Shelf life testing for your food product

SHELF LIFE TESTING FOR YOUR FOOD BUSINESS NILA HOLDEN

 

Shelf life testing for your food product.

Getting your product shelf life tested for your new food product can be a bit daunting. Any research you do is bound to pull lots of technical, scientific terms that won’t mean much to you unless you have a chemistry degree!

When I was getting the shelf life of my shortbread biscuits certified it took me a while to get my head around things so I thought I’d summarise some key points here, just to help you get started.

Basically, you need to know your product’s shelf life, so you know what expiry date you need to put on your products once they’ve been produced and packaged. Your product expiry date will be expressed either as a ‘use by’ date, or a ‘best before end’ date.

Use by date

This must be used for foods that are high risk and highly perishable. This would include dairy, meat products. These food products are likely to deteriorate really quickly and would pose a risk to health, lead to food poisoning. The ‘Use By’ date expires at midnight on the date shown, after which the food is deemed unsafe and it would be a criminal offence to sell it.

Best Before/Best Before End

This kind of expiry date relates more to the quality of the food. This is the date at which the taste or experience of eating that product may begin to decline. The food will still be okay to eat after  this date but just won’t taste at its best. The rules change for the specific shelf life, but if your product is 3 months and under, you should include the day/month/year, 3-18 months at least month/year and for over 18 months at least the year when printing your expiry date. This will apply to most baked products.

What to prepare before you contact a lab

To get your product shelf life tested you’ll need to approach a shelf life testing company or lab. Some producers try to work out their products shelf life themselves but if its really important that you get your shelf life tested properly under lab conditions by experts. If you ever plan to wholesale your products or get SALSA/BRC accreditation this will be a minimum requirement.

Before you approach the testing company there are few bits of information you should have prepared:

  • Completed recipe for your product with full ingredients information available.
  • A solid idea of how your product will be packaged ie vacuum packed pouch, cello bag or some kind of box.
  • A good idea of how/where your product will be sold and consumed.
  • the cooking/baking process you’ll be using and under what conditions ie in a domestic kitchen or commercial production environment.

If you are looking for the testing lab to give you recommendations on how you can lengthen your shelf life or any other product development advice then be clear about this from the beginning. This will help to ensure that you get all the information you need.

What to do next

Once you’ve pulled together your information, then its a good idea to contact a few different labs to check if they can help you, if they specialise or can cater for your type of product, their prices and what you’ll get in terms of completed report, additional advice and guidance etc. It’s a good idea to get a few quotes and compare them to see which one offer the best value. Also take into account the vibe you got from your initial discussions. Did it seem like they understood your product and your future plans? Do they take the time to explain things to you in a way that you understand and can take action?

Lastly, do remember that if you change any of the ingredients in the recipe or significantly change the production process or packaging for example at later time, then you may need to do some re-testing to recheck shelf life.

More shelf life testing resources:

1. If you’re looking to find a lab to work with, there is a list of shelf life testing labs available here on the Food Hub Directory.

2. This section of the Food & Drink Federation Website also has helpful resources.

3. You can also get more insight on the topic of shelf life testing for your food product from my facebook live video training. Watch the video here.

nila holden facebook live product shelf life testing for your food business

 

4. If you’d like to this receive this information as a free 3 page Shelf Life Testing checklist emailed to you then sign up here and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.

nila holden shelf life testing for your food product checklist

Happy Baking!

Nila x

 

If you liked this blog post then why not sign up to ‘The Perfect Bake’ my weekly round up of tips, tricks & training to help you along your business journey – delivered straight into your inbox.

 

THE PERFECT BAKE HEADER

Click here to sign up

 

If you would like some more support and training to help you grow your food business  then do head over to our facebook group where an active community of food business owners regularly come together to learn how to grow and develop their food businesses.

 

FB header-7

Kitchen Table Entrepreneur. Helping Food & Drink Start ups succeed.

