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Empowering Restaurants in America

Before the First Bite: The Impact of Culinology

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Today’s consumers always expect a high-quality culinary experience — whether it is from 30,000 feet in the air or at a rest stop off the highway — and behind each food-product experience is a culinologist. Because of the rising expectations of our educated and worldly consumers, food-product developers must stay on top of technologies and emerging flavor trends. Culinologists are uniquely qualified to deliver on those expectations. Culinologists, by definition, utilize their skill set of blending culinary arts and food sciences to create fast, visually appealing, flavor-forward and safe foods. These are the leading considerations of consumers when deciding to make a purchase.

The journey from conception to product

Have you ever considered how a food like a hotdog came to be? Whether the hotdog ended up on a roller grill at a convenience store, at your favorite sports stadium, in the refrigerated section of the your local grocery store or on a cart in Times Square, its journey started with a food-product developer. Product developers consider flavor, texture, aroma, bite, selling price point and even packaging during the product development stage.

Once the product has been developed to suit standards set by consumer research, it then moves to a sensory panel for further evaluation of product integrity and quality. When the focus group affirms the product is ready for market, packaging and design are finalized to optimize the product’s shelf life with consideration that the overall packaging design appeals to the targeted audience. The Culinologist will then highlight the product’s potential uses, such as that perfect ‘Chicago Dog’ with all of its great toppings, but also how it might be a base for other crowd favorites like corn dogs or pigs in a blanket.

Alternative products

Through the product-development process, culinologists may also create other versions to meet consumer needs, including turkey, pork or even plant-based protein. Fortunately, with the help of culinology experts, this challenge of developing tasty alternatives is much more attainable.

The road to the culinary experience may not seem complicated on the surface, but the product-development cycle, inclusive of the culinologist’s expertise, is truly the key to achieving the perfect product for the food service customer while delivering the gold standard of food experiences that consumers expect.

Jason Behrends, Ph.D., CCS, Red Arrow; Jessica Goldstein, Vice President and Director of Marketing and Sales, Nu Products Seasoning Company; Catherine Proper, CEC, Director of Culinary Development, Freshly, [email protected]

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