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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
decide which product ideas are most likely to be successful in moving forward. When project ideas are abandoned, it is usually due to low projected profit margins (Topp, 2007).
Concept development Once a product concept is chosen for further development, benchtop product development begins. Benchtop work includes creating prototypes and making initial plans for processing parameters (Kramer, 2002). Knowledge of food science, engineering, chemistry, microbiology, and packaging is used to create prototypes that can meet the product concept within the constraints of modern food processing and without exceeding the intended cost of the product. As prototypes are developed, the most promising formulations may be tested for mass production using pilot plants.
Sensory scientists and marketing groups are employed to determine how the prototypes are received by consumers, using both focus groups to test how well consumers receive the product concept and sensory panel testing to determine how well consumers like the taste and appearance of the product (Cox and Delaney, 2009; Moskowitz, 2009). Based on focus group and sensory study feedback, prototypes may be adjusted to meet consumer desires (Kramer, 2002). Shelf life studies are also conducted to ensure product quality and safety (Saguy and Peleg, 2009).
Plan and design As prototypes are finalized, plans are made for large-scale manufacturing. Company engineers and business units determine what facilities are needed and whether the product should be produced by company-owned plants or contracted co-packers (Weinstein, 2002). Purchasing units within the company work to procure the needed ingredients and packaging materials (Fuller, 2005). Business and sales groups make plans for the product launch, including plans for advertising and target markets (de la Huerga and Topp, 2007). In addition, sales staff often meet with retailers to pitch new products,11 and regulatory teams ensure that the product and its packaging comply with government standards (Fuller, 2005). If a new product meets the definition of an acidified food or low-acid canned food, federal regulations require processors to file their processes with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for each product, product style, container size and type, and processing method.12 Replacement process forms must be filed if a processor makes changes to a process, the container size that will be used for a product, or factors critical to the adequacy of the process
Personal communication, J. Ruff, Kraft Foods (retired), October 2009.