 

Advertisements

How to price your products for a profitable baking business

5 SMART WAYS TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCTS FOR A PROFITABLE BAKING BUSINESS_ ART OF PRICING PINTEREST

When you first launch your baking business or go from being a hobby baker to a business baker, it can be hard to work out your prices. I remember when I took redundancy and started my iced biscuit business all of a sudden it became really important that I got my prices spot on, that I covered all the costs because I needed to make sure that my business was profitable in order to earn a living.

If I hadn’t taken these important steps, I’m not sure my business would have survived the first couple of years. It would have been easy to keep my prices low to keep the orders books full. But ultimately I wouldn’t have made any proper money. It’s not a nice feeling when you get to the end of the year and do your tax return and find you’ve been working hard all year for pennies.

If you’re not a baker but have a creative business where you make handmade products, then the principles below will count for you too.

It is possible to charge fair prices and run a profitable business by following some key principles:

1. Define your business model.

2

The first step to working out your pricing takes you right back to the basics of your business. What sort of baking business do you want to have?

As you’ll see in the slide below, you can sell 3 cakes per week for £100 per cake and turnover £300 or you can sell 30 cakes per week for £10 per cake and turnover £300 per week.

Would you like a premium baking business, where you make fewer hand made cakes, but at a higher value? You will need fewer customers, but they will be making a more considered purchase so you will really need to show the value of what you offer.

Or

Would you like a volume based baking business where you need more customers buying at a lower price. This is likely to be a more impulse based buying decision, based on cost more than anything. So an easier purchase.

There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s just a persona decision. Both businesses make the same amount of money, but are very different in the way they offer their goods and services and different in the way they price their products.

 

2. Get comfortable with charging your worth

3

Common things I hear food entrepreneurs say:

-I don’t include a salary for myself as that would make my products too expensive.

-I could never charge that much, no one will buy my products.

-I feel uncomfortable charging those prices. I personally would never pay that much!

-I know that’s what I should be charging but I usually charge less to make sure I get the sale.

It’s not unusual as an entrepreneur to feel uncomfortable with the idea of charging what your worth. But to move forward in your baking business, you have to, at a basic level accept that your products are worth a fair price.

It’s tempting to keep your prices low, which keeps the orders coming in and makes you feel like you’re growing and making money. But ultimately, this is not profitable and not sustainable.

If your baking business is to grow and flourish, you have to get comfortable with charging a fair price, where all the costs have been factored in. It is possible to charge a fair price and grow your sales, as long as your customers understand the VALUE of buying from you. To do this, you need to continually communicate & deliver VALUE to your customers.

3. Use the Pricing Formula: Overheads + Hourly Rate + Raw Materials + Value = Profitable Price

 

4

To give a fair price for your products, you need to include a cost to cover your time (HOURLY RATE).

You also need to cover any costs like website, electricity, telephone, premises costs, insurance etc etc. Some of these would be apportioned for the amount of time you actually use them for the business (OVERHEADS).

Then the costs related to actually making your products (RAW MATERIALS).

Lastly, you need include an additional amount (normally called a mark up, but here we’ll call it VALUE). This does a few things, firstly it gives you a buffer in case of price rises, or if there are any costs you haven’t include elsewhere. If you have a ‘hand made’ business then this mark up will be important and will allow you to offer the ‘add ons’, personalisation, high level of customer service, giving your customers an exclusive buying experience. I find that it helps to list everything out and then allocate costs to each of the headers and upload them into a spreadsheet.

4. Do a reality check

5

 

Once you’ve got the costings drafted in your spreadsheet, its time to do a REALITY CHECK

How do the prices look? How do they compare with the industry average, or prices in your local area, or against your competitors prices?

Do they seem too low? Have you properly costed in your time? If you had to produce 10 of your products in certain timeframe, how long would it take? Would it feel like a fair reward for your time and effort once you’d covered all your costs?

Do they seem too high? How and why does the price differ from the industry average, from competitors prices? Can you justify this? How will you clearly communicate this to your customers?

Have you allowed enough of a buffer in case of price rises for example?

What about corporation tax, VAT (if applicable), and postage – how will you incorporate these costs? Make any adjustments needed in your spreadsheet.

