Fresh, local food has become popular again. A stroll through the Farmers Market reveals that it’s not just fresh fruit and vegetables in demand but processed food as well. Visit local stores that promote local products and you’ll see beer cheeses, salsas, jams, jellies and many other “family recipes.”
Have you thought about marketing a recipe that your friends and family love but have no idea how? The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment can help with the Food Systems Innovation Center, which helps small-scale producers who want to sell value-added products to a mass consumer base.
The number of small-scale producers who have considered producing and selling value-added products has grown as the local food movement has picked up speed and Kentucky Proud products have become a recognizable brand across the state.
But making small batches of a family recipe to sell at the local farmers market is very different from producing large batches for a mass consumer base. You can’t just double or triple the recipe and have it come out the same. Often times ingredients must be changed or tweaked for packaging, shelf life and aesthetics to name just a few.
The Food Systems Innovation Center offers validation studies on processed, vacuum-sealed and ready-to-eat items to assess their safety, accurate nutritional analyses and labeling information, taste tests using trained sensory panelists and technical support to analyze shelf life.
UK agricultural economists, in collaboration with the new center, conduct consumer studies as well as demand economic impact and feasibility studies. And the center offers Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and food security/defense training.
Several large local food companies and restaurants have taken advantage of the Food Center’s offerings, but so have small mom and pop operations, too. These small family businesses really benefit from the center. They have all the expertise from many specialists as well as the services that help them bring their product to market in a professional manner.
For more information on the UK Food Systems Innovation Center, contact Anandappa at 859-257-7272, ext. 286 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the center’s website http://www.kyfsic.org.