The Path to Production

When you jump into the food business, there’s a lot to learn. It’s an industry with many upsides because you can impact consumers with a product they can enjoy daily. But the road from recipe to retail is one with many details that can make or break your success as a food brand. Here’s our guide to easing your journey on the path to production.

Recipe Refinement & Adjustments

You may have an idea of what food you want to make. But getting that food to be what you want consumers to finally put in their mouths can be harder than you think. Ensure you have thought through all the ingredients to create the right food. Are there things that you can substitute to reach more consumers? Gluten-free or allergen-free can open more doors. Organic ingredients can broaden the appeal to more consumers. And making the product in your kitchen rather than a commercial one can influence your recipe development. Consider these things as you fine-tune your recipe for production.


Your product is what matters the most, so put more thought into how you will produce it. You need to determine if making your food is something you want to do or if you wish to find a partner. Commercial kitchens can give you access to lots of equipment. This also reduces overhead because you don’t have to buy the equipment yourself.

Another option is to use a co-packer or co-manufacturer. These are experts who make your product for you to your specifications. They have the equipment, know how to operate it, and have access to the ingredients you need. If you decide to go with a co-packer, choosing the right one makes a big difference. Choose someone that:

  • Can work with you as a partner
  • Has the quality that your product deserves
  • Can make it at the specifications that you need


Your packaging may not be something that comes to mind first. Even so, it’s a big decision that needs a thorough evaluation. The first decision is what size of packaging to use. Will you do one size or multiple sizes? Multiple sizes increase your costs but can give you more options for consumers’ needs. Then consider what the ideal packaging will be for your product. It could be a pouch, box, sachet, can, or bottle. Then think through the materials for your packaging. Paper or plastic? New or recyclable materials? Opaque, transparent, or a combination of the two? All the elements of your packaging have a big influence on how consumers will react to your product. Your packaging reflects the product inside and can attract different types of consumers. Consider your options thoughtfully when choosing.


As important as your packaging is the label that goes on it. You should design your label to catch consumers’ attention. This is known as the “first moment of truth” – when consumers initially evaluate your product. Besides the look of your label is the content. There are lots of items you should put on your packaging. The FDA requires some of that content, but some of it is specific to your product. Identify the information that you’re going to put on the label. Look at what’s enough and don’t overcomplicate. Next, determine whether to print on your packaging itself or on an affixed label. Your labeling should work hand in hand with the packaging so pick both carefully.


Finally, you need to decide how you’ll be selling your product. Are you going to do it yourself or work through a retailer? If you do it yourself, does that mean your own website, farmer’s markets, or your own store? If you’re using a retailer, it means selling to store owners to get them to let you sell in their store. Brick and mortar are how food products have been sold, but shelf space is a limited commodity. Getting in front of retailers and convincing them that your product will sell is tough. You’ll need to start with smaller shops and work your way up to the bigger retailers.

You can also go the online route and sell in places like Amazon. Remember that online stores often eat into margins. They do this because they need a cheaper price due to shipping costs. And recognize that you might need to do the fulfillment yourself when you start. This is typical until sales increase enough for the etailer to stock your product. Choose wisely on your route to market because it can influence your sales in the long run.

It’s a long road

The path to production for your food won’t be short. There are many twists and turns down that road. But if you’ve plotted your route and know what you can expect, you’ll be sure to end up at the right destination sooner.

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