5. Time to ditch the hobby baker mindset.

6

 

It’s really important that you adopt the right mindset. Because you’re running a business. Yes, to be able to do something you love & put your gifts out into the world. But if you’re serious about running a profitable business, then you need to make the shift and adopt a business mindset.

And get clear and comfortable with the financials, with costings, and the idea of working to make a PROFIT.

Sometimes this may mean that you need to make tough decisions about what’s working and what’s not. What you keep and what you discard. What makes money and what does not.

This is not always easy because we are human, emotionally tied to our work, to our craft, to our skill and our products.

But remember, by ditching the stuff that doesn’t stack up financially, this leaves you free to concentrate on creating products that are profitable.

So be brave, be flexible and most importantly – take action.

 

Food Entrepreneur Academy

So I hope that has helped you think through how you will go about pricing your products. I get asked so many questions by bakers, cake makers and other food entrepreneurs about pricing, how to get more customers and all the other areas involved in running a food business. So I decided to put together a library of resources for female food entrepreneurs – to help you launch, grow or scale your food business and achieve results fast.

As part of the monthly membership, you’ll get monthly masterclasses, group coaching support from me, and lots, lots more.

 

I really wish I’d had access to a membership like this when I started my baking business. It would have helped me to get really clearly, saved a lot of confusion and ultimately helped me to become profitable a lot quicker.

If you’re serious about launching a profitable food business then head over to my website to get more info on the Academy.

Happy Baking..!

Nila x

 

 

 

 

Pantone Colour of the Year 2018: What opportunities for your baking business?

pantone colour of the year 2018 ultraviolet marketing ideas pinterest

 What is a pantone colour?

Pantone are the experts on colour. There’s a whole institute full of colour experts who’s job it is to catalogue, code, promote and champion colour. Lots of designers from the fashion, home, interiors and gifting industries look to the experts at Pantone as the authority on all things colour. The institute has catalogued over 1,800 colours, each one has a code and a name.

Every year, the Pantone Institute announces its colour of the year. Selected by a panel of experts mapping trends from popular culture, fashion, technology, food, and interiors the colour inevitably filters down into design trends. Pantone Colour of the Year for 2018  is Ultra Violet. It’s a real marmite colour, purple being a colour that most people either love or hate.

According to the Pantone Institute, Ultra violet is a regal colour, the colour of the Queen. A mystical colour, the colour of crystal balls. A futuristic colour, the colour that NASA uses to map space.  A cosmic colour. A colour of non conformists like the artists Prince and David Bowie who both sadly passed away in 2017.

pantone colour of the year ultraviolet macarons

What does this mean for your food business?

Well in 2018 , buyers from all walks of life – home and interiors, gifting, food will be sourcing purple/ultra violet products.

Features editors from all the top print publications and online sites from weddings to interiors, to food and gifting will be looking for purple/violet products, designs, & content.

Purple / Ultra violet will be a huge trend and will filter down into sourcing guides, designs briefs and buying guides.

How can you – as a food business – make the most of this opportunity?

By creating purple themed products or content eg:

Purple / Ultraviolet themed products – wedding & celebration cakes, wedding favours, iced biscuits, purple themed confectionery.

nila holden iced biscuits pantone colour of the year 2018 ultra violet

Recipes, tutorials featuring purple ingredients – think aubergine, red cabbage, berries, juices and smoothies.

 

Ultraviolet Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 Marketing ideas for your food or creative business vegetable

Blogs, articles focusing on the health benefits of purple food containing anthocyanins & antioxidants

ultra violet pantone colour of the year purple food nila holden

How can you use this content to gain exposure for your food business?

Why not develop a bespoke range of purple themed products eg wedding or celebration cakes, iced biscuits, lollipops, macarons?

Take really good quality images of your food products that are either made in purple or contain purple ingredients and share.

Promote your purple themed content on your social media channels, not forgetting to include appropriate hashtags

Pitch your purple related content with features editors of print publications and online blogs too.

pantone colour of the year 2018 ultra violet nila holden figs

Don’t forget the messages around purple being a cosmic colour, a futuristic colour, a spiritual colour. These are all trends that may hit the high street in big way in 2018. Is there some way you incorporate these themes into your food products, recipes or content?

pantone colour of the year cosmic donuts nila holden

As we’ve seen in previous years, Pantone Colour of the Year has the potential to really capture the imagination of designers, artists and creatives and filter down in a major way.  Food businesses can play a really big part in this.

