulate you for choosing this journey. As a leading provider for nutrition analysis and food labels for the last 15+ years, we’ve helped a lot of manufacturers bring their products to retail grocery shelves. Getting into food retail is not for the faint of heart (and if you’ve made it to this article you probably have begun to recognize your need for a little assistance). Lucky for you, this is why our team wakes up in the morning. We thrive on the ability to lead others to success in accomplishing their food manufacturing dreams. For this reason, we’ve gathered all of the resources we’ve published in the last few years and selected the articles, videos and services that we know will help you get a head-start on your new journey to the retail shelf. Our “resources for food new manufacturers” guide, if you will. So, without further adieu, let’s begin with some encouraging words from a self-made manufacturer, who has brought her product into stores throughout the United States.
Advice for the New Manufacturer
Our spotlight for this article is on Brittany Chibe, the owner and founder of Within/Without granola (formerly Paleo Scavenger). Before the brand’s inception, Brittany’s intention was to develop a grain-free granola that suited her new paleo lifestyle. She had recently switched to Paleo for a number of health/athletic reasons and found that Paleo (also known as the caveman diet) was conducive to amazing energy and health benefits for her personally. However, once she was on this path, she began to realize that she missed grains, especially granola. If you’re new to food manufacturing, it’s likely that you have a similar story of how something you made sparked the idea to go into manufacturing, and we’re here for it.
Finish reading Brittany’s story for her super-granola brand, Within/Without, for an inside look on how to get started as well as other valuable advice that you may not know you needed. (Trust us, you need it!) If we could rate the top resources for new food manufactuers (wait, that’s a great idea!) this advice would be in our top three.
DIY Nutrition Labeling Resources
In order to support manufacturers venturing into the ever-evolving food industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date on trends, changes and FDA regulations that pertain to your food product. It’s not enough to simply have a nutrition panel and an eye-catching food label on your barbecue sauce bottle. A successful manufacturer stays ahead of the curve and even incorporates best practices into their day to day schedule. But if you’re brand new to the industry, how do you know what these best practices are? This is why we’ve created the “FDA Resource Center” that sits on our LabelCalc website!
This tab offers an in-depth understanding of all things food manufacturing: from a beginner’s guide on how to create an FDA-Compliant nutrition panel, to everything you need to know about COVID-19 and taking safety measures during the pandemic.
If you haven’t checked out the resource center yet, we highly recommend that you do so that you can have your research done before your first pitch to a retail buyer! (Not sure what that is? Read Brittany’s article.) These resources for new food manufacturers are priceless. Take advantage!
Once you’ve begun the process of entering your product ingredients into the LabelCalc platform (and get an idea for how easy it is to DIY a nutrition label) you’ll begin to notice available resources for you to use while labeling. From the moment you login, you’ll be greeted by our labeling guide & assisted virtual analysis avatar: AVA.
AVA is there to assist you from beginning to end. Don’t make the mistake of closing her out. Although we pride ourselves on being user-friendly, there is always a learning curve that comes with familiarizing oneself with a new tech platform. Just one label creation with AVA will save you a ton of questions and frustration as you become acclimated to the LabelCalc platform.
We have 2 frequently asked questions that come through our call center ever week:
- Is LabelCalc FDA-Approved? (Of course!)
- How do I know what my serving size is?
We’ve gotten that question so often, in fact, that we created a tool around helping you determine your product’s serving size. This is something that the FDA has some specific recommendations on. So to assist you in understanding the appropriate serving size for your food product, we’ve included a serving size tool right within the LabelCalc platform. This built-in tool gives the FDA recommendations based on the RACC sizes determined by the USDA. (RACC = Recommended Amount Customarily Consumed).
So once you’ve determined your single serving-size, you can then begin the calculations to understand your servings per container. The “container” we’re referring to is the packaging size you’ve selected for the consumer to purchase. For example, if you’re selling your barbecue sauce in a 16 oz bottle, and your serving size is 1 oz, then your servings per container will then be 16. This is all easy to determine once you’ve nailed down what you need for packaging.
As you probably know by now, the FDA has created a regulation that food allergens must be cited in their own individual statement on your product label. The growth rate and prevalence of food allergens throughout the United Stats necessitates the need for an allergen citation for the safety of the consumer. Not too familiar with the Top 8 Allergens? That’s alright. As you enter your ingredients into the LabelCalc platform, they are automatically flagged for allergens and when found, the allergens are then compiled into the FDA-required allergen statement that accompanies your label. This tool makes our system particularly valuable, especially since 48% of product recalls are due to mislabeling. Don’t worry, new manufacturer, we’ve got your back (and your label).
So, you’re rocking along and you’ve completed your label. You’ve entered all of your ingredients and they’ve been flagged for allergens, you’ve determined your serving size and servings per container and you’re ready to download. However, you’re not a nutrition expert and you’re nervous that you may have made a mistake in your DIY creation. This is where our team really likes to make a difference. Just this past year, we’ve rolled out something called a label review for all of our DIY label creators. What’s a label review, you ask? This is a chance for you to submit your completed label creation to our Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian to review your label for any errors before printing your final label onto your product packaging. Compliance is a big deal. So we’ve made it easy (and super-affordable) for you to have that peace of mind that your label has been created correctly and accurately.
So there you have it: our top resources for new food manufacturers. Read them, use them and benefit from them! And if you need additional help, there’s always the option of outsourcing your label creation to our Registered Dietitian. Wait you didn’t know what? We’ll call that one a bonus.