How could you capitalise on this opportunity…?

Do you have any bespoke products you already do, or could produce in purple?

Can you think of any recipes you could pull together featuring purple foods?

Let me know your ideas in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.

Nila x

Ultraviolet Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 Marketing ideas for your food or creative business vegetables

 

pantone colour of the year 2018 ultraviolet nila holden

If you liked this blog post then why not sign up to ‘The Perfect Bake’ my weekly round up of tips, tricks & training to help you along your business journey – delivered straight into your inbox.

 

THE PERFECT BAKE HEADER

Click here to sign up

 

If you would like some more in depth training on how your food business can get involved in and capitalise on Pantone Colour of the Year then do head over to our facebook group where an active community of food business owners regularly come together to learn how to grow and develop their food businesses.

 

FB header-7

Kitchen Table Entrepreneur. Helping Food & Drink Start ups succeed.

 

Logo biscuits ideas for your corporate gifting

We’ve had a busy few months here at the Bakery, I wanted to drop by and show you some of the lovely corporate biscuit projects we’ve worked on recently.

Branded biscuits can make for a fantastic corporate gift, for a product launch, as freebies for a trade show or corporate event or as a yummy treat to thank your staff and employees.

And this year, here at Nila Holden bakery, in respond to to growing demand from our clients, we’ve ramped up our capacity to be able to edible print onto icing. So we can now recreate most forms of logo & artwork in edible form, adding a real point of difference to your corporate gifting.

Here are some of the projects we’ve worked on in October:

  1. 12,000 (yes – you read that right – a whopping 12,000!) biscuits for Thomson Tui for the product launch for Marella Cruises. Read more about this project here.

branded biscuits for tui marella cruises

 

2. Mobile phone themed biscuits for Intercontinental Hotels Group for a promotional campaign. Biscuits were shipped to Paris, Frankfurt and locations in the UK. This is our second year of working with IHG and we’ll soon be making a start on our third collaborative project.

mobile phone corporate biscuits IHG nila holden

 

3. Halloween themed biscuits for Virgin Atlantic, a Halloween treat/thank you gift for partner retailers.

corporate halloween cookies for virgin atlantic

4. Bridal themed biscuits for Spanish Bridal brand Rosa Clara. The biscuits were distributed to bridal salons as a freebie gift to give out to brides attending the brand’s trunk shows up and down the UK.

 

5. Branded biscuits for the Methodist Church. The Chair and Vice Chair of the National Conference visit local and regional partners across the UK on a monthly basis and like to have a small ‘leave behind’ gift. The biscuits are branded with the Methodist Church logo, but also this delightful ‘Give, Pray, Act’ artwork – sentiments that resonate with the church’s members and congregations – and presented in a pretty white gift box.

branded biscuits for the methodist church by nila holden

 

So as you can see, branded biscuits can be perfect for corporate gifting in so many different scenarios, be it for your current or prospective clients, for your employees or  corporate partners & supply chain. If you’re looking for a delicious hand baked treat complete with your logo, branding or strapline, then do drop us a line via our enquiry form – we’d love to hear from you and are happy to come up with suggestions and prices to fit with your requirements.

Nila x

If you liked reading about these logo biscuit projects, you might also enjoy these blog posts:

Logo biscuits for Flymo & McCulloch UK

Corporate logo biscuits for Epson UK

Corporate logo biscuits for a digital marketing company

 

 

 

Logo biscuits to launch a new cruise ship

We’ve had a really busy October here at the bakery with lots of orders for corporate biscuits. We’ve baked, iced, wrapped & shipped just under 17,000 biscuits, our busiest month ever!

Our biggest order this month and our biggest order to date was for some branded biscuits for holiday company Thomson Tui, who are a fellow Luton based business.  The team at Tui were looking for a fun, yummy branded gift to give out to all employees as part of their celebrations around the launch of the new Marella Cruise liner.

Tui ordered just over 12,000 biscuits, each to be iced with the new Marella Cruise branding. The order was fairly last minute and we had around 10 working days from order sign off to get all the biscuits baked and packed and dispatched to Thompson Tui locations around the UK.

The team at Tui went for a simple but classic design for their logo biscuits, with a simple white icing, with the lovely new Marella Cruises branding.  Due to the commercially sensitive nature of the PR / product launch, we agreed to sign an NDA, which is common practice for projects of this nature. So naturally, all the work was carried out with the utmost secrecy and discretion.

img_1507

We had lots of fun visiting the various Tui locations in / around Luton Airport. And after many long days and late nights baking and packing biscuits, I have to confess to feeling the need for some holiday sunshine and trip abroad somewhere sometime soon!  Visiting the Tui offices really put me in the holiday mood.

Tui marella cruises launch logo biscuits nila holden

 

We had some fantastic feedback from the Tui team “Just wanted to say thank you for the delivery today, the biscuits looked great and we’ve heard some really positive comments…”

And lots of love for the biscuits on social media too!

img_1519

 

This is the single biggest order we’ve done to date and at times slightly overwhelming, but a fantastic opportunity to work with a fellow Luton business and also to have an opportunity to really scale up and see how the bakery could cope with such a large order to be turned around in such as short timescale. I am super proud of how the team pulled together to make this happen.

And in the busy run up to Christmas I’m looking forward to getting stuck into lots more corporate orders so if you’re on the hunt for corporate christmas gifts, or logo biscuits for your Christmas events, gifting etc then do drop us a line via our branded biscuits enquiry form. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Nila x

If you liked this blog post you might be interested in reading about our other branded cookie projects:

Get Ready with Freddie Cousin Brown at Pandora HQ

Biscuits for SEAT Cars Track Back Campaign

Bus biscuits for Here East’s new shuttle bus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

A brief visit to Newlyn, Cornwall

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 20.38.24

The first time I visited Newlyn was back in 1999 when I spent a week in Cornwall visiting a close uni friend during the Solar Eclipse. I stayed at her home in Newlyn, a cute little fishing village just outside Penzance.

As with so many of my trips to Cornwall, the journey down from Bedfordshire involved horrendous weather & heavy traffic. I’d set out in my little Peugeout 106 one Friday night after work, the first time I’d driven to Cornwall and I was alone. It was wet, it was dark and in the days before Sat Nav, I got completely lost. I remember arriving in Newlyn in the early hours of Saturday morning, my friend was beside herself with worry.  It says something about how traumatic the journey was, as the memory has stayed with me all these years.

I spent the week travelling around the area in my little 106 visiting beaches, discovering hidden coves, the weather was gorgeous. And lo and behold, on the day of the eclipse, the skies were overcast and heavy with thick cloud cover. We couldn’t see a thing, all we could hear was the noisy blades from the helicopters rising high into the atmosphere desperately searching for sight of the eclipse.

When we holidayed in the area this year, I wanted to revisit Newlyn and was pleased to see that it was still a thriving village with lots of lovely shops, eateries and galleries and even a new picture house.

Here’s my round up of 5 reasons to visit Newlyn:

1.Pop to the harbour to marvel at the amazing array of fishing boats, commercial trawlers other  vessels. Don’t let it’s size fool you.  Newlyn is one the largest fishing ports in the UK.

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 21.10.37

 

2. Try some of the best food & drink the area has to offer. Have a spot of lunch or tea & cake at Duke Street Cafe, indulge in the world’s best ice cream from Jelberts or taste the best freshly caught seafood at Mackerel Sky Sea Food Bar

 

 

 

 

3. Newlyn has a long association with fine artists and the village has a number of galleries. From jewellery & ceramics to glass you could easily lose a few hours (and a few ££) mooching around the many galleries in the village.

4. Catch a movie at the Newlyn Filmhouse, an absolute lifesaver when you’re camping and heavens open. The Filmhouse is a lovely little cinema with 2 screens and a ‘no rustling policy’ – for maximum enjoyment – food is not permitted in the screens. But there is a good food offer to enjoy outside screening halls, from hot drinks to snacks and more.

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 20.38.46

 

5. Stock up on supplies. For your basics there is a Co-op just opposite the harbour area but if you’re after a few indulgent treats to break up the monotony of your campsite BBQ’s then visit the Little Greengrocery or Newlyn Cheese & Charcuterie or even a take away pizza from the Italian Kitchen

 Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 20.38.36

greengrocers newlyn village cornwall

 

A beautiful stop off point between Penzance and Land’s End and great place to indulge in good food or stock up on supplies, do makes sure a visit to Newlyn is on your list if you’re visiting the area.

Some other places you might like to visit if you’re in the area:

A brief visit to Kynance Cove, Cornwall

A brief visit to St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Nila x

 

5 reasons to visit Dulwich Picture Gallery this Summer

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 21.24.03

Dulwich Picture Gallery is situated in the heart of beautiful Dulwich Village in London. I’ve visited on a number of occasions, the first time to see the main gallery, the second time to see the brilliant Escher exhibition in late 2015 and more recently to see the John Singer Sargent Exhibition.

England’s first purpose-built public art gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery was founded by the terms of Sir Francis Bourgeois’s will upon his death in 1811. Named “One’s of Britain’s most beautiful galleries” by the Telegraph. It’s such a delightful gem of a gallery, just big enough to give you plenty to take in, but not so large as to be overwhelming.

It’s a great place to visit any time of the year, but particularly beautiful in the Summer when, in addition to beautiful art, you can make the most of the grounds, have a picnic or a little mooch around the village afterwards.

So here’s 5 reasons to visit Dulwich Picture Gallery this Summer:

1.John Singer Sargent Watercolour Exhibition

nila holden dulwich picture gallery

John Singer Sargent  is best known for his work as a portraitist, the best of his generation. But Sargent also spent a lot of time developing his watercolour skills and often took expeditions to Europe to paint. One remarkable aspect of Sargent’s watercolour paintings was his refusal to paint landscapes or city shapes in their entirety or scenery on the large scale preferring instead to capture ‘fragments’ and focusing in on detail. This curation of 80 paintings, some never seen before in the UK covers people, places and animals. The exhibition will run till 8th October 2017. Check the Dulwich Picture Gallery website for more info.

2. The Gallery
The main gallery houses over 600 paintings including Rembrandt, Rubins, Gainsborough & Canaletto.  Focusing on Age of Baroque art, Dulwich Picture Gallery also houses one of the finest collections of Old Masters in the world. It’s one of my favourite London galleries to visit, so atmospheric. You can even get married there!

dulwich picture gallery john singer sargent exhibition

dulwich picture gallery nila holden

 

3. The Pavilion
The Pavilion was opened this year to celebrate 200 years of the gallery opening to the public. It’s a truly beautiful temporary events space, the design a collaboration between the London Festival of Architecture and Almacantar. With large panels of glass that seem to float between heaven and earth, reflecting the skies above and surrounding landscape. The gallery will be hosting a number of events in the Pavilion, so be sure to check out the website for more info.

dulwich picture gallery pavilion

 

4. Visit to Dulwich Village
After your visit to the picture gallery, do make a short detour to visit the village which is steeped in history but also home to many independent shops, boutiques and restaurants. Romeo Jones is a good place to grab a coffee or stock up on picnic supplies.

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 21.41.22

 

 

Also, do look out for wonderful Edward Alleyn statue at the College of God’s Gift.

dulwich village nila holden

 

5. #frontdoorgoals
I’ve never seen a beautiful door that I didn’t feel the urge to capture in photographic form. And Dulwich village is full of them. Houses with beautiful front gardens with stunning stained glass windows and doors. Talk about kerb appeal. I literally could have spent the best part of the afternoon wandering around the village snapping pics.  Here’s a few of may favourites.

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 21.23.52

pretty houses dulwich village london

 

dulwich village walk nila holden

 

So all in all, a visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery and the surrounding area is a wonderful day out whether you go in Summer or any other time of year.

Nila x